Ken Loach, the acclaimed British director and winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival has declared in a personal statement his support of âthe call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and urge[s] others to join their campaignâ. He announced that he would not take part in the âHaifa Film Festival or any other such occasionsâ, a clear statement of his intent to boycott Israeli film festivals, and an acknowledgment of the fact that âPalestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civiliansâ.
In a joint letter earlier this month signed by Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy amongst others, the film director condemned the Zionist regimeâs destruction of Lebanon and Gaza: âThe state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in the Gaza ghetto, while the âinternational communityâ stands by and watches in silence. Meanwhile the rest of Palestine is annexed and dismantled with the direct participation of the United States and the tacit approval of its allies.â
Ken Loach recently won the Palme dâOr for âthe Wind that Shakes the Barleyâ which portrayed atrocities committed by the British during the Irish War of Independence.
Recent successes in the campaign for the cultural boycott of Israel include the Locarno and Edinburgh Film Festivals refusing Israeli government sponsorship in response to Zionist aggression in Lebanon and Palestine.
Statement by Ken Loach
I support the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and urge others to join their campaign.
Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians.
They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end.
As British citizens we have to acknowledge our own responsibility. We must condemn the British and US governments for supporting and arming Israel. We must also oppose the terrorist activities of the British and US governments in pursuing their illegal wars and occupations.
However, it is impossible to ignore the appeals of Palestinian comrades. Consequently, I would decline any invitation to the Haifa Film Festival or other such occasions.