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Aussie Jewish Community Protests Anti-Semitic Play

The Perth Jewish community is protesting the staging of a six-page, 10-minute play that it has slammed as anti-Semitic.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 5/11/2010, 12:17 PM / Last Update: 5/11/2010, 1:01 PM

Flash 90

The Australian Jewish community of Perth has slammed the staging of a six-page, 10-minute play it says is anti-Semitic.

"Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza" showcases Jewish adults discussing 70 years of world events such as the Holocaust, suicide bombings by Palestinian Authority terrorists and Israel's 2009 counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead.

The main characters of the play, which is written by British playwright Caryl Churchill, discuss what they will tell their children about this history – if anything.

The Friends of Palestine WA organization plan to present a reading of the play in Perth this coming Saturday, despite a petition by the local Jewish Community Council of WA to cancel the event.

According to Council president Tony Tate, part of the script is based on the old blood libel that Jews murder Gentile children in order to use their blood in religious rituals. He told The West Australian newspaper that it was “not a way to start a conversation about peace in the Middle East.” Tate also planned to present a petition of some 600 signatures at the Council meeting set for Tuesday evening.

The Amnesty International organization has also previously attempted to stage the play, but was stymied by a local arts group, Kulcha. Tempers have flared over the issue, and Town of Vincent chief executive John Giorgi said he had received threats by phone. Nevertheless, he insisted local government did not have the right to censor the play.

Arts Minister John Day agreed, adding that unless laws were being broken, the show could go on.

Shadow arts minister and Perth MLA John Hyde recommended that protesters complain to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.