Divestment Win! London Theater Refuses to Host Festival Sponsored by Israel Embassy

Last November, IJAN and Israeli & Irish supporters had two lively and noisy protests of the Tricycle when they hosted the Israeli-sponsored UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) last year (2 & 13 November 2013). The protest was organized as part of BDS (the effort for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel), and targeted the film festival because it is co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy. Now the Tricycle has refused to host the film festival citing the continued sponsorship of the embassy.

Tricycle 1

Tricycle 2

From IJAN's Protest Last November


This has gotten a lot of attention from the Press in the UK

Tricycle theatre refuses to host UK Jewish Film Festival while it has ...

The Guardian-12 hours ago

Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle theatre, said it had decided to sever ties with the UK Jewish Film Festival over its funding ...

London's Tricycle Theatre Pulls Jewish Film Festival Over Israeli ...
Huffington Post UK-10 hours ago

Tricycle Theatre cancels plans to host UK Jewish Film Festival
Telegraph.co.uk-20 hours ago

The Tricycle Cinema's refusal to host a Jewish Film Festival raises ...
The Independent-2 hours ago

UK Jewish Film Festival Withdraws From Tricycle Theatre In Funding ...
Londonist-10 hours ago

Tricycle Theatre in Jewish film festival row over Israeli funding

BBC News-5 Aug 2014

"The Tricycle serves many communities and celebrates different cultures and through difficult, emotional times must aim for a place of political ...

Major row as Tricycle Theatre boycotts UK Jewish Film Festival over ...

Evening Standard-by Alexandra Rucki-12 hours ago

But the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) said the Tricycle'sdemands were "entirely unacceptable" and it was taking its screenings elsewhere.

Tricycle theatre defends UK Jewish Film Festival 'boycott' move

Jewish Chronicle-5 Aug 2014

In a statement issued on Tuesday, UKJFF executive director Judy Ironside said: “The Tricycle told us that they cannot be associated with a ...

Here's the letter from IJAN to Tricycle artistic director from last November:

Dear Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director,
Tricycle Theatre,
6 November 2013

We say “No” to the Israeli sponsored film festival

We want to let you know why we will be protesting outside the Tricycle during the Jewish Film Festival 2014 of which the Israeli Embassy is a sponsor.

First, may we remind you that last year as the Jewish Film Festival was showing in your cinema, the Israeli state was bombing Gaza. 158 Palestinians were killed; 30 were children. That attack began when Israel murdered Ahmed Jabari, who only hours before had received a draft of, and was expected to respond positively to, a permanent truce agreement between Hamas and Israel.

You say on your website that the Tricycle “views the world through varied lenses, bringing unheard voices into the mainstream . . . [It] is a local venue with an international vision.” What you are enabling by welcoming the Israeli Embassy sponsorship does not fit these criteria. Welcoming Israel by definition censors the voices of Palestinians, those whose country the Israelis occupy, whom they imprison, torture and bomb at will.

The Tricycle has informed us about Afghanistan, Ireland’s Bloody Sunday, US’s Guantanamo, England’s Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and more. It would not have hosted a film festival sponsored by the South African apartheid state especially at the time of the Sharpeville massacre, or the Argentinean junta while it disappeared and tortured tens of thousands, or the Rwandan state when it was committing genocide, or the Sri Lankan state as it was killing tens of thousands of Tamils.

Yet the Tricycle welcomes as a sponsor a state that broke the international boycott of apartheid South Africa - supplying machine guns, missiles, tanks and training, and helped build its nuclear industry; that armed the Argentinean junta even as it killed thousands, including many Jews; that helped arm and train the Rwandan military and Hutu militia which committed genocide against the Tutsis; and armed the Sri Lankan government with patrol boats, aircraft, drones, other warfare technology and training in order to massacre tens of thousands of the Tamil population – war crimes that are currently in the news.

How can the Tricycle ignore that Palestinians are forced into bantustans, complete with pass laws, segregation and other apartheid violence? Or the ongoing siege of Gaza, undermining the long-term health of its inhabitants, particularly ensuring malnutrition among children and alarming levels of anaemia among babies and pregnant women?

Has the Tricycle forgotten the 2008-9 bombing of Gaza designed to terrorize and humiliate the civilian population, with the systematically reckless use of white phosphorus, forcing civilians to be human shields, the wanton destruction of infrastructure: food production, medical facilities, water, power and sewerage facilities, schools and kindergartens? 1,417 Palestinians were killed, including 313 children, and over 5,000 were wounded.

We protest that our Tricycle is associating itself with a government which regularly kills, maims, persecutes, imprisons even little children and humiliates Palestinians of every age; whose major industry is assisting and even spearheading repression round the world.* Your association with Israel misleads, distracts from and normalises its murderous past and present.

Although the security guards outside the Tricycle refused to identify themselves, they appeared to be from the Community Security Trust (CST). The CST says it provides security for Jewish events – in fact our experience is that it is only for Zionist events.

And why was a vanload of police, in addition to the CST, called to our peaceful protest? Given that Israeli apartheid is not loved, especially in multi-racial Kilburn, they know they are not welcome but are accustomed to shutting down opposition and getting their way. Is this who the Tricycle wants to be associated with?

Most of us protesting are your neighbours, local residents, and all of us have valued the Tricycle for all the decades of its existence. The Tricycle’s association with Israel is a betrayal of the standards it claims to uphold: for justice and against state violence. We, your loyal supporters, your audience, ask that you respond wholeheartedly to the Palestinian call for boycott – beginning with the Tricycle refusing to host an Israeli sponsored film festival.





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