Boycotter Loach attends anti-racism sport event

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011
Ken Loach

Ken Loach

The director of Show Racism the Red Card (SRRC) has defended the inclusion of anti-Israel film director Ken Loach at its recent anniversarycelebrations.

Football agent Jeff Weston said he was shocked to receive an invitation to SRRC' s 15th anniversary event, only to find Mr Loach would be one of the guests of honour. The charity works to combat racism in sport.

The director has put pressure on the film industry to boycott Israeli films. Last year, he threatened to pull out of the Edinburgh International Film Festival unless organisers returned a £300 donation from the Israeli Embassy.

Mr Weston said: "It's amazing that an anti-Israel propagandist attended the event. It's something totally inappropriate. After his behaviour at the Edinburgh Film Festival, he's not exactly the best representative of the cause they are promoting."

Ged Grebby, SRRC's chief executive, said: "Ken Loach has been a committed supporter of our campaign. I do not accept any allegations that he is antisemitic. We are not here to defend everything that Ken Loach says, but as far as I am concerned, we would never invite anyone whom we were worried held those kind of views.

"We have led many campaigns against antisemitism, we spoke out against the abuse of Avram Grant when he was manager of West Ham, and chants against [Israeli footballer] Yossi Benayoun. We also work with Holocaust Memorial Day and do workshops on the Holocaust. This organisation has no truck with antisemitism."

Last updated: 1:03pm, August 11 2011