U.K.'s Ken Loach Calls for Boycott of Israel-backed Culture, Sport, Academia

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British director Ken Loach, left, and Polish director Roman Polanski arrive at Cannes in 2007.Credit: Reuters

The British filmmaker Ken Loach has called for a boycott of all cultural and sporting events that Israel supports, saying Israel must become a pariah state.

He also criticized anew the U.S. and the U.K. for supporting Israel, media reports say.

Loach spoke Thursday at the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award ceremony within the Sarajevo Film Festival. The award went to two Palestinian documentary directors from Gaza, Abdel Salam Shehadeh and Ashraf Mashharawi, reports say.

Loach said the situation of the residents of Gaza during Israel's Operation Protective Edge resembles that of the residents of Sarajevo when the city was under siege in the 1990s, reports say.

"My country, to its shame, follows the bully that is the United States," Loach said, according to the U.K. Express. "But we are not powerless. We can act together." He said the boycott should include music, film and academic contacts, the Express reported.

Last month Loach signed a petition, submitted to Prime Minister David Cameron, calling on the U.K. to implement an arms embargo against Israel.

The award, named in honor of the British actress Katrin Cartlidge, who died in 2002 at age 41, is given to new creative voices in filmmaking, the foundation's website says.

Loach's films include "Jimmy's Hall" (2014), "Route Irish" (2010) and "Sweet Sixteen" (2002).

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