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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Loach

Ken Loach and anti-Semitism: Row Grows over Honorary Doctorate from Université Libre de Bruxelles .

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Ken Loach speaking for Labour Against the Witch-hunt (30.1.18) Greenstein (far-left) now says, Labour “anti-Semitism claims were ‘manufactured’ by CIA spies and Israel” (Mirror.  25.4.18)

The controversy over the award today of an honorary doctorate by the Université Libre de Bruxelles  to Ken Loach today by the was the top story on the Francophone public radio La Première this morning. The University’s rector, Yvon Englert. defended the decision. The distinction was the work of the cinéaste which has brought to light his personality. It was not for his politics.

He nevertheless affirmed that there was no question of Loach being tainted by Holocaust denial or anti-semitism.

Going further into the issues involved, which touch above all on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and disputes within the Labour Party, the University Head stated that it was not their position to  “entrer sur ce terrain politique.”  That was Loach’s affair, his alone, although Englert noted, that his own family had been touched by the Shoa and that the university did share all of the director’s views on the Palestine-Israel issue.

(You can watch this: Ken Loach Docteur Honoris Causa: malgré la polémique, l’ULB maintient sa décision).

These are fair comments and the award is certainly justified.

But Loach has done his cause no favour with his support for abusive cranks like Greenstein who is notorious for his rants against ‘Zios’.

The Guardian reports,

Belgium’s prime minister has criticised one of the country’s leading universities over its plan to honour the film director Ken Loach, following complaints that it has overlooked alleged antisemitism.

In a speech at Brussels Grand Synagogue to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s foundation, Charles Michel said on Wednesday night that Loach’s comments about Israel and its policy towards Palestinians justified the withdrawal of the honour.

….

“Michel’s statement may be read as a rejection of the honorary doctorate,” the prime minister’s office told the Belgian news site De Standaard on Wednesday night. “The prime minister has studied the file and believes that [Loach] has recently made controversial statements that justify the withdrawal of that honorary doctorate.

“Obviously, the prime minister does not have to deal with academic freedom, the university does not need the permission of the prime minister in any way, but he does give his opinion. At the moment it does not seem appropriate to him to honor such a person.”

It was not clear what remarks by Loach the prime minister was referring to, although the director has strongly defended the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, against accusations of allowing antisemitism to continue in the party. Loach said this month said that Labour MPs who joined a protest against antisemitism should be kicked out.

 

Petition against the honour for Loach:

“Ken Loach ne doit pas être honoré par l’ULB”

A rival open letter has accused those opposing Loach of mounting a Witch-Trial.

Quelle “face hideuse de Ken Loach”? C’est un procès en sorcellerie! (OPINION)

(La Libre Belgique)

The public letter tries to defend Perdition, and his ” confusion et maladresse ” around a statemement to the BBC on the Holocaust. The authors state that the real reason that their is a campaign against awarding the honorary dotatorate lies in Loach’s defence of the Palestinian cause and his support for Jeremy Corbyn.

Belgian Jews slam decision of Brussels university to honour Ken Loach

The umbrella organisation of Belgian Jews has sharply criticised the French-speaking Free University of Brussels (ULB) for its decision to honour British filmmaker and far-left activist Ken Loach.

In a statement, the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish organisations (CCOJB) – the country’s EJC affiliate – “took note of the decision of the Free University of Brussels to honour Ken Loach despite repeated calls for reason.”

CCOJB President Yohan Benizri said: “The honour of Ken Loach in the present circumstances is at best an inexcusable mistake of the Free University of Brussels, at worst a moral mistake.”

“We have questioned and increased contacts with the ULB and his rector, Mr Yvon Englert, to explain that the major challenge for our collective was to combat the falsification of the history of the Holocaust as a basis for political activism,” the statement went on. “We warned the university against the risk of ridicule and dishonour by not listening to the voice of a large part of civil society.”

The CCOJB noted that the ULB “seems to be satisfied with a communication from Ken Loach in which he claims not to be antisemitic or a Holocaust denier.

“The CCOJB protest against this charade,” the statement said. “What were we expecting? That is completely out of the question and that does not take the conviction of those who judge acts rather than words. The ULB acts as if it were merely clarifying a misunderstanding, as if all this was only the result of a lack of awareness of Ken Loach’s positions in Belgium. Nothing is less true.”

