On the back of IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid's comments on Vivek Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, on Tuesday penned an open letter to IFFI and Lapid, criticising the Israeli filmmaker for speaking on the Kashmir issue.
In the letter directed at Lapid, Gilon wrote, "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED," adding that he, as the ambassador, "unequivocally" condemned the filmmaker's remarks on Agnihotri's movie.
"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," Gilon urged Lapid.
"The friendship between Israel and India is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted," Gilon further wrote and offered his apologies in India.
Hours after Gilon's open letter, Israel's ex-Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon backed the current envoy, writing that Lapid "definitely should apologize for his revolting personal remarks on historical facts without any sensitivity,not really knowing what he was talking about."
As the row continued to get increasing attention, another Israeli diplomat, Consul General Kobbi Shoshani, also distanced Israel from Lapid's comments, saying, "He [Lapid] can say that it's the opinion of the Jury which is alright. But it has nothing to do with Israel."
Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who is the Jury head of IFFI (International Film Festival of India) 2022, has called director Vivek Agnihotri's film a "propganda, vulgar film", adding that he was "shocked" to see the film in the competition section of such a prestigious film festival.
"All of us are disturbed. It felt to us like a 'propaganda, vulgar movie' inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious competition. I feel totally comfortable in sharing these feelings openly on stage since the spirit of the festival truly accepts critical discussion which is essential for art and life," Nadav Lapid said on Day 2 of the event being held Goa's Panaji.