Where to start on this story?
What is anti-Israel propaganda?
A play about events in Gaza and human rights abuses by the Israelis when attacking Gaza - yet again - is now being put in the Australian Jewish category of "unabashedly one-sided."
.........and of course we repeatedly hear about the Palestinian side from the media and the Jewish and other communities in Australia? I don't think so!
The zionists in Australia, Jewish and Christian and others, would like to never hear about the Palestinians, the conditions under which they live and the human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli government against them as if they are non-people, which of course is the zionist view.
As with South Africa, change will come when other members of the world community wake from their disgusting lethargy and do something about the butchery happening non-stop in the West Bank and Gaza.
This will occur because of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns around the world.
VCE play accused of being 'anti-Israel propaganda'
The play, Tales of A City by the Sea, was written by Samah Sabawi, a Palestinian-Australian writer and activist, who supports the BDS [Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions] movement against Israel.
The play premiered in Melbourne in 2014, and will be performed for the second time at La Mama Courthouse, starting on Wednesday.
More than 1,300 students are studying VCE Drama this year.
Set in the Gaza strip during the 2008-09 Gaza War, the story centres around a Palestinian woman living in a Gaza refugee camp, who falls in love with an American-born Palestinian activist and doctor, who arrives on the Free Gaza boats.
It describes life during the war, depicting frequent shelling and "white phosphorous rain".
Characters in the play compare Israeli rule to "tyranny". One accuses Israel of leading a "massacre" of the the Palestinian people, questioning: "What Holy Scripture gave the command 'Thou shall wipe out their villages and scorch their land?'"
The play is one of six selected for year 12 students studying VCE drama. Students will watch the performance and study the text throughout the year.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chair of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, a body raising awareness about anti-Semitism and hate speech, said the play portrays Israel as a "blood-thirsty, evil war-machine", without any explanation for the bombings, or the violence perpetrated by the Palestinian camp.
He took aim at the authority for including the "unabashedly one-sided" play in the curriculum, claiming the content was "anti-Israel propaganda".
"Nowhere to be found is the Israeli perspective ... the suicide bombings inside Israel, the deaths of more than 160 children who were forced to dig tunnels by Hamas, the offers of peace by Israel, the thousands of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza," he said.
"What this play does, amongst other things, is to create a tremendously hostile climate in which any Jewish student who will see the play with their classmates … will be ashamed and worried about expressing any support for Israel or even admit that they have a link with the Jewish state."
Jennifer Huppert, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, echoed these concerns, claiming the play could "create negative views about Israelis and Jews in the classroom".
The playwright Ms Sabawi shot back, suggesting it was impossible to write a play about Palestinian people in Gaza without depicting Gaza as a war zone.
"Do we need to tell an Israeli love story every time we tell a Palestinian one?
"How ironic is it that a depoliticised play that puts the focus on the human dimension is being made political by interest groups who fail to see the world outside of their ideological filters," said Ms Sabawi, who is also a policy advisor to the Palestinian policy network Al-Shabaka.
Dr Jordy Silverstein, executive member of far-left Jewish group, the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, said while the play might be confronting, "telling these human stories is not 'anti-Israel'."
"It is vitally important that young people, including those who are Israeli or Jewish, are able to access these stories, and hear them articulated from a Palestinian perspective. Having this play on the VCE syllabus will help to open people's minds, not close them off."
Most Jewish schools speaking to Fairfax Media are not offering VCE drama this year, and have chosen theatre studies instead.
A Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority spokesman said: "VCAA is confident that VCE drama teachers will focus on the dramatic aspects of the play while providing an even-handed explanation of the political context."
This letter appeared in The Age the next day, Wednesday 11 May 2011:
Ban on humanity?Early this year, the Israeli government banned from the school curriculum a book about a Jewish-Palestinian love affair. The reason given was that "intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threatens the separate identity". Now, Israel advocacy groups want to ban a play from the Victorian school drama curriculum. Tales of a City by the Sea is a Palestinian love story set in the devastated Gaza Strip. Are Palestinians not allowed to be humanised and be portrayed loving Jews or themselves?
Mark Bradbeer, Brunswick
Says it all, really!