Ken Loach Hits Back against Accusations of Anti-Semitism

Ken Loach, a British filmmaker and a Labor leader. (Photo via twitter)

Prominent British filmmaker Ken Loach has hit back against allegations of holocaust denial by accusing his critics of double standards for failing to denounce Israel’s ongoing violations of human rights and international law.

Loach wrote a response earlier this week to an article by the Guardian columnist, Jonathan Freedland. The director and long-time Labor Party member penned his refutation in an opinion piece “Guardian’s one-eyed view of Labor politics ignores the Palestinians”- for the publication’s ironically labelled “Comment is Free” section. However, Editors of the paper – a role assumed by Freedland himself until 2016 – refused to carry his refutation.

Loach accused Freedland of resorting to “hints”, “innuendos” and “cynical journalism” in his article which claimed that pro-Palestinian activists, like him, have pushed the British Labor Party towards a “dark place” for “denying” anti-Semitism within their ranks.

Responding to the serious accusations made against him and two other prominent leaders in the left of British politics; Len McCluskey and Ken Livingstone, Loach said that the “taint of anti-Semitism” was “toxic” while explaining that the “exaggerated or false claims of anti-Semitism can create a climate of fear in which legitimate discussion about the state of Israel and its actions are stifled”.

Freedland made the controversial claims last week, during the Labour Party conference. Many pro-Israeli commentators used the occasion to undermine the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause. Before Corbyn’s rise to prominence, Freedland himself lent support to a campaign through his influential position in the Guardian to malign and vilify the Labor leader. He later admitted he was “wrong” while others pointed out that the author was trying to “claw-back” his credibility through his half-hearted apology for rallying against the popular labour leader.

Denouncing the serious allegation that he had given “spurious legitimacy” to Holocaust’s denial Loach said: “The Holocaust is as real a historical event as the World War itself and not to be challenged,” and admitted that “those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”

Pointing out that Freedland writes frequently about Israel, Loach explained that “it is the Palestinians who are marginalized or ignored”. He accused Freedland, who professes to support human rights and liberal values, of putting the universal rights of Palestinians in second place to Israel’s colonial interest.

Loach’s article published by the Jewish Voice for Labor following the Guardian’s refusal, challenged Freedland to acknowledge that “land stolen from the Palestinians should be returned to them and all illegal settlements removed, as UN Resolutions demand; that Israel is breaking the Fourth Geneva Convention by transporting Palestinian children to Israeli prisons without access to lawyers or their families; and that the deliberate destruction of civilian life, hospitals and medical facilities in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge were war crimes.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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