D.C. Federation Asked to End Support for Theater Group Due to ‘Anti-Israel’ Plays
JNS.org – Robert Levi, chairman of the board of the National Council of Young Israel, has called on the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to end its financial support for the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center’s Theater J, due to the theater group’s promotion of plays that “advance an anti-Israel point of view.”
Theater J is scheduled to perform “The Admission” from March 20-April 27, 2014. The play is an Israeli homage to the popular Arthur Miller play “All My Sons.” Set in Haifa during the first intifada in the late 1980s, the play features an Israeli man engaged to a Palestinian girl. The man and his father confront wartime secrets and experiences, according to Theater J.
In an Aug. 26 letter addressed to the Greater Washington federation’s CEO, Steven Rakitt, Young Israel’s Levi wrote that the play “reflects a neo-anti-Israeli perspective, which is contrary to the mission of the Federation,” while expressing his outrage over the Federation’s support of Theater J.
“The climactic scene of play implies a fictitious 1948 massacre conducted by a colonel in the Israeli defense brigade,” Levi wrote.
“Artists who denigrate the Jewish State or its citizens should not be supported by the Federation,” he added.
Other efforts have been made to encourage the D.C. Federation to cut off funding for Theater J. The grassroots organization Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA) was formed in 2009 to protest Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth’s production of “Seven Jewish Children.” In that series of seven one-minute plays, parents repeat anti-Israel narratives while mulling how to speak to their children about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as a line in which an actor advises a parent not to tell a child that “Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom.”
Theater J and the D.C. Federation did not immediately return requests for comment from JNS.org.