Not content with mauling Professor Jake Lynch last week, Murdoch's Australian has now turned to mugging... Marrickville's Red Rattler Theatre.
Take it away Christian Kerr:
"A Sydney theatre has refused a booking from a Jewish cultural group in a potential breach of race-discrimination laws. Hilel [sic], a not-for-profit Jewish educational and cultural organisation for students and young adults, approached The Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville... about hiring the venue for a series of performances dealing with the Holocaust. Their inquiry was dismissed with an unsigned email that read: 'Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine'." (No to Zionism: theatre rejects Jewish act, 23/3/15)
Quite right too.
Go to Hillel's website - hillel.org - and the first thing you encounter is an add for Taglit Birthright Israel offering free 10-day trips to Israel. Click on 'About' and you find "Our Vision: We envision a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel."
"NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff told The Australian, 'It's sad to see an artistic group practise outright discrimination and, worse, importing divisiveness based on conflicts taking place far from Australia."
Butter, as they say, wouldn't melt in this bloke's mouth. As Australia's leading Israel lobbyist he just couldn't help himself, whilst NSW Community Relations Commissioner (a bizarre Baruch O'Farrell appointment in 2013), sending (in the words of New Matilda's Chris Graham) "an inflammatory pro-Israel email to Australia's Jewish community just as the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza began to gather pace" last year, followed by (in the words of a subsequent Herald editorial) "a poor example of caveated contrition," followed by a resignation. (See my 28/7/14 Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel.)
"The Red Rattler management did not respond to a request for comment from The Australian yesterday."
"The Greens-dominated Marrickville Council was at the centre of controversy in 2010 when it attempted to implement a policy supporting the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which explicitly equates the Jewish state with apartheid-era South Africa."
Hello, hello, hello. Is this a case of 'location, location'? Call me suspicious, but was Red Rattler chosen precisely because it's in Marrickville?
Watch this space...
Update (24/3/15): "A theatre in Marrickville has apologised for telling a Jewish group it could not hire the premises because it does 'not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine'... In an email to The Australian Jewish News tonight (Monday) it said the email 'does not reflect the values of the Community Board of of the Red Rattler Theatre.' The email, which is signed by the entire board of directors... went on to say that 'The Red Rattler condemns racism of any kind'." (Red Rattler apologises, jewishnews.net.au, 23/3/15)
Obviously, the board doesn't seem to understand the elementary difference between Judaism (a faith) and Zionism (the political ideology driving Israeli apartheid and genocide). Hillel, as indicated above, is clearly committed to the latter, in which case no apology was necessary.