AJC Outraged by German Film Festival’s Honoring of Israel Boycott Leader

AJC Outraged by German Film Festival’s Honoring of Israel Boycott Leader

February 16, 2014 – Berlin – AJC condemned as a blow against artistic freedom the Berlinale decision to award British film director Ken Loach “The Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement Award.” The Berlinale, the second largest film festival in Europe after Cannes, is co-sponsored by the German government.

"It is a disgrace that a prominent German film festival glorifies a director who has distinguished himself through bigotry and the denial of Israel’s right to exist," said Deidre Berger, director of AJC Berlin.

Loach is a leading figure in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that, at its root, seeks Israel’s dismantlement. He has attempted to press a number of film festivals since 2006 to remove from their programs Israeli films. In 2009, he convinced the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return an Israeli government donation that had been made to cover the travel costs of an Israeli film director.

"Shame on the Berlinale for honoring an artist who calls for a total cultural andeconomicboycott of Israel, and to do so in a city that once boycotted Jewish shops and property due to anti-Semitic policies of the German government,” said Berger.