A popular London cinema is boycotting the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) over the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza, the Evening Standard reports.
The Tricycle Theatre, which is in Kilburn in North London, has said that it will not take part in the annual film festival because it is partly funded by the Israeli government. The UKJFF will instead have to find a different cinema to host the 26 films that were due to be shown as part of the event in November.
A spokesperson for the Tricycle wrote on its website: “The Tricycle has always welcomed the festival and wants it to go ahead. We have proudly hosted the UK Jewish Film Festival for many years.
“However, given the situation in Israel and Gaza, we do not believe that the festival should accept funding from any party to the current conflict. For that reason, we asked the UK Jewish Film Festival to reconsider its sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy.
“We also offered to replace that funding with money from our own resources. The Tricycle serves many communities and celebrates different cultures and through difficult, emotional times must aim for a place of political neutrality.
“We regret that, following discussions, the chair of the UKJFF told us that he wished to withdraw the festival from the Tricycle.
“To be clear, at this moment, the Tricycle would not accept sponsorship from any government agency involved in the conflict.
But the move has been widely condemned by campaigners who are due to stage a protest tomorrow, Thursday 7th August. The organisers, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism UK said: “With echoes of the Nazi boycott of Jewish enterprise after Hitler’s election, Tricycle Theatre has refused to host the UK Jewish Film Festival.
“They claim its because one of the festival’s sponsors is the Israeli embassy. Yet Tricycle have no concern screening films from far more controversial countries, such as Iran.
“Tricycle have taken an apolitical celebration of Jewish cinema, politicised it and punished Britain’s Jewish community.”
The Jewish Leadership Council said in a statement: “The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council are appalled by the decision of Tricycle Theatre Company to boycott the UK Jewish Film Festival. The event is a celebration of global Jewish culture and is inherently apolitical. This decision is shameful and shows that boycotts of Israel inevitably lead to the harassment of Jewish culture and individuals across the world.”