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Pro-Israel lobbies in London campaign to prevent screening of Barghouthi biopic

April 20, 2017 9:54 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 4:21 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As the Federation of Palestinian Communities in Europe and the Fatah movement in London prepare to screen the film “Marwan,” a biopic telling the life story of the imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, members of the federation have reported that “the Zionist lobby” in London had attempted to carry out several actions to prevent the film from being screened.

The film, produced by the Ma’an News Network, tells the story of the imprisoned Palestinian leader, who is currently leading a mass hunger strike across Israeli prisons, which entered its fourth day on Thursday.

The federation and members of the Fatah movement in London told Ma’an that several pro-Israel and Zionist lobbies have organized social media campaigns working to prevent the showing of the movie, in addition to arranging protests and marches across the streets of London protesting the film.

Additionally, the lobbies reserved all tickets for the film on the theater’s website in order to prevent anyone from purchasing tickets to the screening, that was initially scheduled to take place on Friday April 21, but has since been rescheduled for April 23.

Sanaa al-Alul, a member of the federation, told Ma’an that the event was intended to be structured as a workshop in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners during which they will host Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) lawyer Jawad Boulos and present the film.

However, following actions from pro-Israel lobbies, the groups were told they were not allowed to use the original venue they booked due to the fact that “the administration of the theater responded to pressure and threats by the Zionist lobby and refused to allow the federation to use the theater, claiming that the movie promotes terrorism.”

In response, al-Alul told Ma’an that while the groups were currently searching for another theater to present the film, “the federation would not hesitate to present the film in public squares to show the world the suffering of Palestinian prisoners.”

After being detained in 2002, Barghouthi was handed five consecutive life sentences after Israeli authorities charged him with the founding of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a group Israel designates as a “terrorist” organization, and being involved in several murders during the Second Intifada -- charges he has consistently denied.

He has remained politically active from behind bars, including assisting in the drafting of the Mecca agreement in 2007, which paved the way for a unity government aimed at ending internal political conflict in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Barghouthi remains one of the most popular politicians in Palestine, receiving a wide range of support among various political factions. Many see him as an indispensable component of hope for obtaining a viable peace process and a renewed unification of the Palestinian political landscape.

As a result of the widespread respect held for Barghouthi, the politician was named a strong contender to replace PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as a 2016 poll revealed Barghouthi having more popular support than any other politician as a potential presidential replacement, and the only Fatah member to receive more support than Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh.

He was also nominated by several individuals, including leaders of Belgium’s parliament, for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

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