“In fact, the ULB has received a letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD), who have been occupied daily in the last few days, with the problem denounced in our complaint. They know Mr. Loach very well and make the same statement as us in a letter to the Rector.”

To quote the BoD letter: “Given the complex situation in the United Kingdom concerning the rise of antisemitism in the Labour Party, honouring Mr Loach would be unreasonable, detrimental and frankly shameful.”

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 26, 2018 at 11:45 am

Ken Loach Calls for Purge of Labour Party “Enough is Enough” Protestors.

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Ken Loach: Wrong Kind of Witches.

Kick them out’: Ken Loach demands removal of Labour MPs who attended rally against antisemitism

Ken Loach accuses MPs who marched against antisemitism within Labour of ‘dirty tricks’

Film-maker Ken Loach has demanded that the Labour MPs who demonstrated against antisemitism in Parliament Square be kicked out of the party.

Referring to the group of more than 30 MPs from Jeremy Corbyn’s party who joined the Enough is Enough protest organised by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, Mr Loach said: “These are the ones we need to kick out.”

In a speech delivered to 1,500 supporters near Bristol, the I Daniel Blake director said: “Unless we get Labour MPs who believe in that manifesto last year we won’t get in power.

“If they’ve been going to the demonstration against him outside Westminster… those are the ones we need to kick out.”

Loach has tried to wriggle out of these reports,

When contacted by the newspaper over his remarks at the meeting, Loach, who produced party broadcasts for the Labour Party during last year’s general election, said the quotes “do not reflect my position”.

He continued: “Reselecting an MP should not be based on individual incidents but reflect the MP’s principles, actions and behaviour over a long period. Being an MP is not a job for life.

Independent.

Loach spent years in Respect, supporting the unspeakable George Galloway.

He did not raise a public protest at these comments of leading Respect figure and election candidate Yvonne Ridley,

Ridley said: “[Respect] is a Zionist-free party… if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists.” She explained that government support “goes towards that disgusting little watchdog of America that is festering in the Middle East”.

She went on to attack the Tories and Lib Dems, saying that all the mainstream parties are “riddled with Zionists”. I found it hard to comprehend how the notion that “[Respect] encompasses a broad church of ideas and opinions” could be compatible with the hunting down of supporters of an Israeli state.

Or,

Addressing a Viva Palestina meeting, 2009:  “The Zionists have tentacles everywhere. We’ve seen with the disgraceful behaviour from the BBC that this interference goes right to the very top of the media, into the very heart of our homes.”

Further back in his dodgy record on the issue of anti-semitism there was his production of Perdition (The “Perdition” affair.)

Loach is now a supporter of the fringe ‘anti-Zionist’ band of Stop the Labour Witch-hunt (somewhat out of kilter with his call for a witch-hunt against people he dislikes).

His views get no respect from me.

Nor apparently from some people in Belgium as he is about to be honoured for his (overrated) films.

(Conspiracy Watch)

 Pas en leur nom » : la mise à l’honneur de Ken Loach fait polémique en Belgique.

Following the announcement that the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) intends to honour Loach on the 26th of April with a  docteur honoris causa a  “Collectif Ken Loach docteur honoris causa – not in our name”   has called for this to not take place.

In a detailed indictment, the Collective opposes awarding this distinction on three grounds.

That Loach is guilty of trying to

  • rewrite the history of the Holocaust, presenting in particular  “the Kasztner affair”  emblematic of an alleged “Zionist collaboration” with the Nazis in order to facilitate the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine;
  • of Holocaust denial, stating in an interview with the BBC that  “the Holocaust is a historical fact that deserves to be debated”  (Ken Loach later returned to this statement following the media storm provoked by his words held at the end of September 2017 );
  • relativise  the problem of anti-Semitism inside the Labour Party by denying, against all the evidence, the cases that have arisen over  the last months.

Some reasonable reactions have followed Loach’s call for a purge.

Ken Loach Wins Palm D’Or with I, Daniel Blake.

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Palme D’or Triumph for the Daniel Blakes of the Whole World. 

Some good news, at last.

Ken Loach has won the Palme d’or at Cannes for I, Daniel Blake.

“Daniel Blake is a 59-year-old joiner in the North-East of England who falls ill and requires state assistance for disability from the Employment and Support Allowance. While he endeavours to overcome the red tape involved in getting this assistance, he meets single mother Katie who, in order to escape a homeless persons’ hostel, must take up residence in a flat 300 miles (480 km) away.”

