April 25, 2018 / 9:41 PM / 2 years ago

In anti-Semitism row, Belgian PM slams honour for film-maker Loach

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel talks to the media at the start of an International High-Level Conference on Sahel in Brussels, Belgium February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s prime minister criticised one of the country’s leading universities on Wednesday over its plan to honour British film director Ken Loach, following complaints that it has overlooked alleged anti-Semitism.

In a speech at Brussels Grand Synagogue to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s foundation, premier Charles Michel said: “No accommodation with anti-Semitism can be tolerated, whatever its form. And that also goes for my own alma mater.”

Michel, 42, studied law at the Free University of Brussels. It has stood by plans to award Loach an honorary doctorate on Thursday after the 81-year-old director of 2016 Palme d’Or winner “I, Daniel Blake” denied accusations that his long-time support for Palestinians was in any way anti-Semitic.

The row in Belgium comes as the British Labour Party under left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, for whom Loach has been a vocal supporter, is battling allegations of anti-Semitism.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Tom Brown

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