A group that opposes staging a play about the birth of Israel by Theater J, and is calling on members of the Jewish community to cut their gifts to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington because of it, met on Sunday and discussed organizing protests of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, which sponsors Theater J.
“If the DCJCC decides to go forward [with the play], we may take [our protests] to actually picket,” Robert Samet, chairman of the Committee to Oppose Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA), told an audience of 50.
They had come to a meeting room in a Chevy Chase high rise to hear Meyrav Wurmser, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute, discuss the story behind the play The Admission, by Israeli Motti Lerner.
The play purports to tell the story of an Israeli massacre of a Palestinian village in 1948. Wurmser said there is “no documentation” that such an event occurred. Samet called the play “a lie.”
Theater J’s artistic director, Ari Roth, who attended the event, has said, “The play is less about this history than about how an unresolved past destabilizes a politically charged present.”
Still, many in the audience agreed with Jack Klass. “I was absolutely incensed that a Jewish organization would permit a play to go on that would defame Israel to the hilt,” he said. “A lot of Jews are anti-Semites.”
Like Klass, Paul Leber has not read the play. “I wonder why plays like these have been presented. Why would you even mention [a massacre] in a work of art?” he said.
Ira Weiss said he came because “I’m a very big fan of Theater J.” He said that when he taught a class on the Jewish and Palestinian narratives in the Arab-Israeli conflict at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, COPMA complained.
Samet urged the audience to continue to boycott the Federation, which supports the D.C. Jewish Community Center.