London theatre withdraws objections to Jewish Film Festival

A theatre has withdrawn its objections to the UK Jewish Film Festival being sponsored by the Israeli Embassy, after initially refuses to host the event while the crisis in Gaza is ongoing.

The Tricycle Theatre in London, which has hosted the festival for the past eight years, had been due to screen at least 26 films as part of the event in November. The event will not go ahead this year, but organisers say they hope it will return in 2015.

Live updates

Theatre backs down in UK Jewish Film Festival row

London's Tricycle Theatre has backed down on objections to funding for the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF), which saw the venue refuse to host the event.

The theatre announced it could not support the event while the crisis in Gaza was ongoing, as it is sponsored by the Israeli government.

The festival will not go ahead as originally planned in November, but it is hoped it can return next year.

The Tricycle Theatre has withdrawn its objections Credit: PA

A joint statement from the UKJFF and the theatre admits the decision provoked "considerabe public upset", and said they joined forces to tackle that.

Following lengthy discussions, the Tricycle has now withdrawn its objection and invited back the UK Jewish Film Festival on the same terms as in previous years with no restrictions on funding from the Embassy of Israel in London.

The UKJFF and the Tricycle have agreed to work together to rebuild their relationship and although the festival is not able to return in 2014, we hope to begin the process of rebuilding trust and confidence with a view to holding events in the future.

We both profoundly hope that those who take differing views on the events of the last few weeks will follow our lead and come together to acknowledge that dialogue, reconciliation and engagement will resolve points of difference and ensure that cultural diversity thrives in all communities.

– UKJFF and Tricycle Theatre

Protest outside Tricycle Theatre

Advertisement

Tricycle theatre 'have decided to punish Jewish people'

A row has erupted after north London's Tricycle theatre refused to host the UK Jewish Film Festival because it is sponsored by the Israeli Embassy.

After the theatre said the festival should not accept funding from "any party to the current conflict" between Israel and Palestinians, the UK Jewish Film Festival said the Tricycle's demands were "entirely unacceptable" and it was taking its screenings elsewhere.

The festival was backed by actress Maureen Lipman, 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."

Actress Maureen Lipman said the theatre has "decided to punish Jewish people". Credit: PA

National Theatre director, Nicholas Hytner, backed the Tricycle's stance, saying they "could not have made clearer their commitment to Jewish culture or their desire to host a festival that would have included films from all over the world, including Israel."

"It is entirely understandable that they felt obliged to insist that no government agency should sponsor the festival.

London theatre refuses to host Jewish Film Festival

The Tricycle has offered to use its own resources to replace funding from the Israeli Embassy Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A theatre has refused to host the UK Jewish Film Festival while it is sponsored by the Israeli Embassy amid the ongoing crisis in Gaza. The Tricycle Theatre in London, which has hosted the festival for the past eight years, had been due to screen at least 26 films as part of the event in November.

But Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle, said the festival should not accept funding from "any party to the current conflict" between Israel and Palestinians. She said the theatre offered to use funding from its own resources to replace the festival's sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy in London. But the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) said the Tricycle's demands were "entirely unacceptable" and it was taking its screenings elsewhere.

"The Jewish community as a whole has enjoyed a successful relationship with the Tricycle and it is extremely saddening that they should look to politicise this festival by making demands that the UKJFF could never accept."

– Stephen Margolis, chairman of the UKJFF

"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 have refused to take this into account in their decision."

– Judy Ironside, executive director of the UKJFF

"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. 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. 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. We hope to find a way to work with the UK Jewish Film Festival to allow the festival to go ahead at the Tricycle as it has done so successfully for the past eight years."

– Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle
Back to top