Ken Loach, Antisemitism and the ULB
The IJC strongly supports the CCOJB, the CCLJ, Professor Jacques Brotchi and others who have called on the ULB to abandon its intention of conferring an honorary doctorate on Ken Loach tomorrow in view of his repeated expressions of tolerance towards antisemitism, to put it at its very lowest.
There is of course a good deal of scope for legitimate criticism of Israel. Many people, including the author of a recent article in Le Soir, appear to believe that Ken Loach is simply pro-Palestinian. That view is clearly belied by the evidence.
In the past few years, there has been increasing concern over widespread antisemitism in the British Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn himself, the current leader of the party, wrote a message on Facebook in 2012 describing as harmless a mural showing a group of Jews exploiting the poor. A number of Jewish MPs and other party members have suffered harassment and discrimination simply because they are Jewish. A report commissioned by Labour in 2016 which called for a series of reforms to stamp out antisemitism in the party has never been implemented.
Speaking to the BBC in September of last year, Ken Loach denied that there was a problem at all and earlier this month he said that those MPs who had had the courage to join a demonstration against antisemitism in the party should be "kicked out" of it.
In other words, he tolerates antisemitism, but not those who criticise antisemites.
To make matters even worse, in the same BBC interview, when asked about the Holocaust, he replied: 'history is there to be discussed'. An ambiguous response to say the least.
When questioned by the ULB earlier this week, Ken Loach claimed he was neither a Holocaust denier nor an antisemite. He would, wouldn't he?
You are invited to add your signatures to this petition which has already been signed by a large number of eminent Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals, including the Nobel Prize winner François Englert and French philosopher and writer Pascal Bruckner: notinourname.be
IJC Board April 25, 2018