(JTA) – 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 grassroots Palestinian organizations fighting oppression, after consultation with the BDS movement.”
In the 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: “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.”
The letter cited the call by the BDS movement’s 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,” the authors wrote. The letter comes after an article last week in The Guardian reported that Loach’s films have been widely shown in Israel, including his most recent, “I Daniel Blake.” Loach maintains 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 issue of Loach’s films being screened in Israel emerged after the director was critical of the British band Radiohead’s recent concert in Tel Aviv. Loach became embroiled in a personal spat with Thom Yorke, the band’s singer.