Egyptian-produced documentary called the ‘Jews of Egypt’ has been banned…in Egypt

An Egyptian documentary called ‘Jews of Egypt’ was supposed to hit theaters Wednesday, but won’t because state security officials have blocked its release, according to the film’s producer. Egyptian producer Haytham el-Khamissy is outraged as the film had already been approved by censorship officials.

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Washington Post  Judaism is a sensitive subject in Egypt, where the old synagogues are mostly just visited by tourists. Thousands of Jews fled the country or were expelled in the 1950s, a “second exodus” under Gamal Nasser’s nationalistic rule. The wars with Israel, disastrously lost, deepened public hostility toward Israelis and, by unfortunate extension, Jews.

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That exodus and its aftermath are the subject of Khamissy’s film, the trailer for which is below. He had secured official approval back in 2010 but, well, things have changed in Egypt since then. State security officials are delaying its release because, as Khamissy describes their position, “the film’s title might cause public uproar, particularly after Essam El-Erian’s statements on Jews, and in light of the tension on the street.” 

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According to the Lebanon-based Naharnet, the film was creating a stir in Egypt even before its blocked release. A December article in Foreign Policy described the film’s goal as “disentangling Egyptians’ impressions of Jews from their intense hatred of Zionism” and said that an early screening in Cairo had been a hit.

“Egypt is changing, with people becoming less tolerant of one another especially under the current regime,” the film’s director, Amir Ramses, told Foreign Policy in December. He was explaining his rationale for making the film, but this might also be the state’s motivation for blocking it.

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9 comments on “Egyptian-produced documentary called the ‘Jews of Egypt’ has been banned…in Egypt

  1. My friend’s wife was an Egyptian Jew who was coerced into marrying an Egyptian muslime while still in her late teens. When her muslime husband tired of beating her, he finally dragged her out into the street and pronounced: “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.” At which point her divorce was finalized, alimony payment decided (i.e. nothing) and child custody resolved (she never saw her kids again) all at once according to Islamic law.

  2. Morsi must think everyone is stupid! Palestinian/Palestine NEVER existed, period!!! Morsi is a MuzRat filthy scum of a muzzie RatShit LIAR! Muzzies will NEVER tell the truth… STOP being a ‘squatter’ Morsi, the land belongs to the jews thousands of years ago…Islam was given birth by the devil himslef 1,400 years ago, and Muslims were part the devil’s army….

  3. I was lucky enough to have seen this film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January – and it was extremely well rec’d by everyone in attendance. It was definitely an eye-opener and provided a real education about the Jews of Egypt and how those who were forced to leave (under Nassar) always felt, in their hearts & minds, that they were Egyptian (much as American Jews feel strongly that, above all, they’re Americans) – in fact, Egyptian Jews. But the hostility of the Egyptians toward Israel and the Zionists also extended to the Jews in Egypt as well! So, when exodus came – and bec. most Jews had been educated at “the lycee” (the French-language school system in Alexandria and Cairo, where they also learned English) – they naturally turned toward France, where language was NOT a barrier and where French nationality was bestowed within five years.

    Another interesting/fascinating aspect of these once prominent Jewish communities was that some of their leaders were very socialist-oriented, but NOT Zionist – even though the Zionist movement was founded, for the most part, by socialist Jews in Europe!

    But with Morsi now in charge, and the Muslim Brotherhood in the ascendancy, ANYTHING favorable toward Jews will be banned. This film was VERY sympathetic toward the Jews of Egypt and conveyed the deep sense of loss they felt when they were expelled.

      • I hope the brave Egyptian who made this film is persistent and peddles it worldwide until he finds a sympathetic distributor who will help disseminate the important message. Perhaps such a person – and the requisite funds – can be found in France.

        And now I recall one other VERY important detail: As with many of these foriegn films, sometimes their initial screenings in the USA are only at these film festivals – and I think “The Jews of Egypt” had this same experience (but Palm Springs might not have been the only or even first screening, but I can’t be sure now). But there was a great Q&A with the film’s very young director who was, as I surmised, a Coptic Christian – NOT a muzzie (who would never have made such a film in the first place!). For my part, I could only wish him Godspeed and good luck – and God’s protection for all his family & Christian friends.

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