Pro-BDS director vows Israel film profits will go to Palestinians

Ken Loach says he will give "every penny" earned from screenings of his new film in Israel to Palestinian groups.

July 19, 2017 16:26
1 minute read.
ken loach

Director Ken Loach poses during a photocall for the film "I, Daniel Blake" in competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 13, 2016. (photo credit: JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER / REUTERS)

British film director Ken Loach, a fierce advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, said “every penny” earned from the screening in Israel of his latest film will go to Palestinian organizations.

In a letter to the editor of the London-based daily newspaper The Guardian, Loach,  as well as  producer Rebecca O’Brien and screenwriter Paul Laverty of the Sixteen Films production company, wrote that: “We fully support the aims of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as an expression of the grassroots call in Palestine for solidarity against the Israeli state’s breach of international law.”

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The letter writers cited the call by BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti for a cultural boycott of Israel. “We have always respected this appeal and have encouraged other people working in the arts to do the same. We reject the allegation that any of us have exempted ourselves from the cultural boycott,” they wrote.

The letter published on Tuesday comes after an article published last week in The Guardian reported that his films have been widely shown in Israel, including his most recent, “I Daniel Blake.”

Loach maintained in the article and in the letter that a distribution company sold the rights of the film to Israeli distributors without the knowledge of Sixteen Films, despite being instructed not to do so.

The letter also said that Loach and the film company have been in “regular contact” with the BDS movement and the issue of his films being shown in Israel has never been raised.

“We will guarantee that every penny from the sale of I Daniel Blake that comes to Sixteen Films or the sales company from the Israeli distributors will go to grassroots Palestinian organizations fighting oppression, after consultation with the BDS movement,” the letter concluded.

The issue of Loach’s films being screened in Israel emerged after the director was critical of the British band Radiohead’s show being held in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. He signed a letter circulated in February by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, another BDS supporter, urging Radiohead not to perform in Israel. Loach became embroiled in a personal spat with Thom Yorke, the band’s singer.

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