Guardian

Hypocrisy, thy middle name is Loach


Unlike the spineless and amoral organisers of the Edinburgh Film Festival, the people who run the Melbourne Film Festival stood up to Ken Loach’s attempt to use his film ‘Looking for Eric’ as a lever to get them to cancel Israeli sponsorship. Last week Richard Moore, the Melbourne organiser, had an article in The Guardian about the affair.

Today Loach and his associates responded.

Let’s look at their arguments:

“Over the last 60 years Israel, backed by the United States, has shown contempt for hundreds of UN resolutions, the Geneva convention and international law. It has demonstrated itself to be a violent and ruthless state, as was clearly shown by the recent massacres in Gaza, and was even prepared to further challenge international law by its use of phosphorous weapons.”

Wrong. Israel has not ‘shown contempt for’ a single Security Council Resolution. Neither has it ‘shown contempt for’ the Geneva Convention. Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the voluntary movement of Israelis who wish to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, since this does not constitute a deportation or transfer within the meaning of that article, which mentions the word ‘forcible’ (”…individual or mass forcible transfers….”). No Israeli has been ‘forced’ to move to the West Bank. And the use of phosphorous weapons is not illegal, in specified circumstances. The UK and the US have phosphorous weapons. There is no evidence that Israel broke the rules on using phosphorous weapons.

Violent and ruthless?” By allowing thousands of Kassams to be fired into Israel for eight years without retaliation? By ensuring that 75% of the casualties in Cast Lead were males over the age of 16 (so more likely to be combatants), versus just 25% of the Gaza population in that category? By calling Gazans on their mobiles before the attack to give them warning? 

We’d advise you to stick to your day job, Ken…..

“Israel continues to flout world-wide public opinion; the clearest example of its intransigence is its determination to continue to build the wall through Palestinian territories despite the 2004 decision of the international court.”

Wrong again. The International Court of Justice has no legal standing. It is the judicial body of the United Nations whose General Assembly is dominated by countries hostile to Israel. (Israel of course has no representation on the ICJ). Its opinions are advisory only.

“At a recent BDS event in the West Bank town of Ramallah Naomi Klein argued that those who claim there is no exact equivalency between Israel and South Africa should think again.”

Naomi Klein? That well known authority on the Middle East?

For the refutation that “Israel is an Apartheid State”, see this article on Ben White’s recent book and this quotation:

Israel has proved that for fifty years its real power is in its democracy, guarding the rights of its citizens, applying laws [equally] to the rich and poor, the big and small.

– Dr. Talal Al-Shareef, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, May 27, 1999

Israel is always among the first countries to send a rescue team to any natural disaster anywhere in the world, be it the Asian Tsunami or the recent typhoon in Taiwan.

How telling that Loach – the great humanitarian – is prepared to ignore these fine achievements of Israel. And how telling – as poster ‘Monnie’ points out on today’s CIF thread – that he is prepared to take the money paid by Israeli audiences for his films.

Hypocrisy, thy middle name is Loach………

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43 replies »

  1. Loach, Redgrave, et al should stop making propaganda and stick to making films. That’s what they’re paid for. I’ve been boycotting Loach’s films for many years now. Overtly political films are not entertaining.

    If he wanted to do something for humanity, he could organize a special screening of his latest film and donate the money to his favourite charity.
    Nobody would care.

  2. “Over the last 60 years Israel, backed by the United States, has shown contempt for hundreds of UN resolutions, the Geneva convention and international law. It has demonstrated itself to be a violent and ruthless state, as was clearly shown by the recent massacres in Gaza, and was even prepared to further challenge international law by its use of phosphorous weapons.”

    Loach is a contemptible bigot.

    Every assertion made here is open to dispute and some are false.

    If Israel has violated international law why hasn’t she been taken to court?

    Moreover, how has she “demonstrated itself to be a violent and ruthless state?”

    By fighting back when she was invaded by her neighbors? By fighting back against terrorist attacks that have created thousands of casualties?

    Finally which country has killed more people in the last sixty years or so, Israel or Great Britain?

