Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Has Loach lost the plot?

By now you may have read about Ken Loach withdrawing his latest film, Looking For Eric, from MIFF. Loach's reason? Because MIFF accepts funding from the State of Israel which, I believe is to pay for the airfares of people involved in the making of $9.99, an Australian-Israeli co-production.

I personally abhor the attempts at politicisation of MIFF, whether it be by the Chinese government over The 10 Conditions of Love, which I recently wrote about, Loach linking the Palestinian issue with Israel paying for airfares, or Australians For Palestine planning to protest at MIFF's opening night and other sessions. Loach is, of course, entitled to his opinion but, on face value, I disagree with his stance entirely.

For what it's worth, here are copies of the correspondence between Loach and Moore, as posted on the AFP website (click on images to enlarge):

While Loach may have legitimate concerns about Israel and its policies towards the Palestinian territories (concerns that I share, by the way), it seems to me that his stance is inappropriate. Should MIFF refuse funding from, for example, the British Council, the Australian government or the US because of those governments' involvement in recent war crimes? I mean, this just gets ludicrous, and hence the title of this post.

I wholeheartedly support Richard Moore's stance on the issue of MIFF's political independence.
I know this is a potentially emotive issue, and feel free to post your opinions one way or the other, but one request - please keep on topic.


Anonymous said...

Political independance sounds all very nice, but it silently permits atrocity.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Loach and Australian for Palestine protest against the many suicide bombings made by Palestine in Israel? Anyone who attended the Gaza street protests in Melbourne where Australians for Palestine were in droves can see what a bunch of anti-Semitic, violent loonies they truly are calling for all Jews to be killed and for a return of the concentration camps to eradicate all Jews from Israel. These guys and Loach are insane!

Anon above, I don't see Loach and others condemning the Jakarta bombings. They must be elated it happened and those greedy, capitalist westerners were murdered. Yes, silence permits atrocity but only when it is convenient to push Loach's own political agenda rather than any humanitarian concerns.

Paul Martin said...

Anonymous, your point also sounds 'all very nice', but what's the solution? Do we boycott films from:
- Australia
- Britain
- Russia
- China
- Indonesia
- Korea
- etc, etc, etc?

Why pick on just Israel? Why punish artists and the consumption of art because of the acts of politicians?

And does boycotting Israeli films (or the support of them) really going to change the Israeli/Palestinian situation?

BTW, I have been penning a review of The Limits of Control, a film in which art versus politics is the subtext.

Toby said...

Paul you make a valid point. Why does Loach only target Israel? What about films from Iran or any other oppressive regime? It is common for non-jews to be brought up to hate Jews just as Muslims hate non-Muslims. It goes back hundreds of years. It is ingrained in our beings. However, once you look at reality and unbiased facts rather than propaganda, intelligent people grow out it while some, like Loach, continues his anti-Semitism and will no doubt pass it on to his kids, generation to generation.

Paul Martin said...

Actually, Toby, I had Iran in mind when I made that list, but somehow excluded it inadvertently.

I'm going to give Loach the benefit of the doubt and respect his intellect and heart enough to presume he's not anti-Semitic. But maybe I'm being naive; I truly don't know.

Anon #2 (and I know who you are, and you know that I know, hehe), as long as Hamas (or hummus as Bruno would say) and others justify suicide bombings, politically Israel is almost obligated to respond with brutal force. For peace to prevail, it's going to take massive restraint on both sides, not just Israel's.

Please folks, if you're going to be anonymous (and I don't have a problem with that), use a name, initials or pseudonym so we can differentiate the different Anonymouses.

Toby said...

Yes, Hamas are a funny lot and yet Loach does not dare speak ill of them. They are a terrorist organisation but all you hear from those like Loach was they were democratically elected. If threatening voters to vote for you or you will die is democratic then so be it. However, once Hamas did "win" the Gaza election, they proceeded to throw their now defeated political opponents off tall buildings to their deaths. Yes, Hamas, they are a funny lot!

Chris said...

you're either with us or against us...

sounds familiar.

maybe MIFF is becoming the new axis of evil

Jurguens said...

Ken Loach is not anti-semitic. Criticising and standing up against the country that has flouted more UN resolutions in the world, has nuclear bombs, and has killed more people in the middle east is not being anti-semitic. Furthermore, Palestinians, and indeed all arabs are semitic.

People assume that Ken Loach supports Hamas and other terrorist organisation. That is an assumption. A big assumption. He has never supported terrorist actions and I challenge any one to find one case in which he has.

I find it normal that he criticises more often and voices his opinion against Israel. They are the giant crushing the ant.

He and his team have taken a bold decision and I respect him for being coherent with his beliefs.

Toby said...

Jurgeuns, after 1,400 years of jihad, however, Islamic fascists have killed more than 270 million people. Of course, this is of no interest to you because the Jews have killed more, right? I highly doubt that but in the eyes of an anti-Semite, the Jews have killed more.

Toby said...

Ken Loach about the rise of anti-Semitism: "If there has been a rise I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism." Feeds feelings like his own, I imagine. Freudian slip!

Jurguens said...

To Toby:

You are quick to put me in the anti semite box even though you have no idea about who I am and who the semites are.

Let me just say that if Ken Loach is anti semitic as you seem to imply, so are you because arabs are actually semitic.

You may not understand this but I have no problem with jewish people. I am against zionism as a radical terrorist organisation. They were the first to use terrorist tactics in the Middle East (King David Hotel, 1946). Once they managed to found Israel, the country has becomes the bloodiest and deadliest in the Middle East.

I abhor and stand against all forms of violence and that includes palestinian and arab organisations. You may not understand that but it's the way it is.

Finally if you want to look at the whole history (I don't know where you got the 270 million people number), I believe that "christian fascists" (as you would say) win the throne of blood.

Anyway... this is my last post about this here, because frankly I find this kind of arguments frustrating.

Peace to all.

Paul Martin said...

Atrocities have been committed by both sides. Hamas would do more if they could. Israel does more than they should but less than they could. It's all relative. These types of arguments ensure that peace is thwarted. I have my ideas about peace, but that's off topic.

For me, the point in hand is not about who is more right or less wrong. Nor is it about who has been responsible for more deaths. Nor who is the rightful owner of a small stretch of land. The question is whether Loach's action is appropriate. I've stated my opinion and I don't see how arguments about who is the lesser or greater aggressor changes anything.

Peter said...

I won't give my opinion because I don't want to be crucified.

PS: Isn't it interesting that the one who is more heated up and angry is Toby?

Toby said...

Jurguens, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a Russian forgery and literary hoax but it is till being used by anti-Semites and neo-Nazis to further their fear-mongering that Jews are out for world domination. People still believe in it, mainly Arabs and Palestinians, where it is still taken as historical fact and taught in schools to brainwash the young.

Anonymous said...

I laugh when people refer to Zionism as a terrorist organisation. Zionism is simply the term coined in the 19th century as a nationalist movement for Jews to have their own state. In fact, many others did the same thing in the 19th century as the nationalist movement gathered pace. However, people have linked this nationalist movement to, as Toby mentions above, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an admitted forgery, which claims the plan of Jews was for world domination. Also, Israel is TINY and yet the Arabs virtually have the whole Middle East and yet cannot find room for any of their Palestinian mates. You do now that 1 million Arabs live in Israel without any trouble? Even the Palestinians themselves did not refer to themselves as Palestinians until 1967!