Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn refuses to host Jewish film festival over Gaza conflict
PUBLISHED: 12:14 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:31 31 May 2018
PA Archive/Press Association Images
A theatre in Kilburn has refused to host a UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) while it is sponsored by the Israeli Embassy amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
For the first time in eight years, the event, which screens at least 26 films, will not be shown at the Tricycle in Kilburn High Road.
Indhu Rubasingham, its artistic director, labelled the funding festival organisers received from the embassy as “inappropriate” given the current furore between Israel and Palestine.
Lambasting the cancellation, Judy Ironside MBE, founder and executive director of the UKJFF said: “We pride ourselves on showing a diverse programme of films, which present a comprehensive view of international Jewish life and Israeli films are of course an important part of that.
“We have always sought to convey a wide perspective on the conflicts in the Middle East and initiate open dialogue with our audiences and guest speakers; and the Israeli Embassy have always supported us in this.
“The Tricycle has refused to take this into account in their decision.”
The news was relayed to UKJFF via email by the theatre, mere weeks before the schedule was to be finalised according to the festival organisers.
The event was backed by British actress, Maureen Lipman CBE, who said: “The Tricycle have decided to punish Jewish people in the Diaspora for one view of what is taking place in the Middle East and that is quite unacceptable.”
Scores have taken to social media sites to share their views on the the decision.
Twitter user @carlgardner, who posted his comment left on the Tricycle website, said: “It is you [Tricycle] and you alone, who have politicized this. This is a disgraceful decision and far from “neutral”.”
Louise Mensch, novelist and former Conservative MP for Corby, tweeted: “Hey @TricycleTheatre stop your revolting treatment of the Jewish Film Festival. I hope North London boycotts you forever.”
However, user @debatingculture supported the move. He wrote: “...British theatre has had a long history of activism, cohesion & community development. Tricycle have been brave.”
@PukkahPunjabi said: “So much nonsense being spouted about anti-Semitism and @TricycleTheatre. The theatre offered to fund the festival. How’s that anti-Semitic?!”
Ms Rubasingham claims that alternative funding was offered to the festivals organisers and that the theatre would not accept financial support from any government agency involved in the crisis.
She added: “We want the festival. Now, more than at any time, Jewish culture must be celebrated.
“The Tricycle serves many different communities and cultures and must navigate neutrality which is why it cannot directly be taking government money in this difficult time.
“However, the UKJFF decided it was not willing to decline sponsorship from the Israeli embassy and, to our regret, withdrew the festival from the Tricycle.”