Monday, July 20, 2009


Age readers have taken Ken Loach to task for his attempted intifada blackmail attempt on the Melbourne Film Festival. Of course, there's always Bill Matthew to back up the forces of darkness and evil and claim that the Israelis and not Hamas is responsible for the mess in Gaza but it's a first for this newspaper to kick off with a selection of letters such as these (expect Dora McPhee or one of the usual bunch of haters to follow up with their own fantasies in tomorrow's letters section):

Director shows his blind spot

KEN Loach is one of my favourite film directors. I have followed his career with appreciation since his debut Cathy Come Home in 1966. But full marks to Melbourne International Film Festival executive director Richard Moore for standing up to Loach's attempt to blackmail the festival into boycotting Israel because of Israel's past defensive military operations in Lebanon and Gaza ("Israeli funding angers Loach", The Age, 18/7).

In May, Loach made the same demand of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. As a Scot, I am ashamed to say that the organisers of the Edinburgh festival cravenly gave in to his outrageous demand for censorship.

It is ironic that Land and Freedom (1995), which many consider Loach's finest film, presents a powerful and moving story about the men and women who fought against Franco's fascists in Spain in the 1930s. Loach can recognise and oppose European fascism but would appear to have a blind spot when it comes to the Islamo-fascism of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Dr Bill Anderson, Surrey Hills

Irrational, and fruitless

KEN Loach's decision to withdraw his film from the Melbourne International Film Festival due to Israeli sponsorship of the festival is a ridiculous stunt. This will only be to the detriment of the admired filmmaker.

Punishing the Israeli film academy will not do anything to curb the Israeli Government's policy towards the Palestinians. The notion of boycotting a country due to its actions should be directed at the government of that country.

Such a boycott will not serve to bring about a peaceful end to the Middle East conflict, nor will it provide stability in a fragile region. It will only result in an Englishman's film not being shown in an acclaimed international film festival. Loach's decision to pull his movie should not be viewed as a heroic act; it should be seen as an irrational act of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Joel Feren, Elwood

Sends a strong message

KEN Loach is to be commended for his moral courage to withdraw Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival. Boycott of such events, by luminaries such as Loach and the public, is an effective means of sending a message to Israel that we do not support its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, its inhuman treatment of Palestinians and the massacre of Gazans.

It should be remembered that we defeated apartheid in South Africa by refusing to play rugby and cricket with that country.

Bill Mathew, Parkville

It's Loach's loss

KEN Loach's boycott is an insult to the Melbourne film festival. What gives him the right to demand that the executive director withdraw a long-standing overseas sponsorship?
It is a shame that Loach has used his film as a political platform. All he has done is upset the people who have always been part of his supporting audience and will now miss his film.

His decision is his loss. It is good to see that MIFF has not bowed to his prejudicial pressure.

Rosie Hersch, Brighton East


Chooker said...

Does anyone know why the Age has not published a single letter about the Jakarta terrorist attacks and yet it always contains reams of criticism of whatever Israel does to defend itself and its people against attacks from Islamist terror just like the Indonesian bombers?

Anonymous said...

That Ken Loach opposes Israel is an argument for supporting Israel, but not really a sufficient one.

He probably ties his shoes in the morning as well. It doesn`t follow that one shouldn`t.

I once made the mistake of seeing one of his films. Polemical, grossly inaccurate, badly made...

Domani said...

Loach is a bigot who wants to use undue influence to stop its association with Israeli film. Chinese occupiers of Tibet are OK. Arab terrorists sending rockets to into Israeli kindergartens are OK. Only the Jews ... I'm glad the MIFF showed sufficient maturity to tell him to piss off!

Anonymous said...

not only didn't al' age publish any letters re the Muslim suicide attacks in Indonesia { for fear of upsetting the Muslim lobby] they published some bullshit article about a book coming out about how not to embarrass Muslims by bringing up the fact that every time there is a suicide attack it happens to be a Muslim suicide bomber ..