    How many countries have shown greater ruthlessness than Israel? Has Loach tried to ban say China or Iran from film festivals?

    Loach is clearly a biased if not an antisemitic observer.

  3. His is both a cowardly and fashionable attitude. By being fashionable he gains approval. There are probably many countries in the world with faults (ahem) but Israel is such a good hook to hang a publicity campaign on, isn’t it?

    It is tiny, embattled and most of all…Jewish. The Jackpot!

  4. “Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the voluntary movement of Israelis who wish to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, since this does not constitute a deportation or transfer within the meaning of that article, which mentions the word ‘forcible’ (”…individual or mass forcible transfers….”). No Israeli has been ‘forced’ to move to the West Bank.”

    It does mention the word forcible, but only regarding transfers out of occupied territory – the paragraph regarding transfers to occupied territory does not include the word.

    “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

    “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    Which rather blows your theory about the transfers not being forcible, doesn’t it? It’s not the first time you’ve been caught changing documents to fit your agenda, and I doubt it will be the last.

    I thought CIFWatch claimed to be non-political?

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Louise…..

  5. ExiledLondoner since you are quibbling the passage you have quoted says that the state should not move people

    . It says nothing about people moving for themselves.“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” Nowhere does it say citizens of the occupying power shall not move to the occupied territory of their own volition.

  6. Mita,

    Two points.

    1) Do you think that Louise faithfully represented article 49 of the 4th GC, or did she deliberately misrepresent it to suit her agenda?

    2) Under the GC, Israel is responsible for its own population – as Israel plans, approves, subsidises, provides services for, builds roads for, provides IDF protection for, and offers incentives for people to move into, settlements, your suggestion that Israel is somehow a passive player is ridiculous.

  7. Ridiculous?
    Your suggestion that there is some sort of prohibition for people to decide to move for themselves is extending what is written to limits that clearly were not intended:
    This was written in 1948 when the present situations did not exist and you are putting your own spin on it introducing elements that did not exist and do not exist.

    I am no arbitrator between you and Louise:nor have I time to read the passage.

  8. exiled

    “Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers ….are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

    – No Israeli is ‘forced’ to move

    “Art 49. The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    – As Mita says, the Israeli government has not ‘deported or transferred’ anyone.

    I think your faux-rigourousness in analysing texts is just that – a pretence that you are the only one who can read texts and then – lo and behold! – you reach an anti-Israel conclusion.

    Well you have met your match on this site, mon ami.

    And unlike CIF, the posts of those who correct you won’t get vapourised…..

  9. Let’s not forget his quoting of Tutu, the rabid antisemite disguised in the friendly grandpa / santa suit.

    I suppose Loach’s film is reserved for the selected purified few who share his vision inspired by Naomi Klein as the rest are not worthy of his work.

    what a joke. As if anybody watches his lame movies.

  10. http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/sabeel_conference_boston.htm

    Armaros

    Indeed – that nice Bishop Tutu who always smiles and what’s more he’s from South Africa so he must kniow what he’s talking about and if he says Israel is an apartheid State then of course he must be right, even though he is in bed with the most extreme Christian anti-Zionists and replacement theologists.

    THAT Tutu … the Tutu that Dershowitz called a ‘racist and a bigot’

    http://seismicshock.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/social-justice/

  11. Of course the ”forcible transfers” prohibition applies the other way. No matter the demands or from whom: Israel has no right to make a forcible transfer of its citizens out of the territories.

    I had never noticed that before.

  12. This post of mine lasted less than an hour:

    It seems in preparation for what was supposed to be a movie, Ken Loach has assembled a protest party. Probably because the movie sucked anyway so what better way to sell some tickets then to promote antisemites and radicals. Tutu, Naomi Klein, Neve Gordon etc…..I thought this was a film maker and not a university librarian. Again explains why the movie sucked. Perhaps more focus on the trade is recommended.

    Let’s be honest. Many states co-sponsor this festival, as do many corporations and institutions. And have been, along with Israel, for quite some time. It was neither a secret. The Israeli government (and for the less educated: they have other ministries than defense).

