UK Jewish Film Festival Withdraws From Tricycle Theatre In Funding Row

tricycleThe UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) will not be held at the Tricycle Theatre this year because of a row over funding.

The Tricycle, which hosted the festival for the last eight years, has taken a decision that it can’t accept funding from any government agency or party involved in the conflict in Gaza. The UKJFF is partly sponsored by the Israeli Embassy and the Tricycle asked the festival to reconsider that sponsorship, offering to replace any funds it would lose. The UKJFF decided to keep its sponsorship and has now withdrawn the festival from the venue.

The Tricycle’s move has been criticised as anti-Semitism, though the UKJFF has not gone so far, instead accusing the Tricycle of politicising the festival. UKJFF executive director Judy Ironside told the Jewish Chronicle:

“That the Tricycle Theatre have shown themselves unwilling to work with what is clearly an apolitical cultural festival is tremendously disappointing. They have chosen a boycott over meaningful engagement — to the great detriment of this celebration of Jewish culture.”

The writer Jon Ronson summed up what seems to us a sensible conclusion to the whole affair on Twitter last night and, though we often recoil from media outlets treating tweets as though they’re officially published statements, it’s too good not to bring to your attention:

“I feel as akin to the Israeli government as I do to landscape gardening, but it seems obvious that the Tricycle was putting the UKJFF into an untenable position. “Renounce Israel’s actions or bugger off.” I’m sure lots of people involved in the UKJFF feel the same way I do about Gaza, but couldn’t act any way other than the way they did in that situation. So looking at it that way it was more a boycott of the festival than the festival pulling out.”

The UKJFF is currently looking for a new venue for the festival, which is slated to take place in November.

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  • Khalida Manzoor

    I for one am very pleased at the Tricycle’s principled stance. As a Brent resident all my life, who funds the Theatre through my rates, and who often takes groups of children to the Theatre I would have found it very repugnant that a state that kills children with impunity should be sponsoring any event in one our institutions.

    • M2

      It accepts Arts Council funding and this government is involved in far more civilian deaths in Iraq. By the same logic you will surely boycott the Tricycle?

  • Helen Lewis

    Bollocks . Tricycle haven’t boycotted anything. The wanted the festival to continue and offered to find the money themselves. The festivals directors seem to have insisted that the Israeli embassy sponsor it. Why is a mystery .
    No ones been asked to renounce Israel. Do your research properly

    • sharonsj

      Proper research would tell me if the theater has hosted other film festivals and if those festivals were funded by people, organizations, or countries with whom the theater owners disagreed. I’ve been trying to find out but none of the newspapers has that info.

      You should keep in mind that the theater hosted the film festival for the last seven years, during which time there were at least two other Israeli/Gaza clashes. Apparently the theater had no problem then.

  • larry

    Quite right. Everytime anyone objects to Jewish unscrupulous actions they’re called anti-semitic. No room for Jews in Europe they hate white Christians and everyone else. Please leave but leave your ill gotten gotten gains behind.

  • Howard Burns

    Even if the UKJFF receive funding from the Israeli embassy, what is wrong that? Why is Israel singled out because of it’s just fight against the Hamas terrorists? Would the theatre single out other countries at war such as Britain, the US, China, South Korea, France and others?