October 15, 2014

Saying No to Brand Israel

From the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

NO ISRAELI FUNDING OF THE ARTS


IJAN is centrally involved in the No Israeli Funding of the Arts initiative – we want everyone we are in touch with to know that the Israeli-funded UKJFF (UK Jewish Film Festival) is taking place this year (6-23 November) in cinemas in Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Nottingham.
We have written to all the cinemas – see our letter below – and we are asking that you contact your local (or even a distant) cinema by phone, email, website, leaflet or street protest, and let them know what you think of them hosting an Israeli-funded event. (All cinema contact details are at end of this email.) Call or write to the local press or call-in radio to tell them what you think of their not caring for the Jewish films, only for the Israeli rebranding (see below).
Check the UKJFF calendar to find when each cinema is hosting UKJFF films.  The opening gala night is at the London BFI on 6 November – we are planning to protest their collaboration with the slaughterers of the Gazan people.
Note: IJAN workshop, From Gaza to Ferguson @ Anarchist Bookfair, 18 Oct, 3-4pm
NO ISRAELI FUNDING OF THE ARTS
LETTER TO CINEMAS HOSTING THE UK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL


We are writing to you as one of the cinemas hosting the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) 6-23 November, 2014, to ask that you reconsider.

Who we are
We are a diverse group, including Israeli and other Jewish people, most of us local to, and often in the audience of, the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, northwest London. In 2012 local residents leafleted the cinema to oppose its hosting of the Israeli-sponsored UKJFF; in 2013 we protested outside the Tricycle when it again hosted the UKJFF. (The protests were called by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.)

Tricycle / UKJFF
This year, many including ourselves, welcomed the Tricycle’s stand against the festival’s funding by the Israeli Embassy during Israel’s 50-day slaughter on Gaza.
The Tricycle had offered the organisers of the UKJFF replacement funding so that the film festival could go ahead at the Tricycle.  But the UKJFF refused their offer and to dissociate itself from the Israeli government – the priority was Israeli sponsorship, rather than the film festival.  Is the UKJFF merely a means to a political end, to give Israel a humanist image?

Who attacked the Tricycle
The Government’s Chief Whip, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Israeli Ambassador, each publicly attacked the Tricycle for having refused Israeli sponsorship.  They slandered the Tricycle by accusing it of antisemitism; as did donors and local councillors who threatened to withdraw funds and involve the Charity Commission.

Who defended the Tricycle
Support came from National Theatre director, Nicholas Hytner, acclaimed director Lenny Abrahamson; over 500 artists, including prominent theatre directors and playwrights, some of whom affirmed “We artists have a right to boycott” (letter to the Stage); and note the artists’ solidarity page: “The Tricycle Theatre is Not Anti-Semitic.

In July, Scottish artists, including National Poet Liz Lochhead, signed an open letter in The Herald protesting an Israeli-funded theatre company at the Edinburgh Fringe. After vociferous public protest, the show closed after one performance.

Following the Tricycle’s refusal of Israeli funding, the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol and artists from the 31st Sao Paulo Art Biennial in Brazil also refused Israeli funding.

What Israel’s apologists did
While crying antisemitism, Israel’s apologists used their attack on the Tricycle to try to distract the public from Gaza: from seeing Israeli politicians, religious authorities, journalists and the public, calling for mass rape, mass murder, even genocide of Palestinians; from the bloodied tanks, F16s, drones, bunker busters, sea-to-land missiles, remote-controlled machine guns, that blasted schools, hospitals, mosques, blocks of flats, children playing football; and from the 2,200 Gazans killed -- over 500 children, and half a million displaced.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine found evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.

What happened to the Tricycle
Even while Gaza was being destroyed, the Tricycle was forced to retreat.  But actress Maureen Lipman, advocating for the UKJFF admitted that they knew the depth of the community’s support for the theatre’s stand, announcing that the festival was unlikely to go back to the Tricycle any time soon.

That stand reaffirmed that the arts are social and political.  It was welcomed by anti-racists everywhere. And please note: both the local council and the Arts Council ruled out loss of funding.

What we want you to do
The assistant manager of the Everyman cinema insisted that “refusing to host any arts festival on political grounds will cause more harm than good.” (Email, 10 September 2014.) The Everyman’s is not a principled position – it is complicity and appeasement.  It is the argument of those who refused to boycott South African apartheid.

