Statement from Artists for Palestine UK
London, July 15
As UK band Radiohead prepares to perform in Israel on July 19 in direct breach of the Palestinian boycott, leading boycott supporter Ken Loach has faced defamatory attacks on his integrity.
Loach is committed to supporting Palestinian rights
Loach is one of over 1,220 signatories to the Artists’ Pledge for Palestine who have made the following commitment:
‘… In response to the call from Palestinian artists and cultural workers for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.’
Because Artists for Palestine UK (APUK) has always understood the complex problems that artists from all disciplines face around rights ownership once an artwork enters the market, we have been explicit about which practical steps can be expected of artists who support the Palestinian call for boycott, and which cannot. The guidelines, which have been on the Artists for Palestine UK website since we launched in February 2015, include the following question and answer:
‘Q. I am an artist and I do not have control over who buys the art I produce, nor the circulation of that work once it has been sold. Am I in a position to sign the Pledge?
Yes, you are. The pledge does not insist that an artist’s work never gets to Israel. You might consider taking the step of making your work unavailable in Israel, if you are able to do that. But no individual can control the circulation of cultural ‘products’ in a global market.
For example, director Ken Loach supports the boycott, yet his films show in Israel because he does not control their distribution. However he will not accept invitations to present his work in Israel under the current political regime.
Playwright Caryl Churchill does not make her work available in Israel, however she made her play Seven Jewish Children freely available for a group of activists, in the context of a political street performance in Israel.’
Radiohead talk about human rights
Radiohead talk about human rights, while cooperating with Israel’s project of whitewashing oppression through glitzy cultural spectacles. Ken Loach, defending the rights of Palestinians, abides by the Palestinian call to refuse professional invitations to appear in Israel. Loach is a film director, not a sales agent. Most directors do not control the rights to the films they make. Loach will give to Palestinian organisations any royalties that accrue from the showing in Israel of I, Daniel Blake. It should be clear to most reasonable people where the hypocrisy lies.
Nobody – no Palestinian group, none of the 47 leading artists who signed the Open Letter to Radiohead – has asked the band to prevent Israelis from buying their music. Radiohead have been asked to cancel their appearance in Tel Aviv, at a stadium built on the ruins of a Palestinian village.
Ken Loach has no case to answer. The Palestinians are still waiting to hear from Radiohead.
Artists for Palestine UK
***UPDATE: Statement from Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien 18.07.2017