Updated on 18th August: The Tricycle theatre has changed its decision and no longer objects to hosting events from the UKJFF if they are funded by the Israeli embassy. The change in decision is a result of lengthy dialogue between both the theatre and charity. The general consensus is that the theatre is not antisemitic and that the film festival is Jewish not Israeli.
The Tricycle theatre in Kilburn north-west London has made a u-turn on its decision to host the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF). The popular theatre’s decision is based on the UKJFF being supported by the Israeli embassy.
In particular, the theatre doesn’t want to be associated with a festival which in turn is associated with the UK’s Israel embassy.
The Tricycle theatre’s Artistic Director, Indhu Rubasingham, said, “The festival receives funding from the Israeli embassy and given the current conflict in Israel and Gaza, we feel it is inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved.”
Indhu also said, “We offered to provide alternative funding to cover the loss of the contribution from the Israeli embassy. We want the festival.”
Although the UKJFF has declined the offer and will be taking their festival elsewhere.
This was an important event for both the theatre and London’s Jewish community, with 26 films and 6 gala events scheduled. The Tricycle theatre has hosted the UKJFF for the past eight years. The festival has received support from the Israeli embassy for the past 17 years.
The theatre’s Facebook page attempted to set the record straight about their decision, saying it was apolitical and non-bias (the full Facebook post follows):
The Tricycle theatre’s decision divided Twitter, from local residents to international personalities chiming in:
— Maajid 4 H&K (@MaajidLibDem) August 5, 2014
— Tim Roberts (@Tim_A_Roberts) August 6, 2014
@TricycleTheatre decision vs UK Jewish Film Festival=student politics-desire to target Israeli gvt just ends up boycotting Jewish community
— Theo Blackwell (@camdentheo) August 5, 2014
My husband and I are also financial supporters @TricycleTheatre. You won’t be getting our money again. I am a Jew and damn proud of it.
— Deborah Broide (@DBroide) August 6, 2014
Yes, you are anti-semitic if you apply one rule to Jews and Jewish culture and another rule to everyone else, @TricycleTheatre
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 5, 2014
@TricycleTheatre thank you ..and am glad you took this stance..do not be bullied by israel
— S Khan (@SofiaKhan75) August 6, 2014
— Habiba Hamid (@habibahamid) August 5, 2014
Some provocative, ignorant words being thrown around re the @TricycleTheatre ‘s decision not to accept money from the Israeli embassy.
— Adrian Lester (@AdrianLester) August 5, 2014
— Deebz (@OfficerDibbles1) August 6, 2014
@TricycleTheatre Well done for showing great courage and sensitivity in making your decision. I salute your leadership.
— Yasmin Khan-Sheikh (@Ya5min_BL) August 5, 2014
Sentiment on Twitter shows that there was an unusually high level of negative engagement towards the Tricycle Theatre since the announcement:
The Tricycle was home to this festival for almost a decade, if either the theatre or UKJFF doesn’t budge on their decision, as usual it’s the innocent community who feels the brunt of it.