antisemitism,  Israel/Palestine

Melbourne Festival to Loach: stuff it

Unlike their craven counterparts in Edinburgh, the organizers of the Melbourne Film Festival apparently don’t believe that Ken “Antisemitism is understandable” Loach “speaks on behalf of the film community.”

The Age reports:

English filmmaker Ken Loach has withdrawn his film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival because the festival receives funding from the Israeli Government.

Loach told the festival if it did not reconsider the sponsorship, he would not allow the festival to screen his film.

In a letter to festival executive director Richard Moore, he said that “Palestinians, including artists and academics, have called for a boycott of events supported by Israel”. He cited “illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods” and “the massacres in Gaza” as reasons for the boycott. It was, he said, aimed “not at independent Israeli films or filmmakers”, but at “the Israeli state”.

Mr Moore said he would not accede to the request: “I wouldn’t do it. The festival wouldn’t. It’s like submitting to blackmail.”

He said the Israeli Government had supported the festival in previous years and that it sponsored many cultural events in Australia. This year the initial sponsorship arrangement involved an airfare for a festival guest, filmmaker Tatia Rosenthal. Her animation, $9.99, is the first Israeli-Australian co-production feature.

(Hat tip: Z Word.)

Update: Here’s a video of Ken Loach addressing the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in March. Note that at about 4:45 he says, “Nothing has been a greater instigator of antisemitism than the self-proclaimed Jewish state itself.”

Nothing, Ken? Ever?