Who knows better than Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a proponent of cultural boycott, who said, “We in South Africa know about oppression and occupation and know about the power of BDS” (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions)?

We ask that you take direction from the anti-racist, non-violent, Palestinian-led BDS movement.

We ask that you refuse to host the UKJFF – not because it is Jewish, of course, but because it is funded by the Israeli Embassy.  The embassy’s job, especially in London (the boycott “hub”) is to promote what it calls Brand Israel – state-sponsored propaganda, designed to camouflage Israeli brutality within a smokescreen of culture, including film festivals.

We ask that you side with the victims and survivors of the assault on Gaza – not be part of the cover-up of war crimes being committed against them.



CINEMAS HOSTING THE UKJFF
Glasgow
Venue              CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts)
Address           350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3JD
Email               gen@cca-glasgow.com
Telephone       0141 352 4900

Venue              Glasgow Film Theatre
Address           12 Rose St, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RB
Email               jaki.mcdougall@glasgowfilm.org (Chief Executive)
Telephone       0141 332 6535 
Leeds
Venue              MAZCC
Address           311 Stonegate Road, Leeds LS17 6AZ
Email:              enquiries@ljwb.co.uk
Telephone       0113 268 4211

Venue              Seven Arts Centre
Address           31(a) Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 3PD
Email               info@sevenleeds.co.uk
Telephone       0113 26 26 777

London

Venue              Arthouse Crouch End
Address:          159A Tottenham Lane, N8 9BT
Email               info@arthousecrouchend.co.uk
Telephone       020 8245 3099

Venue              BAFTA British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Address           195 Piccadilly, W1J 9LN
Email               info@bafta.org
Telephone       020 7734 0022

Venue              Barbican
Address           Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Email               film@barbican.org.uk
Telephone       020 7638 4141

Venue              BFI Southbank
Address           Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XT
Email               director@bfi.org.uk
Telephone       020 7255 1444

Venue              Ciné Lumière
Address           17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT
Email               box.office@institutfrancais.org.uk   
Telephone       020 7871 3515

Venue              Curzon Mayfair
Address           38 Curzon Street, W1J 7TY
Email               manager.mayfair@curzon.com

Venue              Odeon Muswell Hill
Address           Fortis Green Road, N10 3HP
Telephone       0207 321 6237 (conferencing & events)

Venue              Everyman Maida Vale
Address           215 Sutherland Avenue, W9 1RU
Email               maidavale.manager@everymancinema.com
Telephone       0871 906 9060 

Venue              Everyman Hampstead
Address           5 Holly Bush Vale, NW3 6TX
Email               hampstead.manager@everymancinema.com
Telephone       0871 906 9060 

Venue              JW3
Address           341-351 Finchley Road, London NW3 6ET
Email               info@jw3.org.uk
Telephone       020 7433 8988

Venue              LJCC (London Jewish Cultural Centre)
Address           Ivy House, 94-96 North End Road, NW11 7SX
Email               admin@ljcc.org.uk 
Contact form   http://www.ljcc.org.uk/contact/ 
Telephone       020 8457 5000

Venue              Odeon South Woodford
Address           60/64 High Road, South Woodford, E18 2QL
Telephone       0207 321 6237 (conferencing & events)

Venue              Odeon Swiss Cottage
Address           96 Finchley Rd, NW3 5EL
Telephone       0207 321 6237 (conferencing & events)

Venue              Phoenix Cinema
Address           52 High Road, East Finchley, N2 9PJ
Email               management@phoenixcinema.co.uk 
Telephone       020 8444 6789

Manchester
Venue              Cornerhouse
Address           70 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5NH
Email               info@cornerhouse.org
Telephone       0161 228 7621 

Venue              Cineworld Didsbury
Address           Parrs Wood Entertainment Centre, Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 5PG
Contact form   https://www.cineworld.co.uk/contact  (250 words max.)
Telephone       0208 742 4010 

Venue              Menorah
Address           198 Altrincham Rd, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 4RZ
Email               filmclub@menorah.org.uk
Telephone       0161 428 7746

Nottingham
Venue              Broadway Cinema
Address           14–18 Broad St, Nottingham NG1 3AL
Email               info@broadway.org.uk
Contact form   http://www.broadway.org.uk/contact/steve (Chief Executive)
Telephone       0115 9526 611

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