The UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) will not be held at the Tricycle Theatre this year because of a row over funding.The Director of the Festival told the Jewish Chronicle:
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 The UKJFF decided to keep its sponsorship and has now withdrawn the festival from the venue.
She said: “That the Tricycle Theatre have shown themselves unwilling to work with what is clearly an apolitical cultural festival is tremendously disappointing.I have never attended the festival but have seen the programmes and do not recall it screening any strong Israeli propaganda. The chances are (though, obviously, I do not know) that a good many of those involved with the festival oppose the Gaza war or accept it with a heavy heart as an unavoidable and hard necessity. Apprently, the Tricycle was not interested in establishing the truth about that and its offer of making up the money (out of what?) was disingenuous to put it mildly. The Festival is looking for another home and, if I have anything to do with it, the Tricycle, where I have been, will lose a good many putative audience members.
"They have chosen a boycott over meaningful engagement – to the great detriment of this celebration of Jewish culture.”
A further statement from the UKJFF said it had "considered the demands of the theatre to be entirely unacceptable and is now taking its screenings elsewhere".
It added that the festival had received support from the embassy for the past 17 years, "portraying the unmistakable cultural connection between the Jewish people and the state of Israel".
But it stressed that the festival was "entirely apolitical, showcasing perspectives from both sides of the conflict in the Middle East."