The UK Jewish Film Festival has taken the decision to withdraw its screenings from the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, following a request by the Tricycle’s board of directors that the festival stop taking sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy. The Tricycle – a well-respected centre for theatre and film which has hosted screenings at the festival for several years – made the request in response to recent events in Gaza which have seen hundreds of civilians killed in heavy bombardment. Accusations of anti-semitism quickly flared on social media, with notable figures including Maureen Lipman and Jon Ronson expressing their displeasure with the theatre’s stance. This provoked a swift response from the Tricycle’s artistic director Indhu Rubasingham, who took pains to clarify the Tricycle’s position. ‘We have proudly hosted the UK Jewish Film Festival for many years,’ she wrote on the Tricycle website. ‘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… We regret that, following discussions, the chair of the UKJFF told us that he wished to withdraw the festival from the Tricycle.’ On the UKJFF’s website, Chairman Stephen Margolis said that ‘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.’
The UK Jewish Film Festival will take place at venues across London in November, while the Tricycle will continue to offer the best in new film and theatre productions.