Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Price for Everything

There is no country on Earth as blessed as the United States of America. While no longer a melting pot where immigrants eagerly sought to speak the English language and adopt American customs, we still maintain the freedom of ideas of all shapes and colors and sizes and beliefs. However, as long ago stated by Justice Cardozo, freedom of speech is not absolute. He stated that there is no right to shout fire in a theater. That phrase has long been used to limit speech that we find hateful or derogatory or inflammatory.

So now we turn to the real topic at hand, the Caryl Churchill play "Seven Jewish Children." Don't let the title fool you. The play is not about little Jewish children running around a park. It's an attempt to mask anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attitudes.

Seen in London in February 2009, the play drew many complaints. Now it is making its way to the New York stage through the efforts of the New York Theatre Workshop that has scheduled three readings of the play followed by a panel discussion led by noted Israel basher Tony Kushner.

I think it's outrageous that the play is coming to NYC and wrote the following letter:

Mr. James C. Nicola, Artistic Director
Mr. William Russo, Managing Director
New York Theatre Workshop
79 East Fourth Street
New York, NY 10003

Re Seven Jewish Children


I am writing to ask you to cancel the readings of Seven Jewish Children now scheduled for March 25 & 27, 2009. I write as the father of Alisa Flatow a 20-year old woman murdered in 1995 by Palestinian terrorists who were brought up on a never ending stream of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda to hate Israelis and Jews. Seven Jewish Children is just another piece of such propaganda, masked as a play, and will add another log to the bonfire of hatred that has been stoked by the Arab world since 1948.

Despite your stated goal to encourage "public discourse about the myriad of issues surrounding" a "deeply complicated conflict," the play does not address the very context in which this "conflict" takes place. While there is an indirect reference to the Holocaust, the clear implication of the play is that Israel is the new Goliath, that Israeli parents do not want their children playing with Palestinian children, and that all humanitarian issues are on the Palestinian side. Nothing is mentioned of suicide bombers sent to attack innocent civilians on public buses, in restaurants and coffee shops, that the Palestinians declined the offer of a state 8 years ago, that the Palestinians have elected a government with the sworn goal of destroying Israel, or that Israel has left Gaza.

Seven Jewish Children does nothing to advance understanding between peoples or the cause of peace in the Middle East and has no place on the New York Theatre Workshop stage. I urge you to halt the scheduled presentation.

I hope you will join in my protest to the New York Theatre Workshop. You can find their page on the play here.

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