Israel boycott

Ken Loach’s Israel boycott fails in Oz

By Dan Goldberg, Sydney, July 23, 2009

British director Ken Loach has withdrawn his film from the Melbourne International Film Festival because the event receives funding from the Israeli government.

Mr Loach followed through on a threat to pull his film, Looking For Eric, from the festival as a protest against “illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods [and] the massacres in Gaza”.

He succeeded with the same ultimatum to the Edinburgh Film Festival in May, prompting it to return a grant that was intended to help fund the visit of an Israeli filmmaker.

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UK says scholarships for Israelis prove its anti-boycott stance

July 23, 2009

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, said this week that the new group of Chevening scholars — Israeli postgraduates going to study in the UK — were “living evidence” of the UK government’s robust response to the academic boycott of Israel.

This year there are 12 talented young Israelis — seven men and five women — who have been awarded British scholarships enabling them to study in universities all over the UK this coming academic year.

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Film festival rejects Loach's Israel boycott

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

An Australian film festival has said it will not bow to pressure from British filmmaker Ken Loach to boycott Israeli films and sponsors.

The chief executive of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Richard Moore, has rejected a threat by Mr Loach to withdraw his film Looking for Eric, starring Eric Cantona, unless the film festival boycotts Israel.
He said films had been chosen solely on artistic merit for next week's festval.

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Charity pushes for global Israel boycott

By Bernard Josephs, July 16, 2009

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has complained to the Charity Commission about a potential breach of its guidelines by the charity War on Want.

Mr Lauder wrote in the wake of last week’s London launch of a book accusing Israel of human rights abuses, an event at which War on Want called for a worldwide boycott of Israel.

The stormy meeting at Toynbee Hall, hosted by the charity, and featuring journalist Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, saw sharp exchanges between members of the audience and a small group of pro-Israel participants.

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Anti-Israel lobby wins arms ban from UK government

By Bernard Josephs and Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

The Foreign Office this week denied imposing a partial arms embargo on Israel, despite its decision to ban spare parts for Israeli naval vessels used during its winter operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

The news broke as 26 Israeli soldiers claimed that the IDF had committed war crimes during the Gaza operation.

On Monday, the government, in response to a sustained campaign from pro-Palestinian groups and parliamentarians, announced the cancellation of five export licences for equipment to upgrade weaponry on 4.5 Saar Corvettes.

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UK cuts arms licences to Israel after Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

The UK government has revoked the licenses of five arms companies to supply to the Israeli military with spare parts for guns on Sa'ar 4.5 ships.

British officials have confirmed that the ban was imposed because the supplies were being used by Israeli battleships which participated in the attack on Gaza.

The UK has claimed this would have violated the security agreements between Britain and Israel, which specifies how British equipment can be used by buyers.

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Stop boycotting, Miliband tells unions

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has expressed dismay that Israel boycotts are being discussed by trade union congresses and conferences.

He said this week: “Ivan Lewis, minister of state responsible for the Middle East, is meeting representatives of leading British unions in order to make clear the government’s firm belief that calls for boycotts of Israel cannot and do not contribute to peace.

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Academics pass boycott motion

May 28, 2009

Members of the University and College Union defied a warning from their leadership and passed a motion in support of boycotting Israel at their annual congress in Bournemouth.

They voted to support “the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign”.

But the union’s executive had warned that it would be declared null and void following legal advice that the resolution would be unlawful because “it is likely to be viewed… as a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions”.

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Edinburgh film woman hits back

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2009

The Israeli film director at the centre of an argument over film festival funding has hit back at anti-Israel campaigners.

Tali Shalom Ezer said she was “outraged” at comments made by controversial director Ken Loach, in which he claimed Israel had conducted “massacres and state terrorism in Gaza”.

Following Mr Loach’s remarks, organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival rejected a £300 donation from the Israeli Embassy.

The money was to be used to fly Ms Shalom Ezer to Scotland for the screening of her debut film, Surrogate.

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Boycott warning at UCU congress

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

Academics heading for their annual congress this week were warned by their leaders that any call for a boycott of Israel would be declared null and void.

Half a dozen motions of varying degrees of hostility towards Israel were tabled for debate on today (Wednesday afternoon) on the first day of the congress of the University and College Union in Bournemouth.

But the union’s executive warned that two of them could bring legal repercussions by targeting Israeli institutions.

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