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Anti-Semitic double standards: the arts and the Jews

6 August 2014

6 August 2014

‘Would you force anyone else to behave like this?’ the promoters of the UK Jewish Film Festival asked the artistic director of London’s Tricycle Theatre.

Indhu Rubasingham and her colleagues dodged and hummed. They didn’t like the question and did not want to reply to it. The silence was an answer in itself. Of course the theatre would not hold others to the same standard: just Jews.

Accusations of racism are made so often it is hard to see the real thing when it looks you in the eye. Let me spell it out for you. Racism consists of demanding behaviour from a minority you would never dream of demanding from your friends; forcing them to accept standards or privations because of their race.

The Tricycle banned London’s annual Jewish Film Festival yesterday – cancelling 26 showings and six gala performances – after Rubasingham demanded that the festival organisers return a small sum – about £1,400 – they had received from the Israeli embassy. The grant did not come with political conditions attached, any more than an Arts Council grant from the British state comes with insistence that artists promote the policies of the British government. The organisers were not desperate for the money, particularly after the Tricycle offered to cover the loss. (Or rather  offered to cover it with taxpayers’ money from its £725,000 Arts Council grant.) The organisers refused to comply nevertheless. The Tricycle administrators, who included the inevitable progressive Jew, were trying to force them into a political gesture; to make them prove that they accepted its politics before it would let them exhibit their work.

The Tricycle has not gone through the minutiae of the funding for any other group that has visited its premises. It does not demand that comedians and actors issue manifestos that meet with its approval before allowing them to appear. The Tricycle’s press spokeswoman, a hapless flak catcher named Kate Morley, told me that she couldn’t think of any other instance when it had imposed political conditions on performers that had no relevance to the work they were proposing to perform.

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I could go on at length about how the conditions are irrelevant; how the Jewish Film Festival shows films that are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, and tries to promote dialogue, understanding and all the rest of it. I could say that I can find no film it has shown that is propaganda for the current Israeli administration. I could add that if the arts are not a free space, where people can create without fear of intimidation, then we will not have art that is worth having, or indeed art that deserves taxpayer subsidy. I could take care to cover my own back from the inevitable ‘whatabboutery’ which greets everyone who writes on this subject, by saying that I find Israel’s behaviour in Gaza despicable.

But to say any of the above is to sink to the Tricycle’s level. I would be saying in effect, ‘Don’t worry, these are good Jews. Jews who agree with you. Look here is a film condemning the brutal behaviour of the Israeli military and look, over here, another that has no time for the misogyny of ultra-orthodox Jews”.

I refuse to do so because it is not the job of cultural bureaucrats to demand that artists conform to their politics, particularly when they have one standard for Jewish artists and another for everyone else. Not least for themselves.

The Tricycle received £725,000 last year from the British state. That is, the same state that launched an ‘illegal’ war in Iraq and whose current prime minister has been denounced by one of his own ministers for his government’s ‘morally indefensible’ support of Israel. By its own lights, the Tricycle should not touch Cameron’s dirty money. It told the Jewish Film Festival organisers ‘we feel it is inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved’ in the Gaza war. The British government was ‘involved’ in the Iraq war. It is ‘involved’ in Gaza because it allows arms exports to Israel. But you only have to ask if the Tricycle will live up to the same morals it demands of Jews, to know that it will continue to gobble up public funding and say it does not affect what work it shows, while banning others for doing the same and saying the same.

If it were an honourable organisation, the Arts Council would resolve the double standard by withdrawing funding. Its policy documents state: ‘Our definition of diversity encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from creating, participating or enjoying the arts.’ The closure of Britain’s leading Jewish film festival surely prevents ‘people from creating, participating or enjoying the arts.’ If it were to make a stand, the Arts Council would be doing something more important than opposing hypocrites and censors. It would be defusing a dangerous and hysterical culture.

I lived in Birmingham in the years after 1974, when the IRA murdered 21 people in city centre pubs. Everyone who was Irish suffered, and not just the six innocent men who were falsely imprisoned for the atrocities. Irish car workers were beaten up. Irish homes and businesses were firebombed. Wider society encouraged the violence by insisting that Irish citizens must prove their loyalty regardless of whether they represented a threat or not. They had to show that that they were good Irishmen and women, and give reasons for a vengeful public should look elsewhere.