    So many states co-sponsor this event and in the case of the Israeli state, their sponsorship was applied mainly to assist Israeli artists to travel to the venue. This not being the Golden Globes, many film makers, cameramen and other artists participating in such a film festival live within modest means. So there is no offense that countries ferry their artists to the venue once they made the country proud.

    Then here comes Loach and his bad movie, attempting to hijack the narrative of the festival into his beef with Israel and his admiration of some of its most extreme and lunatic critics.
    He has every right to boycott the venue for whatever reason he wishes. That is his right. But to pimp himself off the corner which was reserved for the enjoyment of films from the world over by an anticipating audience, and cancel after arrangements for him were already made, smacks of cheap self promotion and not some noble political cause.

    -Why doesn’t he make a movie about Israel and why doesn’t he explain his position there.

    Is he less talented than Michael Moore?

    But no, he pulls the film causing the festival to want to recap costs and goes on his world tour of shameless righteous self promotion. Probably because his movie sucked. What artist would deny his art to be seen.

    Like :
    “you are not worthy for my work”….you Israel accepting barbarians…”My movie is reserved for only the righteous and politically pure…”

    It is so silly and pathetic. An obvious display of uncured narcissism but supposedly an acceptable one as his reflection in the water was blurred by the Star of David.

    – “How convenient”… would say the Church lady.

    I happen to think that states and governments should stay out of culture and art. An idealistic proposition given the realities of film production especially.
    So times arise when governments sponsor films not enough people would want to see for them to be paid for and they end up at festivals like this. Basically, these gigs are often the one time and the only time some film makers can showcase their work to an audience ostensibly appreciating their artistic effort and integrity for willing to work just as hard for so much less.
    Then comes Loach and his bad movie which he doesn’t want to show but wants everybody to talk about because he hates Israel.
    No consideration at all the other artists who worked their whole lives up to this moment who now need to see their gig stolen by an artist who s art leaves much to desire but which does not prevent him from using it for narcissistic political aims. Using art, or in this case the blocking of art, to extract political gains from a crowd who really just wanted to see movies.
    The fusion of art with politics. A real method of other ideologies also having problems with Jews and Jews making films. How visual this blind move can appear if only seen from the crude reality which is that Israel is now having to save film makers who s movies suck from bad reviews at a festival.
    A festival which has been turned into a circus by a mere few clowns.

  13. Of course this libel remained:

    TheTrustworthy

    01 Sep 09, 6:20pm (44 minutes ago)

    Ain’t this waste to talk with Israeli supporters here after all these guys will be paid by their bloody government, whereas we speak in sympathy for suffering of Palestinians these guys make money to defend murderers.

    My response:

    Please provide proof as until then your post will remain proof of your antisemitism

    was deleted…of course……

  14. Loach must be very jealous of the many well-known Israeli film directors.
    I can think of even minor Israeli films which are miles better than any of his own films.

    By the way, I’ve recently been pre-moderated on CiF for the first time. Thanks to CiF Watch, it’s business as usual where Comment really is Free.

    Keep up the good work.

  15. Again I challenged a post and was deleted for it:

    The post:

    jonniestewpot

    01 Sep 09, 6:22pm (about 2 hours ago)

    pretzelberg 01 Sep 09, 1:11pm

    Sorry, Ken, but that really is desperate stuff.

    This is not the 1970s, and Israel is not South Africa.

    No Not South Africa but it has the unenviable reputation of even greater brutality than that regime”

    Mine which was deleted:

    Can you provide evidence dear Bigotria?

    The nasty post stayed of course and my challenge of simply asking for evidence that Israel is WORSE than Apartheid SA was deleted.

    A typical day on Cif. Proving once more the purpose of CifWatch.

    They don’t have moderators but propagandists who incidentally are paid for their work unlike the anti-bigots who are simply accused of enriching themselves by defending Israel.

    …Lovely….

