British director Ken Loach backs Palestinian call for boycott

British director Ken Loach has expressed support for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions and is urging others to do the same, giving the Palestinian initiators a significant boost.

Loach won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival three months ago for his film about the Irish war of independence, “The Wind that Shakes the Barley.”

“Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after 40 years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians,” said Loach in a statement.

“They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end. As British citizens we have to acknowledge our own responsibility. We must condemn the British and U.S. governments for supporting and arming Israel.”

Loach, who has directed acclaimed films including “Kes,” “Riff-Raff” and “Carla’s Song,” also attacked his own government.

“We must also oppose the terrorist activities of the British and U.S. governments in pursuing their illegal wars and occupations,” he said.

“It is impossible to ignore the appeals of Palestinian comrades,” he concluded, adding, “I would decline any invitation to the Haifa Film Festival or other such occasions.”

Loach had received an invitation from the Haifa Film Festival in recent weeks.

Over the past few weeks, international film festivals have uninvited Israeli filmmakers in the wake of the recent Israel Defense Forces activity in Lebanon and Gaza.

The Lussas Documentary Film Festival in France was scheduled to feature Israeli documentary cinema this year, but canceled screenings of several of the films following the outbreak of the fighting.

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