Just thought I would get that off my chest. Mira Vogel at Engage Online has gratifying news that Israeli film director, Tali Shalom-Ezer will not self-boycott the Edinburgh International Film Festival which allowed some film director to speak for the film making ‘community’ and returned the filthy lucre of £300 in sponsorship from the Cultural Affairs Department of the Israeli Embassy in the Great Wen; presumably to pay for Shalom-Ezer’s flight. I had initially been highly impressed by the response from the Managing Director of the EIFF, Ginnie Atkinson, in facing down an almost certainly aggressive and intimidating campaign from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, led by individuals such as the antisemitic John Wight.
With Loach’s vow not to grace the Festival with his presence, however, the EIFF folded quicker that John Wight does when asked about linking to CODOH (or, presumably, Jenna Delich on David Duke’s website). Realizing they had fluffed it, though, the EIFF has since dug into its own pockets to fly Shalom-Ezer over and she, to her immense credit, has accepted. This is the only point in my mind which redeems the EIFF from being deserving of a similar fate to that which befell the Writing on the Wall Festival in Liverpool which has had future sponsorship from Liverpool City Council pulled because it was staging the modern mystery play, Seven Jewish Children, unchallenged.
Vogel cited an earlier missive of mine which discussed Loach’s willingness to link antisemitism to feelings towards Israeli actions (i.e. to blame the persecution of Jews individually for the actions of individual Jews). In the Scotsman – a rarity in the Scottish print media, which covers the growing jacobite jihadism and sectarianism in this soft-underbelly of the Yu-Kay – Shalom-Ezer posits that Loach’s previous call for his brethren and sistren in the film making ‘community’ to boycott the EIFF because of his engrained animus towards Israel has a similar effect. Shalom-Ezer, Vogel and I could have better understood – but not found understandable – Loach’s position if Ron Prosser, the Israeli Ambassador to the Yu-Kay were a guest: however neither he nor the Israeli state were invited. Shalom-Ezer was. Thus, Shalom-Ezer and Vogel suggest – and I agree – that what Loach was attempting to do was to associate all members of one national group individually with their state’s policy and, accordingly, place them outside the tent.
I call this bigotry.
Of course, with anti-racism fast becoming the Communism of the 21st Century, Loach insists that “we all know” that Shalom-Ezer would be welcome. And I am the Queen of Sheba, Ken. You had previously called for a boycott of the entire Festival because Tali’s country was supporting her. You declared that Tali and other Israelis should only be welcome if they are well-behaved, and that it was for you to contempuously decide what this good behaviour entails. The criticisms of Israeli policy can also be directed against the actions of USA and your country in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I did not see you calling for boycotts due to the sponsorship of the US Consulate or British bodies. (Note also the extremist mentality in which Loach projects his own opinions onto others – “we all know” just as all film makers were “be as appalled as I am” if the Israeli Embassy sponsored the Festival. Disagreeing with Loach ain’t just wrong, it is *inconceivable*.)
I do not like Loach’s films for stylistic reasons, and do not take my political cues from ‘artists’ or celebrities. I never have warmed to Wagner, but think Orff and Liszt are fantastic. In light of Loach’s latest brain-fart, I am wondering if his oeurve can be separated from his wretched politics. He may have won the Palm D’or, but against what competition? Fritz Lang and Otto Preminger produced some sublime films, but were reputably absolute female pudenae (just as Ed Wood was a beautiful soul, but shite director). Klaus Kinksi’s intense on-screen persona was accompanied by violent rages (undoubtly connected to undiagnosed schizophrenia) which, like a horse-whisperer, Werner Herzog was one of the few able to control.
Just how good is Loach’s work?