June 01, 2009

Trying to shake Ken Loach

There's a letter in today's Independent condemning the sheer disingenuousness of Ken Loach's detractors, one in particular, over the demand that the Edinburgh Film Festival should return money (only £300) it got from the State of Israel:
Gary Synor's article lambasting Ken Loach (Opinion, 31 May) for his participation in the campaign to persuade the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return sponsorship money from the Israeli government is a grotesque misrepresentation of the facts, and a shameful negation of the plight of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel.

Perhaps Mr Synor may choose to ignore the plight of 4.5 million people who have the misfortune to be deemed inferior by a state he describes as a "modern democracy" but, thankfully, the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the STUC, and increasing millions of others do not, evidenced in the growing support for an international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against what many regard as an apartheid state.

As for Mr Synor's assertion that "Hamas is more of a direct threat to Israelis that Saddam ever was to the UK", are we expected to believe that the three-week assault on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military in January, which killed 400 women and children, utilising white phosphorus shells against civilians, UN compounds and schools – an assault the UN and the Red Cross described as a war crime – was justified by the refusal of Hamas to recognise the state responsible for the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, the expropriation of 78 per cent of their land, the building and expansion of illegal settlements on the land occupied since 1967, and the imprisonment of 1.5 million humans for daring to exercise their democratic right to vote for a government of their choice?

Mr Synor joins the ranks of those who through history have tried to justify the suffering and slaughter of subject peoples in the name of democracy and human progress.

John Wight


As it happens, the article was a lot worse than suggested in this letter. See it here.


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