Prominent French Jewish filmmaker Claude Lanzmann expressed "shock" last week that German leftists in Hamburg had violently prevented the showing of his debut documentary film, Why Israel
, about the role of the Jewish state as a homeland for refugees.
In late October, the 1973-produced film was scheduled to be shown at the B-Movie cinema, but roughly 50 left-wing activists from diverse anti-Israel groups affiliated with the anti-Zionist International Center B5 barred visitors from entering the movie house.
In Why Israel, Lanzmann - perhaps best known for his groundbreaking documentary Shoah - depicts Israelis who found refuge in Israel after the Holocaust.
The movie house said in a statement that it had been compelled to cancel the film screening and a podium discussion because "we were threatened with violence."
According to eyewitness reports in the German media, left-wing protesters ranging in age from 16 to 70 shouted "Jewish pigs" and "faggots" to the cinema attendees.
A pro-Israel left-of-center group, Kritikmaximierung, cosponsored the showing of the film.
Werner Pomrehn, a radio host for the Hamburg-based station FSK, told the The Jerusalem Post on Friday that an anti-Israel activist had struck him in the face at the screening event.
Asked about the International Center B5 demonstrators, Pomrehn, who reports on anti-Semitism in Hamburg, termed the group the "Pol-Pot Left."