I have had a repugnance of mobs demanding loyalty oaths and imposing collective punishments ever since, whether it is from Muslims after the murders of British troops or Jews after Gaza. And if you do not believe that Arts Council funded intellectuals can populate a mob as easily as a gang of Brummie factory workers, the case of the Tricycle and the Jews should rid you of such snobbish delusions.

 


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Show comments
  • EV docmaker

    It is not the amount of money it is the relationship that the money implies. Jewish film festivals if they even need to exist should be 100% independent of the Zionist state. Otherwise be honest and call yourselves The Zionist Film Festival. Bottom line Jewish themed films should be part of normal festivals that do not identify themselves on the basis of a single group. As someone raised Jewish myself I find the concept of a Jewish film festival horrid and one that takes money from a State that repeatedly massacres the people of Gaza utterly disgusting.

  • DiaKrieg

    “But to say any of the above is to sink to the Tricycle’s level.”

    What cheek! Cohen has just said all of the above, and then pretends he hasn’t. How stupid do you think your readers are?

  • flexdream

    “I lived in Birmingham in the years after 1974, when the IRA murdered 21
    people in city centre pubs. Everyone who was Irish suffered, and not
    just the six innocent men who were falsely imprisoned for the
    atrocities. Irish car workers were beaten up. Irish homes and businesses
    were firebombed. Wider society encouraged the violence by insisting
    that Irish citizens must prove their loyalty regardless of whether they
    represented a threat or not.”

    Is that really what happened or are you exaggerating to make a point? Everyone Irish suffered? Wider society encouraged the violence? Car workers beaten up? Homes and businesses firebombed? Any evidence for any of those statements?

  • Susie Jacobs

    This is an absolutely brilliant piece of writing. Astute and sensitive. Thank you.

  • Tony Alex

    Dear me, I despair at where this country is headed!

  • El Cid

    info “at” tricycle.co.uk

    Want to do something? Write to the director at the address above and tell her what you think of their actions. This article has some good content to use.

    Keep it clean folks.

  • Rob Silvertree

    the liberal left, by default, condones the acts of terror and barbarism around the world. If you see Muslims as victims, you ignore Islam’s true horror. Shame on you for your fashionable, dinner party, stupidity. You are entertainers, stick to what you know.

  • tjamesjones

    I don’t think the Birmingham example really holds. Good grief we’ve heard a lot about the Birmingham 6, those poor victims, but somehow those 21 murders just slip into the ether.

  • me623

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/…/hamas-killed-160….

    Why, it’s genocide! It’s murder! Oh, wait — if the “Palestinians” are
    the ones killing “Palestinian” children, then it doesn’t matter. There
    will be no international media outcry.

    “Hamas
    Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Terror Tunnels,” by Myer
    Freimann, Tablet, July 25, 2014 (thanks to Jerusalem Posts):

    As
    the death toll of Operation Protective Edge rises, the deaths of
    children are firmly in the spotlight—and rightly so. It pains all
    reasonable people to hear of children dying as the consequence of war.
    Hamas and its supporters display gruesome pictures of dead and wounded
    children in order to gain sympathy for their portrait of Israel as the
    villain intent on killing Palestinians. In response, Israel cites the
    need to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets at its own children,
    who are being forced to live in bomb shelters, as well as the need to
    eliminate the tunnels that Hamas dug into Israel in order to carry out
    terror attacks against Israelis. One tunnel opening was found underneath
    an Israeli kindergarten.

    But
    who built those tunnels? The answer is Hamas, of course—using some of
    the same children who are now trapped under fire in Gaza.

    The
    Institute for Palestine Studies published a detailed report on Gaza’s
    Tunnel Phenomenon in the summer of 2012. It reported that tunnel
    construction in Gaza has resulted in a large number of child deaths.

    “At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials”

    The
    author, Nicolas Pelham, explains that Hamas uses child laborers to
    build their terror tunnels because, “much as in Victorian coal mines,
    they are prized for their nimble bodies”.

