A Netflix film depicting Zionist forces murdering a Palestinian family during the 1948 war surrounding Israeli occupation’s creation has been condemned by Israeli officials as “creating a false narrative”.
Farha, the debut of the Jordanian filmmaker Darin Sallam, has been shown at several film festivals around the world since its release last year and is Jordan’s Oscars entry for 2023. It is due to begin streaming to a global audience on the online entertainment service on Thursday.
The film centers on the experiences of a girl, 14, who is locked in a storage room by her father during the events of the Nakba, the Arabic term for the ethnic cleansing and displacement of about 700,000 Palestinians by the Israeli occupation. When nascent Israeli soldiers come to the village, Farha witnesses the killing of her entire family, including two small children and a baby, through a crack in the pantry door.
“It’s crazy that Netflix decided to stream a movie whose whole purpose is to create a false pretence and incite against Israeli soldiers,” said the outgoing finance minister of the Israeli occupation, Avigdor Lieberman, in a statement.
Lieberman also said he would look at withdrawing state funding from the Arab-Hebrew theatre in the Arab-majority town of Jaffa, which screened the film.
Israeli occupation’s culture minister, Hili Tropper, said Farha depicts “lies and libels”, and showing it in an Israeli theatre “is a disgrace”. The theatre did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Portrayals of atrocities committed by zionist forces in the 1948 war remain a susceptible subject in the occupation state.
A documentary released earlier this year about the massacre of Palestinians in Tantura, a destroyed coastal village in what is now the “north of Israel”, faced widespread backlash from the Israeli occupation.
In interviews, Sallam has said she made the film because while many narrative films tell Palestinian stories, very few focus on the root cause of the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
Farha, she says, is the story of a friend of Sallam’s mother, who met each other as young women in Syria.
“The story traveled over the years to reach me. It stayed with me. When I was a child, I had this fear of closed, dark places and I kept thinking of this girl and what happened to her,” the director told Arab News.
Sallam has also said that while she did not seek to draw a deliberate parallel with Anne Frank, she can see the similarities in the traumatic experiences of the two teenage girls.