You should be ashamed: Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon to Nadav Lapid

Shailesh Khanduri
29 Nov 2022
You should be ashamed: Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon to Nadav Lapid

Naor Gilon with Anurag Thakur

New Delhi: A day after Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, the jury head of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), called Hindi film 'The Kashmir Files' a propaganda and vulgar, Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon lamented Lapid.

In an open letter to Lapid following his criticism of The Kashmir Files, Gilon said, “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.”

"As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologize to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship," the Isreali Ambassador wrote.


The open letter by the Ambassador:

In Indian culture they say that a guest is like God. You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at IFFI Goa as well as the trust, respect and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.

Our Indian friends brought @lioraz and @issacharoff from @FaudaOfficial in order to celebrate the love in #India towards #Fauda and #Israel. I suspect that this is maybe also one of the reasons they invited you as an Israeli and me as the ambassador of Israel.

I understand your need in retrospect to “justify” your behavior but I can’t understand why you told ynetnews
afterwards that the minister and I said on stage that there is similarity between our countries because “we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood”.

We did speak about the similarities and closeness between our countries. The minister spoke about his visits to Israel, it being a Hi-Tech nation and the potential of combining this with the film industry. I spoke about the fact that we grew up watching Indian films.

I also said that we should be humble when India, with such a great film culture, is consuming Israeli content (Fauda and more).

I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price.

As a son of a holocaust survivor, I was extremely hurt to see reactions in India to you that are doubting Schindler’s List, the Holocaust and worse. I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification. It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here.

From your interview to Ynet the connection you make between your  criticism of Kashmir Files and your dislike to what is happening in Israeli politics was quite evident.

My suggestion. As you vocally did in the past, feel free to use the liberty to sound your criticism of what you dislike in Israel but no need to reflect your frustration on other countries. I’m not sure that you have enough factual basis to make such comparisons. I know I don’t.

You will go back to Israel thinking that you are bold and “made a statement”. We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.

The friendship between the people and the states of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted. 

As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologize to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship.

The Kashmir Files propaganda

In his speech at the closing ceremony of IFFI 2022, Lapid said he was "disturbed and shocked" to see the film being screened at the film festival.

"All of us were disturbed and shocked by the movie 'The Kashmir Files'. It felt to us like a propaganda and vulgar movie that was inappropriate for an artistic and competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.

"I feel comfortable to openly share this feeling with you since the spirit of the festival can truly accept critical discussion which is essential for art and life", Lapid said.



'The Kashmir Files', which was released in theatres on March 11, was part of the Indian Panorama Section at IFFI and was screened on November 22.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir following the killings of people from the community by Pakistan-backed terrorists.

It stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi among others.

Kher attended the special screening of the film at the 53rd IFFI on November 22. The nine-day-long film gala began on November 20.

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