Ken Loach Calls for Boycott of Cultural Events Backed by Israeli State

Ken Loach Calls Boycott of Cultural

British filmmaker Ken Loach has called for a boycott of cultural events backed by the Israeli government at an event at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Loach made his remarks at the presentation Thursday of the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award, which went to two filmmakers from Gaza, Abdel Salam Shehadeh and Ashraf Mashharawi. Shehadeh was unable to attend the festival due to the airstrikes in Gaza, Loach said. Mashharawi was at the festival, but said that he wouldn’t be able to return to Gaza until the violence ended.

“I can’t go back now because of the bombing and because of the closed border. I have to wait, but I know it is also our duty to come here and bring these voices of victims — they chase you,” he told Reuters.

“We need these filmmakers to tell these stories because they are absolutely central to our understanding of the conflict,” Loach said at the ceremony.

Loach compared the situation of the people of Gaza with that of Sarajevo’s residents while the city was under siege for four-years in the 1990s.

He condemned the support given to Israel by the U.S. and the U.K., and called on a boycott of sporting, entertainment and cultural events that were supported by the Israeli state.

It is not the first time that Loach has spoken out on the issue of Gaza. In July he criticized the BBC for failing to give the “Palestinian perspective” in its coverage of the conflict with Israel, and earlier last month Loach was one of those who delivered a petition to David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, calling for an arms embargo on Israel.

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  1. Lora McCabe says:

    All we hear is the skewed “Palestinian Perspective!.” Although I support a “divorce,” it was the Palestinians that prevented the political split time and time again. If the media actually bothered to do some research into the past, it will find that the Palestinians are doing so much better under Israel’s “occupation,” than ever under the dictatorship of Arab kinds, sheiks, etc. Jews RESPECT life, Arabs don’t. I am sick of British, American and other “bleeding hearts,” where they risk nothing of themselves!

  2. Pat Croton says:

    Ken, Im proud of you along with U2, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Otoole, Santana, Roger Waters, Pixies, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, and many others. Jon Void is a self-righteous, self-serving , devious idiot.

  3. 302s says:


    A regurgitation of the raving anti Israeli drivel he’s been preaching since 2009.

    Why is this news?

    Ah – Ken Loach – the extreme leftist Hamas apologist man who said the,”rise in anti-Semitism is “understandable”.

    I have a better idea – boycott Ken Loach.

    See Also:

  4. Ken Loach is a brave man. Joispa, your comment is silly. There is plenty of Jewish culture in Israel which is terrific, as well as Arab Muslim and Arab Christian culture. Allyson, you mix being anti-Israel with anti-Semitic. Open your eyes to what Israel is doing in the name of the Jews of the world. There are plenty of Jews who do not agree. Mark, have you actually seen any of his films? Lots of people think they are great. Your attack is ad hominem, and thus illegitimate.

    I don’t suppose that my comments will matter to you in the least, but you guys really need to rethink your positions.

    Israel fears being isolated. All the fine Israeli artists, academics, thinkers (as well as the businesses, many of them on Palestinian land)–would not like to be boycotted. Boycott is a peaceful means of bringing about change. It worked in S Africa, it can work here. So boycott Israel, and let people know you’re boycotting. Treating Israel like a pariah because it’s behaving like one–well, it’s a good thing to do.

    Bravo, Ken Loach, for your principled stand.

    • George Shers says:

      It is interesting that Mr. Loach advocates political censorship since it has apparently been used against some of his works. I am sure his did not support a policy which prevented people from seeing his films because of his political positions. What of the Israelis who do not support their government’s actions; why should their works be boycotted merely because they are Israelis? Is that not an act of intolerance because of someone’s perceived religion? What is his position as to Syria and the Arab countries who only allow limited freedom to their citizens [and are responsible for many more deaths]?

  5. Mark says:

    Why does anyone care what this guy thinks, his films have collectively, throughout his entire career, been seen by an audience small enough to fit inside the Staples Center? I can’t even call this guy a has been, because he is a never was. Blah blah…”great artist,” “box office doesn’t equal talent,” fine heard it all before, but Scorsese, Tarantino, Allen, Spielberg, to name just four have all managed to bride the two worlds. This guy couldn’t make a film anyone outside of a European film festival would want to see if his very life depended on it.

  6. Ruth says:

    Mr. Loach is an outstanding director, one of the finest of his generation. He has been an expert at Israel-bashing for many years and I see that nothing has changed.

    Ashraf Mashharawi, one of the Gazan filmmakers attending the film festival in Sarajevo, claimed that he couldn’t return to Gaza because “of the bombing and the closed border”. Well the bombing continues because Hamas still hasn’t accepted the ceasefire which was accepted by Israel (the 11th ceasefire broken by Hamas). However the border between Israel and Gaza has been open throughout the conflict. Palestinians wishing to leave were able to do so after coordination with Israeli authorities. Hundreds of trucks deliver supplies to Gaza on a daily basis (food, medication etc). Sick Palestinian children who receive medical care in Israeli hospitals continue to travel from Gaza into Israel for their treatment. It’s true that the border between Gaza and Egypt has been closed since before the conflict but I believe that Mr. Mashharawi can certainly return home via Israel if he chooses to do so.

  7. Cris says:

    Maybe Ken Loach should call for a boycott of cultural events backed by the Russia government

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