Chronicling what they see as ‘a deeply disturbing, and increasingly common, trend toward censorship in the American Jewish community,’ Jewish Voice for Peace have warned in an open letter of how damaging this trend is to the arts, and have called ‘on arts institutions to recommit to plurality.’

In the US, being Zionist and anti-BDS just isn’t enough to placate Israel’s self-styled defenders.

Last week’s firing of playwright Ari Roth from his position as Artistic Director of Washington DC Jewish Community Center’s Theater J has elicited expressions of sadness and outrage from artists and activists across the United States: a letter signed by over 60 prominent theatrical Artistic Directors in America deplores the actions of the JCC, which ‘in terminating him for blatantly political reasons, violate the principles of artistic freedom and free expression that have been at the heart of the non-profit theater movement for over half a century. Such actions undermine the freedom of us all. A free people need a free art; debate, dissent, and conflict are at the heart of what makes theater work, and what makes democracy possible.’ They have called upon the full Board of the JCC to renounce this action of the Executive Committee of the JCC. A further letter signed by 34 writers, theatre artists, academics, musicians and community activists, to the board of the JCC characterizes Roth’s firing as an act of censorship and the circumstances surrounding it ‘a form of creeping McCarthyism.’ Read the rest of this entry »