    Human
    rights groups operating in Gaza raised concerns about child labor in
    the tunnels as far back as 2008. Hamas responded by saying it was
    “considering curbs.” Following Operation Cast Lead in 2009 Hamas
    softened its position and the Interior Ministry established the Tunnel
    Affairs Commission (TAC) which, “In response to public concern at a
    rising toll of tunnel casualties, particularly of child workers…issued
    guidelines intended to ensure safe working conditions.” No mention is
    made in the report of the conditions that would result for both
    Palestinian and Israeli children from building tunnels that would be
    used to launch terror attacks.

    Nor
    does it seem that Hamas paid much subsequent attention to ensuring the
    safety of the child workers that it used to build the tunnels that would
    wind up endangering the lives of many in Gaza. On a tour of the tunnels
    in 2011, Pelham noted that, “nothing was done to impede the use of
    children in the tunnels.”

    Not
    only are Hamas misappropriating much of the humanitarian aid supplied
    to Gaza—800,000 tons of cement were used to construct the terror tunnels
    into Israel—they are also directly exploiting and endangering Gaza’s
    youth in their construction and operation.

    • allan

      It’s horrible that children and civilians are being killed. The Israelis have a right, and a duty, to do their best to eliminate the infrastructure of an enemy determined to kill them. Hamas is doing it’s utmost to indiscrinately kill israeli civilians. They are not only trying to do that they proudly proclaim it.

  • me623

    there is nothing wrong with the Israeli government and you ignorant dolt should do some more thorough reseearch instead of being “informed” by bbc who is funded by a real terrorist government Qatar! the media slander against Israel and the IDF is what is truly despicable! do you know the lengths the IDF goes to to avoid civilian casualties.. do you know how difficult it is for them since hamas stages their headquarters under a hospital and uses human shields (as well confirmed and veriifed by many sources), launches thousands of rockets into Israel from densely populated areas deliberately to cause as much innocent loss of life as possible as they even state such! the only ones who should be defunded is hamas by all governments and the UN.! you are CLUELESS! Israel and it’s government and it’s military are more moral and ethical than any nation on earth but anti-semtic knee jerk reactors, like you, rush to judgement and believe all the propaganda and lies coming from that “moral” sect known as islam.. islam responsible for more deaths than anything in the history of mankind and currently waging persecutions and barbaric atrocities across the globe!!!! arab countries persecuted Jews out of their homelands across the middle east!!!! but Israel has a very diverse culture and everyone has equal rights.. Jews arent allowed in “palestine” but yet Israel regularly treats them in their hospitals! are you so f’n ignorant you cannot discern cause and effect and fact frojm fiction as far as a country needing security measures due to relentless attacks on their civilian population?????????? no other country would tolerate as Israel has the thousands of rockets and hamas is not fighting for anything but to destroy Israel (Jews) as is stated in their charter! they couldnt care less about the “palestinians” .. the despicable behavior are the palestiians who teach their children that murdering a Jew is more important than their own lives! there is extensive evidence of this!!! Israel has a right to defend it’s citizens from constant rocket attacks and the call for their destruction!!! if you dont think so youre the one who is utterly despicable and ignorant! nothing but lies come out of the palestiinian region which is known to produce endless propagandist videos showing the IDF to be abusing the palestinians but it’s all staged.. you need to get your head out of the anti-semitic media swamp!!!

  • me623
  • Daniel Jeyn

    The Gramscians laugh at us. What we think is a bug in the arts machinery was intended to be a feature all along. It’s about toxifying the concept of “Western” or “Liberal” or “Anglo-Saxon” values as indefensible in the face of the clever sophistry of Totalitarianism. The canaries have suddenly grown silent. Heed it well.

  • elena

    What a disgusting manipulation of the truth and its wider perception in the majority of these ultra biased posts – proof of confirmaton bias indeed. Have any of you actually ever hung out at The Tricycle, walked in its environs or even tried to open-heartedly consider http://www.tricycle.co.uk/16748/the-tricycle-theatre-and-the-uk-jewish-film-festival/ . Such a bullying and arrogant tone about liberal / left here, is this typical of Spectator readers? I wonder which of the arts and which of the great artists who abound here could possibly turn you on.

  • P Observer

    liberal left, rabid right what century are you living in?

