Germany: controversy after remarks deemed anti-Semitic at the Berlinale

The Berlin Film Festival has ended.

But the Berlinale is at the heart of a controversy after pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli statements by filmmakers during the closing ceremony.

The German political class denounces statements deemed anti-Semitic and unilateral.

Reactions which illustrate once again the great sensitivity on these questions in Germany, 80 years after the Shoah.

American filmmaker Ben Russell (left) and Guillaume Cailleau during the Berlin Film Festival, February 24, 2024. Getty Images - Andreas Rentz

By: RFI Follow


Read more

With our correspondent in Berlin,

Pascal Thibaut

Olaf Scholz condemned through his spokesperson this Monday morning the “unilateral” position expressed during the Berlinale awards ceremony on Saturday.

For the chancellor, it is important not to forget that

the Hamas attacks on October 7

were the cause of the current situation.

Condemnations from the German political class are piling up.

Culture Minister Claudia Roth rejected “

the hatred against Israel

” which was expressed during the evening, and jointly announced an investigation with the mayor of Berlin.

The latter estimated: “ 

Anti-Semitism has no place in Berlin and this also applies to artists.


American filmmaker Ben Russell had accused Israel, with a Palestinian scarf on its shoulders, of committing genocide in Gaza.

In a press release, the Berlinale judged that the filmmakers' statements constituted “ 

individual and independent opinions

 ” of the festival, which “ 

in no way

 ” represent those of the festival.

The controversy was also fueled by pro-Palestinian positions on a Berlinale Instagram account that were quickly deleted.

These condemnations, however, contrast with the loud applause of the public who attended the closing ceremony of the festival.

Read alsoCinema: the documentary “Dahomey” wins the Golden Bear at the Berlin festival


Receive all the international news directly in your inbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

Share :

Continue reading on the same themes:

  • Germany

  • Movie theater

  • Culture

  • Israel

  • Palestinian territories

  • Israelo-Palestinian conflict