  16. “Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien and Paul Laverty”

    Who are they and why should anyone listen to them? I have never heard about this troika. Are they trying to jump start their stalled or nonexistent careers in the movie industry? Let’s see their Oscars or other top notch awards.

  17. Ken Roach seems to have forgotten that boycotts can work both ways.

    It wouldn’t take much to convince the millions on the pro-Israeli American centre-right to boycott his film(s).

  18. Mita
    Of course the ”forcible transfers” prohibition applies the other way. No matter the demands or from whom: Israel has no right to make a forcible transfer of its citizens out of the territories.

    I had never noticed that before.
    ——————————————————————————

    Actually you have, it just didn’t register.
    I have frequently stated that the only possible application of the Geneva Convention would be ISRAELIS being forced out of Yesha.

  19. exiledlondoner
    Mita,

    Two points.

    1) Do you think that Louise faithfully represented article 49 of the 4th GC, or did she deliberately misrepresent it to suit her agenda?

    2) Under the GC, Israel is responsible for its own population – as Israel plans, approves, subsidises, provides services for, builds roads for, provides IDF protection for, and offers incentives for people to move into, settlements, your suggestion that Israel is somehow a passive player is ridiculous.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Israel providing infrastructure and offering inducements for people to build and move to cities, towns and kibbutzim in no way can be called “deporting or transferring its own population”.

    It is a gross perversion of the GC which was addressing the Germans collecting Jews from various parts of Europe that it occupied and sent them to their deaths in concentration camps built in other occupied countries.

  20. Who is Ken Loach anyway?

    I looked him up and found I’ve never seen any of his movies, which seem to have passed me by without a trace

    “Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it’s virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context.”

    Oh.

    I see.

    It was another Brit who wrote: “Much ado about Nothing”.

  21. On the Loach thread, that CiF poster spectreovereurope is saying

    “Interesting and ironic how the mob at CiFwatch reserve their bitterest hatred for Jews (Seth Freedman, Anthony Lerman, Dan Rickman, Neve Gordon and others)-anyone looking for real “Jew hatred” can find it in buckets on their site.”

    I am sorry to say it here, but I do fear there’s an element of truth in that.

  22. Louise,

    “Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers ….are prohibited, regardless of their motive. – – No Israeli is ‘forced’ to move.”

    “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory………”

    What part of “protected persons” don’t you understand? Maybe you should look it up…..

    “As Mita says, the Israeli government has not ‘deported or transferred’ anyone.”

    It has transferred about half a million, according to the US Government (and everyone else apart from Israel).

    “I think your faux-rigourousness in analysing texts is just that – a pretence that you are the only one who can read texts and then – lo and behold! – you reach an anti-Israel conclusion.”

    The text wasn’t written with Israel in mind – it was written in the light of Nazi Germany’s opening up of occupied lands for German settlement – mainly in Poland and Czechoslovakia. This policy involved the forcible removal of the local, non-German population, and the transfer of German settlers to the areas. They weren’t forced to settle – they were offered inducements, subsidised housing, services and protection. They were, in the parlance of such things, “transferred”.

    “Well you have met your match on this site, mon ami.”

    I’m always impressed by declarations of victory – they help those who didn’t notice it.

    “And unlike CIF, the posts of those who correct you won’t get vapourised…..”

    Splendid! I’m not a fan of vapourised posts – the people who wrote them can’t deny them later…

  23. Mita,

    “This was written in 1948 when the present situations did not exist and you are putting your own spin on it introducing elements that did not exist and do not exist.”

    You think the GC was written to prevent historic events?

    “I am no arbitrator between you and Louise:nor have I time to read the passage.”

    No time to read it, but plenty of time to tell us what it means?

    “Of course the ”forcible transfers” prohibition applies the other way. No matter the demands or from whom: Israel has no right to make a forcible transfer of its citizens out of the territories.”

    Another one who doesn’t understand the phrase “protected persons” – like Louise, you seem to pride yourself on your ignorance.

    “I had never noticed that before.”

    Well no – you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t read it.

  24. Ariadne,

    “exiledlondoner – There is no occupation.”