  • Lydia Robinson

    The theatre is probably afraid of being attacked by pro Pal protesters, thereby showing the same craven cowardice as has been shown over Rushdie, the Mohammed cartoons and a more recent incident in Edinburgh where an Israeli troupe were banned owing to threats. It’s characteristic of the way the left and their Muslim pals behave when things don’t go their way. Visit any leftie forum and note how any “discussion” descends quickly into threats and the vilest of personal abuse. Now imagine those same people out on the street, smashing up shops or the Tricycle theatre and you can see why people are frightened and intimidated.

  • Lydia Robinson

    “If it were an honourable organisation, the Arts Council would resolve the double standard by withdrawing funding”

    The Arts Council has just withdrawn all the grant for the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond on the grounds that it’s a wealthy area and they can raise money easily. Just so there’s plenty left over for the Palestinian film festival which will replace the Jewish one shortly.

  • Picquet

    The hypocrisy of Hamas’s supportive fools is on show every day in the Guardian. Meanwhile, Provisional Sinn Fein over the water has Hamas’s chief representative speaking for them at grisly commemorations of terrorism; seems fitting, I suppose.

  • you_kid

    Does every page that reflects something or another concerning Jewish culture now have to turn into an absolute slaughterhouse for haters of pork-haters?

  • http://endtimechaverim.wordpress.com Princess

    It seems the West has taken the same tactic as the Muslim world, in holding its Jewish population hostage. They can’t get at the nation of Israel and so will go after their local Jewish population. Soon no Jew will be safe in the diaspora.

  • Bill Pearlman

    It always amazes me how liberals line up with hamas/hezbollah/ Islamic Jihad, and the rest, against Israel.

  • InbredBlockhead

    More self serving B-S from the people who gave the world ilya Ehrenberg, the man who invented the big lie.

  • Jeremy Shotts

    This is a one-sided response to a 2-sided narrative that blames Israel alone and ignores the tenets and methods of Hamas an openly racist orgnisation that really does advocate genocide as a matter of principle. In terms of strategy this boycott and any other like it does the worst thing possible by strenghening extremists on both sides – by telling Hamas that terror violence and hate propagation works – and by allowing the right wing in Israel to claim that everyone is against ‘us’ anyway, a real recruitment drive for them. Well done peace lovers!!!

    • Damaris Tighe

      Totally agree with this analysis.

    • paul hatton

      The Tricycle’s response isn’t one-sided, it hasn’t blamed or condoned anyone, it has simply said it cannot have the Israeli Embassy logo on its literature and advertising (which is what patronage involves). It hasn’t taken money from Hamas or anyone else who might compromise its political neutrality, it has even refused to house Labour party fundraisers in recent times.

      It also did this in a quiet dignified way. Who has made this issue VERY public? And who has insisted on the ‘right’ to accept money from the Israeli Embassy, thus making Jewish culture synonomous with the Israeli Government at a very contentious time? Not the Tricycle.

