By Mehmet Nedim Aslan
Award-winning British film director Ken Loach has described Israel as a "racist state" in an interview with the Turkish daily Vakit newspaper. The director said the Israeli state was based on the ethnicity of those who are given automatic citizenship; this in itself is "proof of its racism". Responding to Israeli claims that those criticising Israel are anti-Semitic, Mr. Loach said that this is just propaganda.
"Zionism itself is a racist and corrupt ideology and it wants all Jews to be Zionist, but many Jewish are against Zionism," he said. "There are many British people who were anti-Thatcherism, but that does not make them anti-British."
Likening Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa Mr. Loach added, "People were separated on the basis of race in South Africa. Israel is doing the same thing today. Bulldozing houses, building walls and check points to control just one group of people all show that Israel is a racist state."
Criticising the Western media over its coverage of the Palestinian issue, Mr. Loach claimed that the media in general is biased in favour of Israel. The relationship, he suggested, is like that of taking a dog for a walk: "The dog takes you wherever you want to go."
He added that he thinks it is a duty of people to take action against injustice which in the case of Israel should include a cultural boycott against the state. Asked about his boycott of the Edinburgh Film Festival last year because it accepted Israeli sponsorship, which it later withdrew, Mr. Loach said that he would do the same thing in the future if the festival has any sponsorship from Israel.