I'm co-signatory to a letter in The Stage refuting Simon Tait's article, which responds to the Tricycle Theatre's offer to replace the Israeli government's funding of the Jewish Film Festival by falsely claiming that the Tricycle cancelled the Festival and declaring that artists should not make non-artistic decisions.
The letter is also signed by Caryl Churchill, Dominic Cooke, April de Angelis, David Lan, Elyse Dodgson, Aleks Sierz, Tanika Gupta, David Greig, Stephen Jeffreys, Carl Miller, and Laura Wade. It insists on the importance of artists making a stand against Israel, particularly given the asymmetrical war it has just waged against Gaza. It notes the extraordinary pressure placed on the Tricycle's artistic director, Indu Rubasingham, by members of our government. It also notes that we cannot separate ourselves so easily from the violations of human rights.
I'm not one for blanket boycotts. I have been asked several times to join the academic boycott against Israel and I've always refused, because I know some important voices against the illegal actions of Israel are in the universities and their position is embattled enough within their country.
But the situation with the Tricycle is that a theatre wanted to host a film festival and at a time when one of the sponsors of that Festival was directly engaged in a murderous assault on its enemies, it found a solution which would be to offer to replace Israel's funding with its own money. This has been deliberately interpreted in the worst possible way and Rubasingham has been forced to back down. It's a matter of artistic and political freedom which is why I have signed.