      • Jeremy Shotts

        Sir, I will respond to your last assertion first as it most
        typifies the insidious nature of what is happening here. In quite a patronising and offensive manner you are trying to turn the tables and state that we the Jews are to blame for politicising an issue. And you have the chutzpah to state that what has been done is OK because it has been done quietly. We Jews should
        respond therefore by being ‘dignified’ and accepting it. Well allow me to retort.
        This decision by the Tricycle is one-sided because it is
        directed at Jews alone in a unique way. Now you will say that Israel is not ‘the Jews’, but this is a Jewish event supported by the Jewish community and its friends and all lovers of Jewish Film. A spokesperson for the theatre has already admitted that such a step is quite unprecedented. The decision amounts to an unwarranted and completely political interference with the funding of a totally apolitical cultural event. This is Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction by stealth. Israel is a sovereign
        state – not a political party – and as far as I am aware its Embassy still is a legitimate body in this country, and not subject to any particular sanction. We Jews are unfortunate enough to have only a single country in the world which we regard as a safe haven should we find ourselves – for whatever reason – threatened or imperilled in the countries where we are loyal citizens. A majority of us see Israel as a symbol and guarantee of our freedom and – while we may be critical personally of some of its actions – we still take pride in its astonishing positive achievements and contributions to the world at large over its life. It is completely natural that we would expect and be happy to receive funding from Israel for such an event, especially given its own excellent contribution to the world of Film, including, because of its continuous upholding of the right of freedom of expression, many films that are highly critical of its Government and supportive of the Palestinian cause. For the Tricycle to seek to prevent this is quite outrageous, insulting, and offensive and is simply giving in to the rule of Mob and Media, which have been acting as a kangaroo court on Israel over the last few weeks. This is far from dignified, and it is hardly a surprise that the organisers flatly refused to accept the bribe offered – on behalf
        of the British taxpayer – to maintain a dignified silence. We Jews are quite understandably determined never do the ‘dignified silence’ routine again in the hope that these behaviours will somehow run out of steam.
        Furthermore the assertion that the appearance of the symbol
        of the Israeli Embassy on the event’s literature is problematic is a clear admission of the double standards involved here. Who is this supposed to offend? It is utter hypocrisy to suggest – in this City where public transport systems can be labelled ‘Emirates’ via vast financial contributions of funds – that the label of a legitimate embassy on some programmes and advertising is unacceptable. For that matter I do not see many supporters of human rights out there on the streets protesting against the staging of the World Cup in Qatar, the wholehearted financial
        and moral supporter of Hamas, its deeds and its ends.
        And I will not mince words and avoid the now unfashionable anti-Semitism label here because the EU – to which we still
        belong – has clearly defined that anti-Semitism can and does take the form of applying unique and different standards to, and singling out for special treatment, the Jewish State. That’s not coming from us whingeing Jews. If it looks like it, sounds
        like, smells like it, that’s what it is – to be named and shamed – even if it is ‘anti-Semitism Lite’, because that is how it always starts.

        • paul hatton

          First of all, yes I was pretty appalled when a public transport line’s
          name was purchased by an airline, I would have been equally appalled
          even if it had been BA or Virgin, but the Tricycle wasn’t involved with
          that was it?

          I cited the Labour party as an example, it’s
          difficult to think of an analogy that is appropriate or likely,
          (comparing the Israeli Embassy money to Hamas money or North Korean
          money – as others have done – is both unhelpful and improbable). Because
          there is no appropriate analogy, please tell me when an event at the
          Tricycle was financially supported by the Embassy of a foreign country?
          More specifically, tell me when it was funded by a foreign Embassy
          currently involved in VERY controversial military actions? When we know
          this, we can start a discussion about whether or not this SPECIFIC case
          was inherently anti-semetic or inconsistent. To the best of my knowledge it has never
          happened, Nick Cohen could check his facts and tell us WHEN it happened,
          (his one example is accepting Arts Council money during times that the
          UK was militarily involved).

          You say that the theatre has already stated that the position is unprecedented, well of course it is! No-one else has ever demanded the ‘right’ to (effectively) put the logo of a foreign country on the theatre’s literature at a time when that country was engaged in actions seen as very contoversial in the UK. I doubt very much if the theatre would have wanted to be seen as endorsing the American Embassy when that country was invading Iraq. What is inconsistent or anti-semetic about that?

          The JFF is a private organisation,
          it is answerable to no-one but its supporters (whom I hope it sees as
          anyone wanting to see good Jewish films). It is entitled to take the
          attitude that it has the right to accept money from any legal
          organisation, it is specifically entitled to argue (if it wishes) that
          the identification between Jewish-ness and Israel is so strong that it
          welcomes Israeli Embassy money (it hasn’t as far as I know stated either
          of these explicitly … I am simply conjecturing as to what its logic
          might be).

          The Tricycle, however is entitled to value its political neutrality above all else. Irrestible force meets immovable object.

          You
          say I am ‘turning the tables’, I don’t think so, the JFF is denying the
          Tricycle’s right to maintain its neutrality and assuming an absolute
          ‘right’ to be hosted by the theatre.

          Was there decision ‘politica’, well yes to the extent that they sought to both preserve thei neutrality and at the same time have the festival (it’s what they exist to do, put on cultural events, in the hope that this celebrates, entertains and contributes to understanding).

          A sad irony of all this is that the festival (and
          the Tricycle) have garnered more media attention than they ever would
          from simply holding a film festival … which I believe is what they
          both wanted to do.

