The Tricycle Theatre, in Kilburn High Road, Kilburn, announced on Tuesday it would be withdrawing from the annual event, which showcases cinema of Jewish heritage, because it is part-funded by the Israeli Embassy.
Artistic director of the theatre, Indhu Rubasingham, wrote on the venue’s website: “The Tricycle has always welcomed the festival and wants it to go ahead.
“We have proudly hosted the UKJFF for many years.
“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.
“For that reason, we asked the UKJFF to reconsider its sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy.
“We also offered to replace that funding with money from our own resources.
“The Tricycle serves many communities and celebrates different cultures and through difficult, emotional times must aim for a place of political neutrality.”
The theatre clarified that it does not accept sponsorship from any government agency involved in the conflict.
It was set to screen films such as My Best Holidays, Forerign Letters and Summer Story, from which would start today (Thursday) and run until August 31.
Ms Rubasingham wrote: “We hope to find a way to work with the UKJFF to allow the festival to go ahead at the Tricycle as it has done so successfully for the past 8 years.”
UKJFF chairman Stephen Margolis said: “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.”
Festival founder July Ironside said the festival has sought to showcase a broad perspective of the long-running conflict, one she claims the Tricycle has chosen to ignore.
She said: “We pride ourselves on showing a diverse programme of films, which present a comprehensive view of international Jewish life and Israeli films are of course an important part of that.”
In 2012, the theatre hosted comedian and activity Mark Thomas’s show, Extreme Rambling (Walking The Wall), a one-man gig about his efforts to walk the length of the the Israeli West Bank barrier.
And last year it showedthe film ‘A Bottle in the Gaza Sea’, which told the story of a Palestinian and an Israeli becoming close friends, and working to change the conflict that has separated their cultures.