[Image Source: Ruben Ortega]
Kenneth (Ken) Charles Loach is an English director of television and independent film. In addition to being known for his profession in television and film, Loach is also known as a notorious anti-Israel activist. Loach recently condemned Radiohead’s decision to play a concert in Tel Aviv later this month. Loach accused the band of ignoring Palestinian communities and supporting a system of apartheid by refusing to commit to the cultural boycott of Israel.
While Loach regularly promotes the cultural boycott of Israel, he allows his films to be freely distributed in the Jewish state. Loach’s latest film “I, Daniel Blake” is currently showing in Israeli cinemas. His producer Rebecca O’Brien claims it’s a “mistake,” saying the distribution company Wild Bunch made the deal “accidentally” and without the knowledge of Loach or his production company Sixteen Films.
Nearly all of Loach’s most recent films have been screened in Israel even though the director said in the past that he would “prefer his films not be distributed in Israel.” It would appear he does not make much of an effort to stop them from being screened.
Claims that Israeli distribution rights were sold “accidentally” were dismissed as “absurd” by Loach’s long-term Israeli distributor Guy Shani, the head of Shani Films and also the owner of Israel’s Lev cinema chain. Shani said he had known Loach and his producer for years, paying them money “every year,” without them ever voicing objections.
“Since 1993, when we bought ‘Raining Stones,’ we bought every film apart from two. We never faced any trouble buying and the audience at the Lev cinemas is very open-minded and believes in free speech. So he is punishing the wrong people or trying to,” Shani said.
“I can’t tell you how absurd this is. We’ve been showing his movies for years. I have been paying him money every year. His latest film, ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ has been really successful in Israel. So successful that we had some private events with Israeli government institutions where they booked the film to show to employees because of interest in the subject,” Shani elaborated.
“It seems that Ken Loach feels himself exempt from the cultural boycott,” Shani said.
Another famous anti-Israel British Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) supporter, Stephen Hawking, came under fire his support for BDS, when it became apparent that Hawking relies on a computer-based communications system (to communicate with others) runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. (Stephen Hawking has suffered from motor neurone disease for the past 50 years, and relies on a computer-based system to communicate.)
We hope that those who wish to support the BDS movement first stop to think about the fact that Israel is responsible for helping so many people in so many ways. In addition, too often those very people that wish to support BDS don’t even realize that their very lives and the lives of those that they care for and love are made better through Israeli innovations in medicine and technology.