          • Jeremy Shotts

            Look Paul. You are a polite and well-mannered guy and talk respectfully on this issue and I am grateful for that. We’d probably get on well in the general scheme of things. It is hard to have a reasoned debate with
            folk who rant and shout and make wild accusations – and there are far too many of those about, including some supporters of Israel I am afraid. So I will continue to respond in kind.

            I am quite sure that neither you nor the worthy folk at the
            Tricycle would consider yourselves Jew-haters, so the epithet anti-Semite probably sounds exaggerated and unfair. But then Jeremy Clarkson – who was
            caught repeating a ‘harmless’ nursery rhyme – and Godfrey Bloom – who referred generically to African countries as ‘bongo bongo land’ will certainly claim they have not a racist bone in their bodies. With
            discriminatory behaviours there is always an element of subjectivity and interpretation, and the context you give of a controversial time need to be considered also in the light of the Jewish Community feeling itself utterly ‘under
            siege’ at the moment. You say that this is a unique set of circumstances because the IDF is involved in “VERY controversial” military actions. Our view would be that while there is controversy about the nature and scale of Israel’s response, everyone seems to be happy to support Israel’s right of self-defence while no-one seems prepared to say how exactly it is supposed to do so without causing civilian casualties. At the same time they are very willing to condemn the IDF for causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties based solely on numbers sourced from Hamas, which are already being shown (very quietly) by the media to have been deliberately distorted. This steady drip of insinuation and
            blatant accusation has created an atmosphere of deliberate rage and anger which hurts us deeply. You accept in the end that this is a political decision by the
            Tricycle to ensure ‘neutrality’. But how does demanding that the organisers take funds only from ‘approved’ source ensure neutrality? This is NOT a political
            event and the Tricycle it NOT a political body. You have avoided answering my question “Who would this offend?” I will therefore answer: only those who have
            already taken their ‘side’ and labelled Israel a pariah state. And most of these people had already done this long before the most recent outbreak of hostilities,
            and will continue to do so. In fact there has not been a period in the last 60 years where these groups have not objected to Israel’s right to exist – let alone its right to defend itself. Israel has always contributed funds to this event before and it is the Tricycle in some misguided and ill-considered political statement that has chosen to change the status quo. You cannot therefore still seek (your last supposedly conciliatory paragraph) to blame the organisers or the Jewish Community at large for responding to this as it has done and for the dismay of Jews at this decision. This comes in the wake of hate preaching on the streets, Palestinian flags on council buildings and streets, supported by local governments in Glasgow and Tower Hamlets. With discrimination
            – including anti-Semitism – context and perception is everything.
            (By the way regarding the absolute importance
            of de-politicisation of cultural events, last year I and members of a North London Synagogue attended a wonderful Haj exhibition at the British Museum –
            after a Moslem friend of mine shared his amazing positive experiences of the Haj with me. In spite of Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on treatment of women and LGBT people – by Law – I am sure none of us would even consider rejecting their funding or refusing to have their flag or any emblem associated with their country appearing on the documents of the event. Because this would reduce the chances of establishing engagement and good relations. So what is going on here?)

            At this point I rest my case. I have expended a lot of time and thought about this and I just hope you are really listening carefully. So many have now just blocked their ears that it is very disheartening.

            • paul hatton

              Jeremy, thankyou also for your courtesy. I want to say one thing clearly. I’m not SURE that the Tricycle was right, but I am very clear that it is not getting a fair hearing, and am fairly disgusted by some of the vitriol that is heading – not only in its direction – but also in the direction of anyone not prepared to join the outcry (yesterday, the Jewish Chronicle printed a list of those Jewish sponsors, who had either refused to join the Tricycle boycott, who were undecided, or uncontactable … printing the names of supporters of the boycott is understandable, but contacting and then ‘naming and shaming’ those who haven’t is pretty shameful IMO … I had a higher opinion of the JC).

              We are both too grown-up to not understand that any arts organisation can never be wholly a-political (and if it were it would be pretty anodyne). But there is a thin line sometimes, whether the Trike would have braver to take a different position and say that the (paltry) embassy money had not

              compromised the CONTENT of the JFF, I’m not sure.

