Historic cinema defaced with anti-Israel graffiti ahead of showing of Israeli documentary about October 7th attack

23 May 2024, 11:56 | Updated: 23 May 2024, 15:10

The Phoenix Cinema was defaced on Thursday

The Phoenix Cinema was defaced on Thursday with anti-Israel graffiti.

Picture:
Google Maps


A cinema in north London has been defaced with anti-Israel graffiti ahead of a showing of an Israeli documentary which depicts events surrounding the Hamas’ October 7 attacks.

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The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley was sprayed with red paint on Thursday morning prior to the screening of Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre.

Police said the graffiti could constitute a hate crime, as they launched an investigation.

The immersive one-hour film features eyewitness accounts from survivors of the massacre and first responders at the attack on the Nova festival in Ne’im in Southern Israel last year.

The showing is part of the international Seret film festival taking place at the venue from May 16 to May 23.

Images of the vandalism have been circulated on social media.

Artists for Palestine UK, a campaign group, had called for a boycott of the festival.

In a statement released earlier this month to the cinema’s trustees, the organisation said they were “disturbed and horrified” to find that Seret, the UK-Israeli Film Festival is being held at several cinemas, co-sponsored by the Israeli government.

In the message they “strongly urged” cancellation of the upcoming Seret events. 

Visitors walk around portraits of people who were taken hostage or killed in the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival

Visitors walk around portraits of people taken hostage or killed in the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival.

Picture:
Getty


“Seret is part of a broader artwashing strategy by the Israel apartheid state that uses culture to whitewash and cover up its crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Pro-Palestine protesters have planned a vigil outside the cinema at 7pm on Thursday to coincide with the time of the screening.

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In a tweet, UK Jewish Film said it was “appalled” by the vandalism on Twitter.

“We condemn any attempt to bully and intimidate cinemas into censoring films and are proud to show films that reflect Jewish and Israeli life.”

Campaign against Anti-Semitism also said: “Ahead of a screening of a documentary about Hamas’ barbaric attack on the Nova music festival on 7th October, in which over 360 people were killed, the @PhoenixCinema has been defaced.

The historic Cinema resides in Finchley, an area of London home to a large Jewish community. This vandalism must be investigated immediately as a matter of urgency, @MetPoliceUK

A fundraiser has been set up following the recent vandalism in support of London’s oldest continuously running cinema.

The organiser of the fundraiser said: “This act of vandalism was truly outrageous and has left us in urgent need of support,”

“Our fundraising campaign, aims to ensure that this historic institution can continue to serve our community for years to come.”

The Phoenix Cinema has been open since 1912 and has been run by a charitable trust since 1985.

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Police said they were investigating a “potential hate crime”.

A spokesperson said: “Police were called at 10:11hrs on Thursday, 23 May to reports of criminal damage at the Phoenix Cinema in High Road N2.

“An investigation has been launched. There have been no arrests.While enquiries are ongoing, at this time the incident is being investigated as a potential hate crime.

“Police had already been made aware of protests expected at the venue regarding a film screening on Thursday night.

“Officers will be there to make sure those attending can protest safely whilst at the same time minimising serious disruption to the community.”

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