Filmmaker Loach urges cultural boycott of Israel
Press TV – January 15, 2010
The acclaimed British director and winner of Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Ken Loach, has called for the boycott of Israeli movies at the international film festivals and cultural events.
“The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make the showcasing of Israeli films in various sections of international film festivals unacceptable,” Loach was quoted as saying at a ceremony commemorating Israeli offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip by IRNA.
“Tel Aviv sponsors various international film festivals with the intention to open the way for Israeli films.”
He added the call for a boycott of Israeli cultural products comes from many writers, artists, journalists, lawyers, academics, trades unionists and teachers. They see it as “a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.”
Last July, Loach withdrew his film ”Looking for Eric” from the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest against the Israel’s sponsorship of another filmmaker. Tel Aviv provided airfare for Tatia Rosenthal, whose film ”9.99” is an Israeli-Australian co-production.
In May 2009, Loach as director of the Edinburgh International film festival returned a £300 gift from the Israeli embassy as a sign of his cultural boycott of Israel and in protest of Tel Aviv’s policies towards the Palestinian people.
The Toronto international film festival (TIFF) came under fire in September for selecting Tel Aviv as the subject of its inaugural City-to-City Spotlight strand. Renowned movie makers including Loach, Jane Fonda and David Byrne were among those who signed a statement supporting Canadian film-maker John Greyson, who withdrew his short film “Covered” from TIFF after learning of the program.
In a letter to the festival, Greyson cited Israeli action in Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements as reasons for his withdrawal.
A United Nations inquiry led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone details what investigators call Israeli actions “amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” during Israel’s offensive against Gaza.
Tel Aviv is worried that charges could be lodged against politicians and army officers for war crimes committed during Israel’s 22-day offensive against blockaded Gaza Strip. Top officials who would be in the judicial cross-hairs could include former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as well as current Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during three weeks of Israel’s land, sea and air assault in the impoverished coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted $ 1.6 billion damage to Gaza economy.