              I am fairly sure that there are imaginable circumstances in which the British Museum would have ‘called off’ the Saudi exhibition you attended, or that YOU personally would have found it impossible to attend it.

              Take care

      • Jeremy Shotts

        Sir, I will respond to your last assertion first as it most typifies the insidious nature of what is happening here. In quite a patronising
        and offensive manner you are trying to turn the tables and state that we the Jews are to blame for politicising an issue. And you have the chutzpah to state that what has been done is OK because it has been done quietly. We Jews should respond therefore by being ‘dignified’ and accepting it. Well allow me to
        retort.
        This decision by the Tricycle is one-sided because it is
        directed at Jews alone in a unique way. Now you will say that Israel is not ‘the Jews’, but this is a Jewish event supported by the Jewish community and its friends and all lovers of Jewish Film. A spokesperson for the theatre has already admitted that such a step is quite unprecedented. The decision amounts to an unwarranted and completely political interference with the funding of a totally apolitical cultural event. This is Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction by stealth. Israel is a sovereign
        state – not a political party – and as far as I am aware its Embassy still is a legitimate body in this country, and not subject to any particular sanction. We Jews are unfortunate enough to have only a single country in the world which we regard as a safe haven should we find ourselves – for whatever reason – threatened or imperilled in the countries where we are loyal citizens. A majority of us see Israel as a symbol and guarantee of our freedom and – while we may be critical personally of some of its actions – we still take pride in its astonishing positive achievements and contributions to the world at large over its life. It is completely natural that we would expect and be happy to receive funding from Israel for such an event, especially given its own excellent contribution to the world of Film, including, because of its continuous upholding of the right of freedom of expression, many films that are highly critical of its Government and supportive of the Palestinian cause. For the Tricycle to seek to prevent this is quite outrageous, insulting, and offensive and is simply giving in to the rule of Mob and Media, which have been acting as a kangaroo court on Israel over Gaza during the last few weeks. This is far from dignified, and it is hardly a surprise that the organisers flatly refused to accept the bribe offered – on behalf of the British taxpayer – to maintain a dignified silence.
        We Jews are quite naturally determined never do the ‘dignified silence’ routine again in the hope that these behaviours will run out of steam.
        Furthermore the assertion that the appearance of the symbol
        of the Israeli Embassy on the event’s literature is problematic is a clear admission of the double standards involved here. Who is this supposed to offend? It is utter hypocrisy to suggest – in this City where public transport systems can be labelled ‘Emirates’ via vast financial contributions of funds – that the label of a legitimate embassy on some programmes and advertising is unacceptable. For that matter I do not see many supporters of human rights out there on the streets protesting against the staging of the World Cup in Qatar, the wholehearted financial
        and moral supporter of Hamas, its deeds and its ends.
        And I will not mince words and avoid the now unfashionable
        anti-Semitism label here because the EU – to which we still belong – has clearly defined that anti-Semitism can and does take the form of applying unique and different standards to and singling out for special treatment – the Jewish State. That’s not coming from us whingeing Jews. If it looks like it, sounds
        like, smells like it, that’s what it is – to be named and shamed – even if it is ‘anti-Semitism Lite’, because that is how it always starts.

  • JB_1966

    What else do you expect from leftist filth Mr Cohen? Are you still struggling to comprehend the movement to which you belong?

  • gulliver999

    Boo hoo hoo anti semitism blubber splutter holocaust dribble

    • Rob in Madison

      You’re absolutely right. Cohen could’ve made his points without invoking the Holocaust four different times in the course of a short essay.

  • Bubblejet

    Accepting money from a foreign embassy is NOT the same as accepting it from the Arts Council. Tbh, I wouldn’t be happy working with a group who accepted money from the Saudi government, or China, North Korea etc. any more than from Israel. If you accept funding from foreign regimes with poor human rights records, you tacitly condone those regimes.

    • mohdanga

      Yes, Israel is on par with China and North Korea for human rights violations. Now go get a cookie from mommy and have a nap.

  • gross profit

    Progressives, like Islamic terrorists are the cancer of society.

