Anti-Israel boycott campaigners
Anti-Israel boycott campaignersReuters

A theater in the Marrickville suburb of Sydney, Australia, has apologized for telling a Jewish group it could not hire the premises because it does “not host groups that support the colonization and occupation of Palestine”.

According to the Australia Jewish News (AJN), Australia Hillel assistant director Shailee Mendelevich contacted The Red Rattler in Marrickvile to hire the theater but was told: “Hi, Our policy does not support colonialism/zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonization and occupation of Palestine. The Red Rattler Team.”

In an email to The AJN Monday, the theater said the email “does not reflect the values of the Community Board of the Red Rattler Theatre”.

The email, which is signed by the entire board of directors of the Red Rattler Theatre went on to say that “The Red Rattler condemns racism of any kind”.

“We welcome organizations from all cultures and walks of life and actively encourage cultural diversity.”

The Red Rattler board reportedly contacted Hillel directly to discuss the situation.

Before the apology was issued, New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff wrote to the manager of the Red Rattler, in which he explained that Hillel is an apolitical body, and that to “categorically reject an approach by a Jewish organization to hire your premises because of a political position that your team holds in relation to an overseas conflict is at best ill-informed and at worst racist and discriminatory.”

Writing in Jews Down Under, Shirlee Finn said: “I do not for one moment believe the sincerity of this apology. I was very involved in this Green/Leftist area during the Marrickville Council’s boycott of Israel and the BDS action against Max Brenner.

“I’ve seen these people in action and they hate with a vengeance. I think they saw the groundswell against them and saw this being referred to the AHRC – Australian Human Rights Commission AND it maybe costing them money in legal fees.”

Finn explained that "Marrickville/Newtown is the heart of the arty, leftist, alternative style area of Sydney, where there have been major issues with Greens and Leftists. Some may recall some 4 or so years back the decision of Marrickville Council to boycott Israel."