”Boycott” with Julia Bacha


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While over the decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has periodically been front page news in America, for the most part, the issue has not taken center stage in U.S. politics. But what if it turned out that, unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, state legislatures throughout the country have been approving bills that not only took a stand on the conflict, but actually penalized some Americans for expressing an opinion on the issue? In her revelatory and thoroughly gripping documentary “Boycott”, director Julia Bacha has uncovered a widespread and deeply disturbing effort over the last several years to punish individuals or companies that support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Movement against Israel — or even refuse to sign an oath stating that they have not participated in any such boycotts.

Ken sat down with Julia to find out more about this vastly under-reported and troubling story and to hear about the creative challenges involved in reaching audiences that may not have heard much — or anything — about the issue. What drew her to the three central characters in the film and their uphill legal challenges to the law? How did she react, when, suddenly, out of the blue, she ran into an Arkansas state senator who had some surprising revelations to share about his vote on the state’s anti-BDS measure? How did Julia connect the dots between the Israeli government, the U.S. Christian fundamentalist movement and the Democratic and Republican Parties? As the facts pile up and the revelations keep coming, it becomes clear that the issues raised by “Boycott” are sure to make us stand up and pay attention. Nothing less than the First Amendment is at stake.

Our Top Docs conversation with Julia Bacha is part of our partnership with the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (May 5 – 19, 2022) to spotlight the more than 40 documentary feature films screening at this year’s festival.

Information about the “Boycott” screenings at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival:

“Boycott” screens in-person at The MSP Film at The Main Theatre in Minneapolis:

Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 PM CT, The Main 2

Thursday, May 19, 12:30 PM CT, The Main 2

Julia Bacha will be attending both screenings.

For residents of Minnesota only, the film also can be screened virtually during the Festival.

More information about the screenings can be found here.

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