Guardian piece on Ken Loach’s expulsion from Labour omits his antisemitism

A Guardian article on the Labour Party’s expulsion of British filmmaker Ken Loach distorted the reason why he was expelled and omitted his record of antisemitism.

Here are the opening paragraphs of the article by Mattha Busby (“Director Ken Loach says he has been expelled from Labour”, Aug. 14), which is as close as the piece comes to providing an explanation:

The veteran leftwing film-maker Ken Loach has said he has been expelled from the Labour party.

Loach, whose films are regarded as landmarks of social realism, claimed the move by the party was because he would “not disown those already expelled”, and he hit out at an alleged “witch-hunt”.

It follows reports last month that the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, was preparing to support a purge of factions vocally supportive of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

It’s ironic that that Loach himself, in calling out the “witch-hunt” against him, alludes to the reason he was reportedly expelled, a fact which the Guardian journalist completely ignores: his association with a group called Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW).  LAW is one of the pro-Corbyn groups alleging that claims of anti-Jewish racism under his leadership were fake, and that the entire antisemitism row was a “witch hunt” to bring down Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

Last month, allies of Labour leader Kier Starmer on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) proscribed LAW and other such groups, a decision likely made to address the conclusions of the damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year.  The report found, as one component of antisemitic behavior within Labour, that some members, such as former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, accused Jews who complained of antisemitism of engaging in baseless smears – part of a campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to stigmatise critics of Israel as antisemitic.

As CST has documented, in addition to denying charges of antisemitism within Labour, LAW’s own events have included antisemitic rhetoric.  One of the panelists at a Zoom event they held last year – which included Tariq Ali, Tony Greenstein, Chris Williamson and Norman Finkelstein – actually praised Holocaust denier David Irving.  Williamson, a former MP expelled from Labour, even attacked CAMERA at the event, along with other Jewish groups and media outlets, accusing us of working to “terrify editors, to terrify academics to, to frighten activists… even judges and lawyers”.

Also at the LAW event, Bristol University Professor David Miller alleged that “the Zionist movement and the Israeli govt are the enemy of the left, the enemy of world peace and they must be directly targeted”.

Tellingly, unlike the Guardian, The Times report on Loach’s expulsion was clear about the reason in the opening sentence of their article:

Labour has thrown out the film-maker Ken Loach over his support for groups that denied the existence of antisemitism in the party.

The Guardian also failed to inform readers of Loach’s history of antisemitism.

In 1987 Loach directed Perdition, a play that was widely viewed as antisemitic and ultimately cancelled by the Royal Court Theatre. The CST’s Dave Rich wrote the following, summarising the play:

“[It] argues that there was a deliberate and knowing strategy by the Zionist movement to sacrifice European Jews in return for getting a state of Israel. Morally, in this argument, the people who created the state of Israel were no better than the Nazis and actually collaborated in the Nazis crimes and therefore Israel has no legitimacy.”

In 2009, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency reported an increase in European antisemitism. Loach said that the rise in antisemitism was “understandable” given Israel’s actions, and called the report a “red herring” designed to “distract attention” from Israel.

In 2018, when asked about a Labour fringe event where one speaker denied the Holocaust, Loach answered  “I think history is for us all to discuss, wouldn’t you?”  (After fierce criticism, he later ‘acknowledged’ that the Holocaust was real.)

The reporter’s obfuscation of the reason why Loach was expelled from Labour, and their whitewash of the film-maker’s racism, is yet another example of the lengths the Guardian will go to distort or obfuscate facts which demonstrate antisemitism by those who share the media group’s ideology.

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  1. says: Neil C

    The Grauniad refuses to accept that there is any such thing as antisemitism, simply because it is an antisemitic organisation itself, hence would not wish to admit it’s own miserable failings.

  2. says: Malone Cooper

    So Loach claims that an increase in antisemitism is understandable considering Israel’s actions. My question to him is : did Christianity suffer as a result of Nazism ? Did Islam suffer after 9/11 ? Certainly not a whole lot. In fact, antisemitism has been the # 1 religious hate crime in the US for many years. The Taliban has recently taken over Afghanistan. Does Loach fear a barrage of hate crimes against fundamentalist Muslims ? Odds are he’d blame Jews or Israel for it. Antisemitism is unique among hatreds. That is something that Ken Loach, in his hatred, will never be able to comprehend.

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