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Jewish Chronicle apologises for Gaza appeal as Tricycle Theatre backs down on Jewish Film Festival boycott

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The Jewish Chronicle has apologised to readers who complained after the paper published an advert for the Gaza Disasters Emergency Appeal – but the paper’s editor said that many of those described as “civilian casualties” during the conflict were actually terrorists.

The DEC appeal has raised £9m to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to more than 200,000 people who have been forced to leave their homes in Gaza.

In a Facebook statement following the publication of the DEC advert, the JC said: “We have received complaints from readers angry at the decision. We apologise for the upset caused.”

The advert was “meant as a purely humanitarian gesture, and was not an expression of the JC's view. The newspaper will next week give space to readers to state their objections and will run a free advert encouraging readers to “donate to a range of charities supporting Israel.”

In a separate statement, Stephen Pollard, the JC editor, said that, although he understood why some readers were upset, the advert “nowhere makes political or partisan points”.

He added that throughout Operation Protective Edge, the JC has “stressed Israel’s right to defend herself and sought to explain why Israel was faced with no choice but to take action in Gaza”.

“But I do not accept the figures touted around much of the media about the level of civilian casualties – many are, I am sure, terrorists.”

Figures from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights claimed that 1,843 Palestinian civilians including a reported 415 children have died as a result of Israeli fire.

But the New York Times challenged claims that Israel launched “indiscriminate” attacks. “The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, show that the population most likely to be militants, men aged 20-29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll,” it stated.

Meanwhile a resolution has been achieved in the dispute between the Tricycle Theatre and the UK Jewish Film Festival. The theatre refused to host the event unless the festival returned £1,400 in sponsorship from the Israeli embassy. The Tricycle has backed down following widespread protests and threats from leading donors to end their relationship.

A statement read: “Following lengthy discussions between The Tricycle and UKJFF, the Tricycle has now withdrawn its objection and invited back the UK Jewish Film Festival on the same terms as in previous years with no restrictions on funding from the Embassy of Israel in London.

“The UKJFF and The Tricycle have agreed to work together to rebuild their relationship and although the Festival is not able to return in 2014, we hope to begin the process of rebuilding trust and confidence with a view to holding events in the future.”