Criticized for Screening Anti-Occupation Documentary, WeHo Now Will Show a Film More Favorable to Israel

The City of West Hollywood is hosting a screening on May 7 of “The Long Way Home,” a 1997 film about the rebirth of the modern State of Israel along with a panel discussion featuring several of those who opposed the city’s screening of “1948: Creation and Catastrophe,” a documentary focused on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. next Tuesday at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

The screening was organized in response to complaints from some members of the city’s Jewish community and from Zionist activists across the country to the proposed screening in December 2018 of “1948.”  At the request of City Council members Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister, the city initially delayed the screening, with Horvath saying she didn’t want West Hollywood to become “a refuge for hate” by screening the film.

That decision sparked protests from other members of the Jewish community, illustrating a growing divide between older and more traditional Jews who have supported Israel’s occupation of cities in Palestine and younger, more progressive Jews, who have argued that opposing the concept of Zionism under which the occupation has been justified does not mean that they are anti-Semitic.  Sandy Tolan, a USC professor who had been invited to participate in a panel discussion of the proposed Dec. 12 screening, described West Hollywood’s decision to delay the screening as a “direct threat to free speech” in an op-ed published on WEHOville.

The City Council, with Meister’s support, agreed earlier this year to support the screening of “1948” on April 16. Horvath opposed the screening as did a large number of those who turned out to watch the documentary and stage a protest organized by Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami and Dillon Hosler, the chief advocacy officer of the Israeli-American Civic Action Network.  Eger and Hosler will join Yaffa Weisman, a professor at Hebrew Union College, and Zohreh Mizrahi of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, on the panel.

“The Long Way Home” is narrated by Morgan Freeman and was winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary. It chronicles the dramatic passage to Israel of Jews escaping the Holocaust.

Admission is free, on a first come basis, to those who RSVP in advance online. Validated free parking is available at the directly adjacent West Hollywood Library parking lot.