Gary Sinyor Does Not Support Supporters of Supporters of Antisemitism

An extremely funny film I recall watching was first-time director Garry Sinyor’s Leon the Pig Farmer, about a Jewish executive from London who discovers that, due to a botched artificial insemination process, his biological farmer was a Yorkshire pig farmer. And, the organizers of the 1992 Edinburgh International Film Festival also thought so, and awarded it their main prize.

It is with clear sorrow that Sinyor has instructed the EIFF to remove his name from their records and has removed the award from his CV. The reason being the acquiescence by the EIFF to Ken Loach’s threat of a boycott from the film making ‘community’ should they continue to accept £300 of sponsorship money from the Cultural Affairs Department of the Israeli Embassy in London; money intended to pay for the flight of Tali Shalom-Ezer, the Israeli director of Surrogate, to be featured at the EIFF this year.

Sinyor also states:

It’s possible that Ken was speaking on behalf of all film directors/writers and producers worldwide, but my phone never rang so at best it would be the entire global film community minus one.

Quite. And Loach, who informed the EIFF that he was “sure” the whole film making ‘community’ would be as appalled as he was at the donation and then that “we all knew” Shalom-Ezer was welcome personally, keeps true to form in projecting his views onto others and declaring dissent not only to be wrong but inconceivable.

Yesterday, Loach remained intransigent, saying: “I don’t respond to personal attacks. I would urge Gary Sinyor and others to look at the facts of the boycott.”

Yeah, criticizing Ken Loach is a personal attack! How very dare you, Gary! I do not believe for a moment that Loach would have stayed away from the Festival had the organizers not capitulated: he likes the publicity too much. And, as Sinyor explains, his films are frequently shown in Israeli cinemas. There is no indication that he refuses to accept this filthy lucre which helps augment the Israeli economy.

As commenter Modernity Blog observes at Harry’s Place, polemicists against Israel typically lack even a modicum of a willingness to accept inconvenience for their wading into divisive politicking; pointing to just how little they actually care for Palestinian Arabs as opposed to their own self-aggrandizement.

The antisemitic John Wight also has difficulties in recognizing the target and effect of Loach’s actions. Of Sinyor’s letter, he says “the article is nothing more than an apologia for Israel as victim […]”. Just as Shalom-Ezer observed it was she who was invited to the Festival, and not the Israeli state, only for Loach to make the connexion between the two, so Wight continues to conflate Sinyor’s dismay at the EIFF’s allowing Loach to decree what good behavior is necessary for Israelis to be welcomed (and, even if so, why similar outrage is not being directed against the sponsorship by the US Consulate where criticisms could equally be directed against involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan). Furthermore:

However, contrary to statements made by both the filmmaker concerned and others in response to the campaign, at no time did either Ken Loach or the SPSC call for the Israeli delegate to be prevented from attending the festival or for her film to be removed.

Yes, John, he simply sought to prevent her passage there being funded and to declare on what terms an Israeli or Jew can be consider persona grata; just as he finds the expression of antisemitism perfectly understandable. What is there to object to about that? Go on, John, does the CODOH website have anything to say on this?

Also, note how Shalom-Ezer is referred to as the “Israeli delegate”, as if she is representing the Israeli state. She is not! She is representing her film!

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