Regarding the March 16 Arts article “The pressure play at Theater J”:
Some concerns about this article: First, Theater J’s Ari Roth claimed he must stage “The Admission,” which alleges that Israelis carried out a massacre in the Arab village of Tantura in 1948, because “there is a debate that needs to be convened and not stifled.” But that debate took place in Israeli courts. They found the allegation libelous, the second time on appeal. The Post’s wording, “a messy ending that has never been fully cleaned up,” obscured the outcome.
The article said Washington- area talks by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) associate director Alex Safian on Tantura and Lydda, about which a second false massacre allegation has been made, are “being sponsored by Theater J’s longtime antagonist” Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art. Actually, the talks are sponsored by CAMERA, which Roth characterizes as a “rump group.” A member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, CAMERA has 65,000 supporters in more than a dozen countries; Web sites in English, Hebrew and Spanish; and more than 30 full-time professionals, including a half dozen in our Jerusalem office.
The Post termed CAMERA a “conservative” organization. CAMERA takes no policy positions, right, center or left, on negotiated outcomes of Arab-Israeli conflicts. It monitors news and other communications media according to traditional journalism standards of accuracy, objectivity and comprehensiveness.
Finally, contrary to Roth, attempted censorship is not the issue. Few in the Jewish community would find a production of “The Admission” by the Woolly Mammoth Theater, for example, of significance. What seem to provoke Roth are references to a historical record that contradict his insistence on producing, at a Jewish community institution, a false narrative about Israel’s War of Independence. What’s next, a play about the U.S. bombing of Tokyo on Dec. 7, 1941?
Eric Rozenman, Washington
The writer is Washington director of CAMERA.