Ken Loach has nothing to apologise for

Statement from Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien 18.07.2017
Award-Winning Filmmaker Ken Loach Donates Film Screening Proceeds to BDS Movement 05.10.2017


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


5 thoughts on “Ken Loach has nothing to apologise for

  1. Zoe says:

    I find it typically Orientalist & Colonialist that in the Rolling Stone interview Thom Yorke cited JK Rowling (?!) & Noam Chomsky (? friend of the late Edward Said… so disappointing if true…) as being against BDS & focused on trying to sway us to have sympathy for how bad the band must feel because Jonny has an “Arab” Jewish Israeli wife & “Palestinian friends”. (Funny that he only stated that Jonny has Palestinian friends & not himself! Apparently we haven’t far to search for the reason…).

    Firstly this is so Eurocentric & Orientalist & neo-Colonialist it is laughable. Can somebody else please explain to Mr.Yorke that the suffering & continued genocide of the indigenous Palestinian people (who dna etc. has proven ARE indigenous along w/ their/our cousins the Oriental Mizrahi/Syrian Jews) is a bit more important than the *feelings* of his band members & their family members.

    Regarding the other (two) wealthy people of European heritage that he mentioned are against BDS; I believe the fact that numerous Palestinian organisations & groups & individuals THEMSELVES have requested that people all over the world adhere to BDS principles; is more IMPORTANT than the opinions of the people he referred to who are NOT PALESTINIAN.

    This is dyed in the wool Orientalism & Colonialism. The white public school boy growing up & applying his centuries long oppressive world view onto the less sophisticated natives who he believes do not know what is good for THEMSELVES. It’s astonishing in this day & age. We are frankly sick & tired of it. This Orientalist Colonialist mindset of infantalising (when not busy demonising) Palestinians & other Arabic speaking people.


  2. Double Standards says:

    This is absolute nonsense.
    Independent film is licensed to individual territories, peacemeal. Any rights holder reserves the right to not do a deal with any territory they so wish. To avoid any party sub licensing the content to the ‘banned territory’ simply ensure all licenses issued stipulate this would be a breach of contract.

    It’s not that hard.


    • Artists for Palestine says:

      The guidance for our boycott comes from the people who called it, the Palestinians. The artists boycott is this:
      “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.”

      As to your argument, which is tangental to our statement above, the great majority of film directors are NOT ‘rights holders’, the majority of directors do NOT make films that are entirely independent, nor television programs, therefore the Artists Pledge for Palestine (above) is worded the way it is. Ownership issues extend to the other art forms too hence the importance of flexibility.


  3. Double Standards says:

    My comment is relevant to this thread, and the distribution of Ken Loach films in Israel, not the boycot or any other artists and their work.

    Ken loach, his producers and his financiers have complete control of their content. And it appears they sell it to Israeli distributors and have done so for some time.


    • Artists for Palestine says:

      Israeli distributors are entitled to buy films directed by Ken Loach from the sales agent. Radiohead are entitled to sell their music in Israel.

      The demands of Palestinian boycott are clearly worded above.


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