Bernard-Henri Levy addressing the audience at Monday’s screening of his documentary Peshmerga. Photo: Jeff Zorabedian
NEW YORK – The screening of a documentary about the Peshmerga went ahead in New York Monday evening despite threats of a possible attack by ISIS.
"Thank you Jewish Heritage Museum for letting us screen the movie, despite the concerns earlier today," said Bernard-Henri Levy, veteran French intellectual, before screening his documentary, Peshmerga
, about the role of Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS.
The concerns he mentioned were "credible intelligence" of a possible attack by "an ISIS lone actor" on the screening of his film at New York's Jewish Heritage Museum.
"Personnel in New York City are recommended to avoid the vicinity of the referenced event venue on 2 October from 18:00 LT to midnight due to the risk of lone actor attacks as called for by ISIS-linked messaging channels," reads a report from a US intelligence researcher and two other sources that confirmed the threat, seen exclusively by Rudaw.
Hours before the screening, Levy was determined to present his film as planned. "I don't care, we will do this," he told Rudaw, despite being unsure if police would provide sufficient security for the event.
"I'm very happy and proud to have directed Peshmerga, which will be screened tonight in a great venue in New York City. I followed really on the ground the women and men composing the Peshmerga, their action, their faces, their spirit, their mood, their history, their bravery. I'm very proud to be able to share that with the people of New York tonight," he said.
The film was shown as planned, but under very tight security. The venue looked like a military base and due to security concerns no TV cameras were allowed into the building.
The threat did not deter the crowd, either. A large number of New Yorkers attended the screening, including some prominent figures in the city's Jewish community.
"Some in the audience have the ears of Donald Trump," Levy noted, urging them to support the independence of Kurdistan.
"How can we on one side say that we don't trust Iran, that the Iran is the peak of axis of evil, and on the other side to give them on a plate the Kurds?" Bernard asked the audience, criticizing the US and the Western rejection of Kurdistan’s independence referendum.
In the September 25 referendum, 92.7 percent of voters supported independence from Iraq. The vote has been largely rejected, in Iraq, regionally, and internationally.
Levy filmed Peshmerga
in 2015, travelling Kurdistan’s 1000 km-long frontline with ISIS, shining a spotlight on the Kurdish men and women determined to stand their ground against the group’s extremism.
The New York crowd was not deterred by ISIS threats and large numbers attended the screening. Photo: Jeff Zorabedian