  • Lucya Almeida

    This article makes a good argument against the ban but it should be called ” double standards in what’s acceptable as support for the arts”. Not all criticism of Israel (government and policies) is anti-semitic and making it so I think can take away from real anti-semitism. I am sure the sponsors here of the jewish film festival are not anti-Semitic or they would have not supported the festival in the 1st place but this article makes a valid argument against the ban

  • paul hatton

    I see no evidence of the Tricycle demanding a ‘loyalty oath’ from anyone, rather the opposite, the organisers effectively INSISTED on the right to put the Israeli Embassy logo on the Tricycle’s literature and website, rather than choose to have no position (positive or negative) with regard to the present conflict, chose not to say that one can celebrate Jewish culture WITHOUT either endorsing or condemning the Israeli Government actions.

    Also every commentator (here and elsewhere), who pathologises any Jewish opinion apart from their own as ‘self-hating Jew’, is demanding a loyalty oath (unequivocally support Israel, or you aren’t REALLY Jewish, your opinion is the result of abnormal pathology).

    I suspect that many Jewish, as well as non-Jewish people are as confused and perplexed about the rights and wrongs of the middle-east as I myself sometimes am.

    Apart from the Arts Council, David Cohen gives no instance of the
    Tricycle EVER having accepted funding from ANY foreign government, nor
    any overtly political organisation.

    Whether anyone agrees with them or not, their position has been consistent in wanting the festival but not wanting to be associated with a particular government.

  • gross profit

    Pandering to their ever growing Muslim population. They’ll be sorry one day but then it will be too late. Let them reap what they sow.

  • PeteCW

    (Or rather offered to cover it with taxpayers’ money from its £725,000 Arts Council grant.)

    We’re all paying for these gormless anti-Jewish fuckers then?

  • Bill Pearlman

    England had and actually has a Jewish population. Productive, patriotic. No riots, no problems. Not good enough. Now you have a Moslem cancer in your midst. Good luck with that one

    • mohdanga

      ‘Diversity is our strength!!’

  • jmgreen

    You support Israel and that is it really – the Tricycle welcomed the Jewish Film Festival just not the sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy. The fact that you can’t understand why people might not want the Israeli Embassy logo on their material at the moment shows a complete lack of empathy.

    • Alexsandr

      why not. what have Israel done wrong? They have returned fire to an aggressor.
      Tricycle should return their funding to the Arts Council if they cant be 100% inclusive. And the Arts council should actually be actively asking for the money back.

      • MountainousIpswich

        They have committed war crimes including white phosphorus, flechette shells, bombing civilians and bombing UN shelters.

        Any other country that committed such crimes would likewise be met with an cultural boycott.

        • ab

          You succeeded to squeeze many lies into one sentence.
          1. WP is not illegal as long as its used properly, and I don’t think Israel used WP shells in this war.
          2. Flechettes are perfectly legal.
          3. Israel targets only terrorists. Civilians dies because Hamas called the citizens not to evacuate battle areas, and because Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders turned their own houses to command centers.
          4. In one incident Israel targeted a terrorist firing mortar shells from within an UNRWA school, photos shows that there were no citizens on the scene when the IDF fired its missile. Second incident was in fact outside an UNRWA school, when a terrorist riding a motorcycle was hit by an accurate IDF missile. UNRWA refused to evacuate schoolsshelters on the few neighborhoods the IDF had called to evacuate because of the fierce battles expected in them, this is because UNRWA cooperated with Hamas while risking the life of Gaza’s citizens.

          • MountainousIpswich

            1. Does this look like White phosphorus being used properly to you?
            http://www.vtjp.org/images/eiimage004a.jpg

            2. The only court to rule that Flechette weapons are legal is the Israeli High Court – International courts have ruled no such thing. I’m sure that if Israel felt it necessary to nuke Gaza the Israeli high court would rule it legal.

            3. Israel clearly targets civilians. Here is the proof
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBakqLUBWP0&bpctr=1407445689

            You can claim that it is Hamas’ fault that civilians are dying but Gaza is 1.8 million people in a 27×7 square mile area. There is nowhere for civilians to go, nowhere to escape to. The bombing may have started out targeted. It became indiscriminate very very quickly.

            4. Doesn’t matter. Israel bombed UN shelters. Illegally.

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