More hole than bagel


“Culture clash continues as ‘The Admission’ opens to public” (WJW, March 27) was more bagel hole than bagel.

The play The Admission, by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner and staged by Theater J at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, raises but does not answer a question: Did Israeli forces massacre civilians in the village of Tantura in 1948?

The article quotes CAMERA’s associate director, Alex Safian, but does not tell readers why he dismissed the massacre claim during his March 23 presentations at Ohr Kodesh and Adat Reyim congregations. As Safian detailed, former Israeli soldiers who fought in the battle for Tantura sued a Haifa University graduate student who made the allegation in a master’s thesis. They won twice, the second time when the student recanted his disavowal of the massacre charge and appealed to the Israel Supreme Court.

Even though the university gave the student the opportunity to update his thesis, he failed. The degree he received did not authorize him to pursue a doctorate.

WJW quotes a supporter of Theater J’s production of The Admission as saying “there’s a struggle going on [within the Jewish community] over what kind of criticism and dialogue is permissible.” That’s true, but it’s not over whether the community should subsidize presentations critical of Israel. It’s over whether those presentations ought to be honest.

Lord Acton, the historian famous for noting that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” also said, “truth is the only merit that gives dignity and worth to history.” Ultimately, that’s so for fiction as well as nonfiction. 

In staging The Admission, which pivots on the basis of a thinly veiled falsification, Theater J did not add to informed dialogue about Israel, it detracted from it.

Washington director, CAMERA-Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

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