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Magda Hassan
05-31-2009, 04:17 AM
Filmmaker, Ken Loach, recently lent his support to a campaign which
succeeded in 'persuading' the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) to
return sponsorship money from the Israeli embassy in London.

He called the EIFF personally and when they refused at that point to
rescind their decision to accept the money, he issued a statement calling for a
boycott of this year's festival, which runs from 17-23 June.

Ken's statement was issued in conjunction with a letter writing campaign
organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) to the EIFF
with the intention of picketing the festival if the money was accepted.

The sponsorship money, it should be noted, was intended the fund the travel
expenses of an Israeli filmmaker, who has a film entered in the festival.
However, contrary to statements made by both the filmmaker concerned and
others in response to the campaign, at no time did either Ken Loach or the
SPSC call for the Israeli delegate to be prevented from attending the
festival or for her film to be removed.

Rather predictably, there has been an outcry by pro-Israel supporters at
the decision of the EIFF to return the money and more specifically at Ken
Loach's involvement in the boycott campaign. In today's Independent, a well
regarded UK daily newspaper, an entire page has been devoted to an attack on
Ken Loach and the boycott of Israeli govt sponsorship of the festival by
Gary Sinyor, a filmmaker best known for directing the comedy, Leon the Pig
Farmer, which premiered at the EIFF back in 1992.

The article is nothing more than an apologia for Israel as victim, and
completely misrepresents Ken's position and the entire international BDS
campaign, which as I'm sure everyone on here already knows, was called for by
the Palestinians themselves.

The link to the article in The Independent is here:
_http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/how-dare-you-ken-1693173.html_
(http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/how-dare-you-ken-
1693173.html)

You can write into The Independent in support of Ken's position here:
_letters@independent.co.uk_ (mailto:letters@independent.co.uk (letters@independent.co.uk))

And, finally, a message of support direct to Ken can be sent to his PA at:
_ann@sixteenfilms.co.uk_ (mailto:ann@sixteenfilms.co.uk (ann@sixteenfilms.co.uk))

I was the one who originally contacted Ken for help with the campaign and
therefore I do feel responsible for ensuring that any heat he now takes as
a consequence he doesn't take alone.

In solidarity,

John Wight
Edinburgh