E1 founder resigns as director amid revelations he travelled to Israel to serve in the IDF

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Yuval Hen, the founder of London’s E1 nightclub, has stepped down from his role as director following the discovery that he had travelled to Israel to fight for the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in Gaza.

The revelations came to light yesterday (February 15), after Instagram page Ravers For Palestine shared a screenshot of a now-deleted Facebook post featuring images of Hen in an IDF uniform, accompanied with a caption that indicated he was “returning home” after spending four months “somewhere in Gaza.”

Ravers For Palestine has called for artists, promoters and club goers to boycott the East London nightclub in light of the revelations, writing: “We urge all ravers and DJs to boycott E1 until further notice.”

“No one wants to lose another rave venue in London. But there can be no place in our culture for actors engaged in colonial violence — especially those in places of power and ownership.”

There are currently calls in the UK to bring legal charges against residents who have travelled to Israel to serve in the IDF amid its ground-invasion of Gaza, following an ICJ ruling that Israel was “at risk” of violating international law in regards to the conflict.

In a statement shared with Mixmag today (February 16), E1 said that is “a place for music and dancing,” and that it has “no connection to political movements and confirm that our previous owner stepped away in October due to being deeply affected by the ongoing crisis across Israel and Palestine.”

“We will continue to provide a safe space for people to enjoy club culture in East London,” the statement concludes.

Companies house records for E1’s holding company, UP Space Limited, state that Hen resigned from his role as director at E1/Studio Spaces today (February 16). E1 has confirmed to Mixmag that Hen will “not be returning to the club.”

A number of events are still scheduled to take place at E1 this weekend, including kink party Klub Verboten who shared a statement on Instagram, writing: “Following recent developments, we’ve resolved to depart E1 and embark once more on our quest to secure a space for our community. Come March, we’ll be hosting events at a new venue, though what lies beyond remains uncertain.”

“Despite this transition, we remain committed to supporting our freelancers and suppliers, especially amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis. Tonight’s final show at E1 will proceed to ensure our dedication to those who rely on us during these trying times.”

E1 is set to shutter this year, after plans for a new development were approved by Tower Hamlets Council which will see a new venue on the site — alongside 114 residential flats and a storage facility. It is unclear if this development will now take place under new ownership.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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