Unlike the spineless and amoral organisers of the Edinburgh Film Festival, the people who run the Melbourne Film Festival stood up to Ken Loach’s attempt to use his film ‘Looking for Eric’ as a lever to get them to cancel Israeli sponsorship. Last week Richard Moore, the Melbourne organiser, had an article in The Guardian about the affair.
Today Loach and his associates responded.
Let’s look at their arguments:
“Over the last 60 years Israel, backed by the United States, has shown contempt for hundreds of UN resolutions, the Geneva convention and international law. It has demonstrated itself to be a violent and ruthless state, as was clearly shown by the recent massacres in Gaza, and was even prepared to further challenge international law by its use of phosphorous weapons.”
Wrong. Israel has not ‘shown contempt for’ a single Security Council Resolution. Neither has it ‘shown contempt for’ the Geneva Convention. Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the voluntary movement of Israelis who wish to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, since this does not constitute a deportation or transfer within the meaning of that article, which mentions the word ‘forcible’ (”…individual or mass forcible transfers….”). No Israeli has been ‘forced’ to move to the West Bank. And the use of phosphorous weapons is not illegal, in specified circumstances. The UK and the US have phosphorous weapons. There is no evidence that Israel broke the rules on using phosphorous weapons.
“Violent and ruthless?” By allowing thousands of Kassams to be fired into Israel for eight years without retaliation? By ensuring that 75% of the casualties in Cast Lead were males over the age of 16 (so more likely to be combatants), versus just 25% of the Gaza population in that category? By calling Gazans on their mobiles before the attack to give them warning?
We’d advise you to stick to your day job, Ken…..
“Israel continues to flout world-wide public opinion; the clearest example of its intransigence is its determination to continue to build the wall through Palestinian territories despite the 2004 decision of the international court.”
Wrong again. The International Court of Justice has no legal standing. It is the judicial body of the United Nations whose General Assembly is dominated by countries hostile to Israel. (Israel of course has no representation on the ICJ). Its opinions are advisory only.
“At a recent BDS event in the West Bank town of Ramallah Naomi Klein argued that those who claim there is no exact equivalency between Israel and South Africa should think again.”
Naomi Klein? That well known authority on the Middle East?
For the refutation that “Israel is an Apartheid State”, see this article on Ben White’s recent book and this quotation:
Israel has proved that for fifty years its real power is in its democracy, guarding the rights of its citizens, applying laws [equally] to the rich and poor, the big and small.
– Dr. Talal Al-Shareef, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, May 27, 1999
Israel is always among the first countries to send a rescue team to any natural disaster anywhere in the world, be it the Asian Tsunami or the recent typhoon in Taiwan.
How telling that Loach – the great humanitarian – is prepared to ignore these fine achievements of Israel. And how telling – as poster ‘Monnie’ points out on today’s CIF thread – that he is prepared to take the money paid by Israeli audiences for his films.
Hypocrisy, thy middle name is Loach………