British filmmaker Ken Loach took a mind-bending turn in an interview with the BBC, saying that claims of antisemitism among Labour MPs are false, and deliberately sidestepping a question on Holocaust denial.
Loach, who has been an outspoken critic of Israel and supporter of the boycott of the Jewish state, said antisemitism accusations – even by MPs – within the party were aimed at destabilizing the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
“It’s funny these stories suddenly appeared when Jeremy Corbyn became leader, isn’t it,” Loach told BBC interviewer Jo Coburn on Tuesday.
Loach said that he’s been going to Labour Party
meetings for more than 50 years and “I have never in that whole time heard a single antisemitic word or racist word.”
Coburn suggested that many might say Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader had “allowed the oxygen for those sort of views.”
Loach’s response? “Jeremy Corbyn has been a longtime supporter of the Palestinians and the injustice that is done to them, the theft of the land by the Israelis and the massacre of people in Gaza, the blockade of Gaza.”
Coburn pointed out that Loach’s response was irrelevant to the question of rising accusations of antisemitism within the party.
“Their aim is to destabilize Jeremy’s leadership,” Loach said, “and this is what it’s about... there is no validity to it whatsoever.”
But the most outrageous moment came when Coburn mentioned a recent Labour Party conference meeting where a speaker made comments questioning if the Holocaust happened. According to the Jewish Chronicle
, Israeli-born anti-Zionist activist Miko Peled
told a Free Speech On Israel event by the Labour Party on Monday: “This is about free speech, the freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum.”
Asked on Tuesday whether Holocaust denial was “unacceptable,” Loach offered a cringe-worthy response.
“History is for all of us to discuss,” he replied. “All history is our common heritage to discuss and analyze, the founding of the State of Israel, for example, based on ethnic cleansing, is there for us to discuss... so don’t try to subvert that by false stories of antisemitism.”
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