“Denying the Nakba is like denying who I am and that I exist”- Director of Farha Speaks Out Against Backlash From Israel

Deena Qannan, Forum Writer

The recently premiered film, Farha, on Netflix, recounts the story of a young Palestinian girl during 1948; the year of the Nakba also known as The Catastrophe. The Catastrophe marks the day that more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of Palestine by Israeli forces. A significant scene in particular was brought up repeatedly by Israelis.

In an unspecified village in Palestine, life was simple before The Catastrophe. The protagonist, Farha, is an ambitious girl who wants to enroll in a school located in the city. That’s when the movie takes a serious turn as shooting breaks out, depicting the beginning of the Nakba. 

Farha’s father locks her in the food cellar to keep her safe from the Israeli military. After days in the cellar, Farha witnesses soldiers threatening to shoot a Palestinian family and the killing of a newborn baby through a hole in the cellar.

This scene was disapproved by Israeli officials. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s finance minister, spoke out against the movie on Twitter, saying: “It’s crazy that Netflix decided to stream a movie whose whole purpose is to create a false pretense and incite against Israeli soldiers.”  

In an interview with Time, Jordanian director Darin Sallam responded to the backlash.

“The reason I’m so shocked by the backlash is because I didn’t show anything, compared to what happened during the massacres, this was a small event,” Sallam says. “I don’t want to speak about Farha as a number. It’s about her feelings on what she’s witnessing.” 

Sallam talks about what made her so adamant about specifically making a film about the Nakba.

“As a filmmaker, I can’t make any film unless I feel the urge to share the story—especially if the story haunts me, as it did with Farha.” 

Sallam explains how the film is inspired by a true story of a Palestinian girl named Radieh. Sallam says that after Radieh fled to Syria in ‘48, she shared her story with others.

“That other girl grew up, had a daughter of her own, and shared Radieh’s story with her own daughter—who happened to be me.”  

As a response to the movie, Israelis have been saying that The Nakba is a false event that never happened or saying that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), are being poorly portrayed in the film. 

Itamar Ben-Gvir, party leader of Otzma Yehudit, a far-right political party in Israel, criticized the film saying the movie “proves the world acts in complete hypocrisy against Israel, which has been a victim to terror attacks since before its founding.”

Subhi Taha, a Palestinian influencer, claps back to the hate on Farha on Instagram.

“I think we need to point out the irony in Israel condemning the Palestinian movie Farha, […], and the fact that just yesterday an Israeli soldier shot and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man [Ammar Mufleh Adili].” 

Taha says that the argument that the movie depicts the IDF as violent is completely true. “The timing of these events further proves that the Nakba happened and that the Naka is happening to this day.”

There are currently still Palestinians being killed and discriminated against by the IDF. The UN says that 2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living in the West Bank since 2005 with 125 Palestinians dead and 34 of which children.

In regards to the violence, two IDF soldiers were killed and 25 people were injured between 


More historical background information about Palestine and Israel can be found here.