Mike Leigh cancels Israel visit

Helmer cancels trip in protest of proposed loyalty oath

Jerusalem– British filmmaker Mike Leigh has canceled a visit to Israel to protest against a proposed loyalty oath for new citizens.

The bill, passed by Israel’s Cabinet last week, would require non-Jewish immigrants to pledge loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic” state — language widely seen as discriminatory toward Israel’s Arab minority.

Leigh, the award-winning director of “Naked” and “Secrets & Lies,” was to participate in a film festival next month. He is Jewish.

Writing to the school sponsoring the event, Leigh said he opposed Israel’s policies on Gaza, but called the loyalty oath the “last straw.”

The school’s director, Renen Schorr, says Israeli artists face growing international isolation because of Israel’s political situation.

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