Mr Loach called the programme a “crude polemic, without balance or objectivity, intended to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” and claimed that “BAFTA’s choice is a blatant attempt to rehabilitate a discredited piece of propaganda. It should fool no-one.”
The filmmaker made the comments to The Canary, a controversial hard-left blog under investigation by the Government’s Independent Advisor on Antisemitism. Mr Loach has received several BAFTA awards over the course of his career.
The programme, which was televised in July 2019, showed former Labour Party employees speaking out publicly to reveal Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.
During the programme Labour’s press team made claims that the staffers featured had political axes to grind and lacked credibility, and it is understood that they and John Ware, the maker of the programme, commenced libel proceedings against the Labour Party. The libel cases are being brought by Mark Lewis, a highly esteemed media lawyer who is also an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The Labour Party also submitted a 28-page complaint to the BBC, claiming the programme failed to meet the BBC’s standards, but the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit, which is the top level of the broadcaster’s internal complaints process, decided to back the makers of the episode. Labour then took its complaint to Ofcom but withdrew it earlier this year.
Mr Loach’s voice has been among the loudest of those who attempt to dismiss Labour’s antisemitism crisis as non-existent and a right-wing smear campaign. He claimed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was subjected to a “torrent of abuse” that was “off the scale” and that regardless of what he did, the “campaign” of antisemitism accusations was “going to run and run”. He described the BBC’s Panorama investigation into Labour antisemitism as “disgusting because it raised the horror of racism against Jews in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism…and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.” He was also reportedly behind a motion passed by Bath Labour Party branding the Panorama programme a “dishonest hatchet job with potentially undemocratic consequences” and asserting that it “disgraced the name of Panorama and exposed the bias endemic within the BBC.” John Ware, the programme’s reporter, is apparently considering legal action against Mr Loach for his comments.
In 2017, Mr Loach caused outrage when, during an interview with the BBC, he refused to denounce Holocaust denial. The International Definition of Antisemitism states that “denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)” is a manifestation of antisemitism. Although Mr Loach later sought to clarify his remarks, he has continued to make inflammatory and provocative statements about Labour’s antisemitism scandal. While speaking at a meeting of the Kingswood Constituency Labour Party, Mr Loach advocated the removal from the Party of those Labour MPs, some of whom are Jewish, who have taken a principled stand against antisemitism. Shortly after that incident, the Labour Party announced that it would no longer use Mr Loach as a producer of their election broadcasts.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.