    Congratulations! At least someone knows the official Israeli line.

    Israel gave up years ago argueing about the meaning of the 4th GC – at least they realise that that’s a waste of time. The official line is that there’s no occupation, therefore the 4th GC doesn’t apply.

    In 40 years they’ve successfully persuaded exactly zero other countries to adopt this line, so the other 200 or so shouldn’t be to long joining them.

  25. Well they raided the thread, actually it went from 6 pages to 5.

    And of course they deleted my post challenging a post which they left to remain. They deleted all my posts actually. Since a few weeks, they usually delete over 80% of my posts. Looks like I have some fans in the mod room.

    And what could that look like?

    I wonder. A certain South Park Episode comes to mind, the one about Warcraft.

    “mom…..bathroom….”…..Yes my pumpkin…comin up…….

    ” jonniestewpot

    01 Sep 09, 6:22pm (about 14 hours ago)

    pretzelberg 01 Sep 09, 1:11pm

    Sorry, Ken, but that really is desperate stuff.

    This is not the 1970s, and Israel is not South Africa.

    No Not South Africa but it has the unenviable reputation of even greater brutality than that regime.

    So I guess challenging the statement that Israel is greater in brutality than SA was, is against policy.

    The SA analogy is now sacrosanct. Not only it is supported but protected like a protected species.

  26. exiledlondoner

    It happens to be true. If not you can tell us which High Contracting Party owns The Territories.

  27. Exiled Londoner:

    ————————————————
    You think the GC was written to prevent historic events?
    ——————————————————-
    No, I think it was written in the light of events then current .

  28. Ariadne,

    “It happens to be true. If not you can tell us which High Contracting Party owns The Territories.”

    You might as well say “It happens to be true. If not you can tell us what you had for dinner last night”

    The territories are occupied because the UN Security Council says they are, and because all nations on earth apart from Israel regard them as such.

    If Israel wants to put forward a resolution to the UNSC to change the legal status laid out in UNSC242 and UNSC338, then they are free to do so – but they might not get a single vote of support, even from the US.

    The arrogance in the claim that everyone has got it wrong, from the UN to the CIA Factbook, is breathtaking. If Israel thinks they are wrong, there are a number of ways that it can put its case – for some reason they prefer to put their case to gullible internet users instead.

    Mita,

    “No, I think it was written in the light of events then current .”

    Maybe with the intention of preventing any repitition?

  29. exiledlondoner

    [
    “It happens to be true. If not you can tell us which High Contracting Party owns The Territories.”

    You might as well say “It happens to be true. If not you can tell us what you had for dinner last night”

    The territories are occupied because the UN Security Council says they are]

    Not good enough.

    [
    the legal status laid out in UNSC242
    ]

    Irrelevant to the lies concerning “occupation”.

    [
    If Israel thinks they are wrong, there are a number of ways that it can put its case – for some reason they prefer to put their case to gullible internet users instead.
    ]

    You had better list the “gullible internet users” of 1999 which is when all the Geneva Convention nonsense started.

  30. exiledlondoner

    (You had better list the “gullible internet users” of 1999 which is when all the Geneva Convention nonsense started.)

    In additon to naming the High Contracting Party that owns The Territories.

  31. Ariadne,

    The UN has deemed the territories to be “occupied”, just as the UN’s predeccessor approved the creation of a Jewish home in Palestine.

    Neither of these acts had a legal precedent, but all were enacted, and Israel, as a signatory of both the UN charter, and of the Geneva Convention, is bound by them.

    As for 1999 – what are you blathering about? The 4th GC was written in 1948, the occupation has been running since 1967, and the illegal settlements have been there since soon after.

  32. Ariadne,

    “You haven’t done your homework, exiledlondoner. You’re waffling.”

    Maybe you could point out what I’ve written that is incorrect (as opposed to what you prefer to ignore)?

    But then, you would have done so already if you could….

  33. You know what is said about the word “assume”…

    You still haven’t listed any “gullible internet users” of 1999, nor have you named the High Contracting Party that owns The Territories.