BDS Activist and Radiohead Critic Ken Loach Slammed for Screening His Films Across Israel

Loach's Israeli distributor tells The Guardian he's bought films from the director 'every year' and says Loach feels 'exempt from the cultural boycott' he promotes

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Director Ken Loach holds the BAFTA award for Outstanding British Film for 'I, Daniel Blake' at the British Academy Film Awards in London, February 12, 2017.
Director Ken Loach holds the BAFTA award for Outstanding British Film for 'I, Daniel Blake' at the British Academy Film Awards in London, February 12, 2017.Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

British filmmaker Ken Loach, who publicly endorses boycotting Israel, is facing criticism after it came to light that films he made are being screened across Israel, the Guardian has reported.

Loach made headlines last week when he called on the British rock band Radiohead to cancel its show in Tel Aviv, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Following Loach's searing condemnation, it surfaced that the director's Palme d'Or winning film "I, Daniel Blake" is running in Israeli cinemas.

>> Read more: Israeli Arab singer slams BDS activists calling on Radiohead to cancel Tel Aviv show >>

Radiohead front man Thom Yorke, who criticized Loach last week for calling on the band to cancel its Israel show, responded to the Guardian's article on Twitter.

In response to the report, Loach's producer, Rebecca O'Brien, said that the movie's rights had been "accidentally" sold to Israel without Loach's knowledge. But the filmmaker's long-term Israeli distributor, Guy Shani, dismissed O'Brien's claim as "absurd" to the Guardian.

Shani, who is also the owner of the Lev cinema chain in Israel, told the paper he has been buying films from Loach and O'Brien "every year" without hearing any objections from the two.

"It is a conundrum that has puzzled me too. It seems that Ken Loach feels himself exempt from the cultural boycott," Shani said.

Loach has vocally supported boycotting Israel for years. In 2009, the Edinburgh International Film Festival returned a 300-pound grant from the Israeli Embassy after bowing to pressure from Loach.

"The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable," the filmmaker was quoted as saying at the time.

More recently, Loach found himself in a spat with Yorke, after he called on the artist to cancel his band's concert in Tel Aviv.

“When an oppressed community asks renowned international artists not to lend their names to their oppressors’ attempts to whitewash their human rights violations, it is our moral obligation to heed their appeals," Loach wrote in The Independent.

Yorke, who has criticized several BDS activists calling on his band to boycott Israel, was quick to retort. “Playing in a country is not the same as endorsing its government. ... We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America," Yorke tweeted.

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