Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Loach

Ken Loach in new row over Anti-Semitism.

with 10 comments

Image

 

There are mixed reactions to the controversy over inviting Ken Loach to speak at a Zoom event hosted by St Peter’s College Oxford:

An Oxford college event with Ken Loach went ahead on Monday despite objections from the Board of Deputies and Jewish students over the filmmaker’s alleged antisemitism.

The event, live-streamed on YouTube yesterday, focused on the St Peter’s College alumnus’ filmmaking career.

Jewish Chronicle.

Outrage as Oxford college holds event with controversial filmmaker Ken Loach

Most people could not care less what an Oxford College does. But Jewish students who protested at this guest’s presence have every right to do so. Loach has a past, not just as a graduate of an exclusive Oxford college, but a political background. This includes his joint authorship of the play Perdition, a not too distant membership of George Galloways ‘anti-Zionist’ Respect Party (2004 – 2012)  and present, support for Labour Against the Witch-hunt, whose Vice Chair Tony Greenstein, is described by his local paper as a “notorious anti-Semite'(‘Notorious anti-Semite’ loses libel case).

But cancelling or no platforming Loach would  suggest that his films should be boycotted as well. No platforming was originally about street confrontations with violent far-right groups such as the 1970s National Front. The aim was to prevent them holding street marches to intimidate minorities. It was not about deciding on the virtue of this or that speaker. Loach has a high reputation as a film-maker for some, by no means all, cinema lovers, some of whom call many of his pictures in the last couple of decades ‘miserabilist’ and wooden, It is not a good idea to have the issue of protests against them introduced into criticism of the Loach cinematic oeuvre.

In the New Statesman. Steve Bush makes the point that it is one thing to defend the right to speak, and another to eulogise the speaker. This is a valuable distinction: very few people who defend Roman Polanski’s past behaviour. and against more recent accusations of violation. But the director’s 2019 film on the Dreyfuss Affair, J’Accuse has yet to be shown in many countries, including the US because of this.

 

Ken Loach’s defenders are making an old and familiar mistake

When someone is accused of bad behaviour, their friendship with you is irrelevant.

The actor and comedian John Bishop and the Labour MP Ian Lavery have both defended the film director Ken Loach, whose invitation to speak at St Peter’s College, Oxford, has been criticised by the university’s Jewish Society due to his history of controversial remarks. Among them were Loach’s declaration that the 30 Labour MPs who joined the 2018 “Enough is Enough” protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were “the ones we need to kick out”, and that claims of Labour anti-Semitism were “exaggerated or false”.

Freedom of speech is vitally important, particularly at a university, but a university campus or a university college are not only institutions of higher education: they are also the home of their students, and it was, therefore, in my view, a mistake for the master of St Peter’s College to invite Loach and treat him as an honoured guest. It is not the same as an invitation from a university film society.

….

Both men are using what I think of as the “Me Too Formulation”, which is frequently wheeled out by friends and supporters of people accused of sexual harassment: I’ve met so and so, and they are a great bloke, so they cannot have done what they are accused of. Shakespeare in Love is a brilliant film, so no one involved in it can possibly have done anything untoward. And so on.

Bush’s article does cover Perdition.

This gives a good idea of why people remember the play:

Sean Matgamna. 1987.

There are at least two issues involved in the ‘Perdition’ affair: artistic freedom and its limits; and whether or not ‘Perdition’ is anti-Jewish.

Allen and the director, Ken Loach, immediately raised an outcry against ‘censorship’, alleging that they were victims of a coordinated Zionist conspiracy. ‘Perdition’ was being crushed under the ‘Zionist juggernaut’, as Jim Allen put it when he told his side of the story to the Irish Times.

The article continues,

The play alleges that ‘Zionism’, with something like 5 million Jews already dead, needed the corpses of a million more Jews in Hungary to help it strengthen the moral case for setting up Israel after the war. Allen argues that Zionism shared the racist assumptions for Nazism from ‘its own’ side, and that that was the basis of a collaboration even to the extent of sacrificing the Jewish millions in Europe, Zionism was concerned only with sawing the notables and the rich.

Nothing of this seems to matter to the Canary.

The former Labour member Kerry-anne Mendoza writes,

The witch hunt has come for Ken Loach. They’ll have to come through us first.

For the crime of not playing with the witch hunt, Ken Loach has become a target. As a national treasure, his words matter. And so the need to delegitimise him as an effective critic of apartheid is real. Now he is accused of Holocaust denial. Did he deny the Holocaust? No. Did he advocate for denying the Holocaust? No. They’ve reached back to the 1980s to replay

…a battle-hardened left is unwilling to play this game again. A massive and organic campaign of support has sprung up. The trending #IStandWithKenLoach hashtag is full of desperate pleas for truth in argument. By all means, we can have robust political disagreements. But to debase yourself by constructing entirely false narratives on such a serious issue is beyond the pale.

Quick off the block: Chris Williamson’s Resist Movement.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted this.

None of these responses even begin the talk about why many people on the left, including the radical left, would be very very wary of defending Loach’s strain of ‘anti-Zionist’ politics.

 

Update:

Apparently some still do not have a clue.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2021 at 2:28 pm

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

with 15 comments

Image result for Labour against the witch-hunt ken loach

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.”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 26, 2018 at 11:45 am

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

with 5 comments

Image result for ken loach labour against the witch hunt meeting

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.