France 24 reports,

The 79-year-old Briton attacked the “dangerous project of austerity” as he accepted the festival’s top prize from actor Mel Gibson and Mad Max creator George Miller, who headed this year’s jury. “The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that have brought us to near catastrophe,” Loach said, adding: “We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.”

And, he continued, “Necessary”.

Le Monde’s review noted that ‘welfare reform’ forms the heart of the film. That in the UK there is a veritable ‘crusade’ against the disabled, to root out those feigning illness (“la chasse aux tire-au-flanc a pris les allures d’une croisade) in a “néo-victorienne” Britain.

Moi, Daniel Blake n’est pas une satire d’un système absurde. Ken Loach n’est pas un humoriste, c’est un homme en colère, et le parcours de l’ouvrier privé de travail et de ressources est filmé avec une rage d’autant plus impatiente qu’elle est impuissante.

I, Daniel Blake, is not a satire about an absurd system. Ken Loach is not a humourist, he’s full of anger, and the progress a worker without a job, and without assets, is filmed with an indignation that is as exasperated  as it is impotent.

This Blog is not an uncritical admirer of Ken Loach. He is against austerity and for social rights, the cause of the left.  But his more specific politics, which include a lengthy membership of Respect and support for the cultural Boycott of Israel, as well as no known activity against Islamist genociders, or support for the Kurdish people in their fight for dear life against ISIS,  are not always the same as ours.

Nor are all of Loach’s films, for all of their skill and intensity, always as deep as they set out to be.

Of the most recent The Angels’ Share (2012) is amusing but slight tale of Scottish scamps. It is not free, for all its would-be irony, of whatever the Caledonian equivalent of Oirishness is,. The Spirit of ’45 (2013) may seem a strangely uncritical account of the post-war Labour government. Jimmy’s Hall  is a fine story set in the Irish Free state. But it is straining things for this emssage to pass, ” The behaviour of the state’s police is shown and explained to be occurring at a time when Stalin was in full control of the Soviet Union and it is obvious that the state and church are fearful of forces that threaten to destroy them. It is this tension between the ideals of Christianity and the fear of the church and its natural tendency to be reactionary that is the central issue that the film explores.”

It can still be argued that the trio have strong narrative coherence, and, in the case of Jimmy’s Hall, insights into the history of republicans, and the left, in the Irish Free State, and the characters swept up in the struggle for independence, the civil war,  and their fate in in the aftermath, as well as cinematique beauty.

Loach will, nevertheless, be remembered for Poor Cow, Kes, Land and Freedom, and smaller, less technically polished, but robust films such as Raining Stones, Riff Raff and the Navigators, which demonstrate that ‘social realism’ is not always worthy but unwatchable didacticism, and Bread and Roses, which shows politically engaged drama at its best.

That said by tackling head-on the effects of the ‘reform’ of the British Welfare state I, Daniel Blake, hits at a sensitive nerve, and, frankly, righteous indignation is an emotion that’s widely shared about this. Its tale of people pushed from pillar to post,  has been compared to Loach’s exposee of homelessness in the 1966 television play Cathy Come Home ,

The Minister in charge of the system of oppression bearing down on Daniel Blake, Iain Duncan Smith, is now a leading Brexit campaigner.

Appropriately Loach stands on the other side of the European Referendum debate,  the solution is ultimately voting to stay. “we need to “make alliances with other European left movements”.

The film is a worthy successor to last year’s winner, the riveting, Dheepan,directed by Jacques Audiard.

Sivadhasan is a Tamil Tiger soldier during the last days of the Sri Lankan Civil War. After the armed conflict resolves, his side loses and he is forced to move to a refugee camp. There he decides to move to France to take a fresh chance at life. However, in order to secure political asylum, he requires a convincing cover story. He is given the passport of a dead man, Dheepan, and pairs with people he barely knows posing as his family. Along with his supposed wife, Yalini and his supposed 9-year-old daughter, Illayaal, they get on a ship bound for Paris. Upon arrival, he lands a job as a resident caretaker and starts building a new life in a housing project in Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, a northeastern suburb of Paris, which turns out to be another conflict zone for him.

I saw Dheepan only a few weeks ago.

One hopes that Loach’s picture will not take so long to get to our screens.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 23, 2016 at 11:10 am