The Red Rattler Theater in Sydney, Australia has apologized for refusing a Jewish group’s request to perform at its location. The theater originally denied the group because of its policy that “does not support colonialism/Zionism.” Red Rattler is now reconsidering opening its space to the Jewish group, which planned a series of performances on the Holocaust.
It all started when Shailee Mendelevich, the assistant director of Hillel at the Shalom Institute, wrote to the Red Rattler requesting to rent out space for the non-profit. Mendelevich reportedly told the theater in her letter that Hillel “created a live storytelling series that features poetry, musicians and actors on stage, creating meaningful performances to educate the audience on the theme of the evening.”
“Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine,” the theater wrote back, rejecting Hillel’s request.
The series of performances are based on “the last generation to have direct contact with survivors of the Holocaust,” The Australian reported.
Hillel is a Jewish campus organization. Its stated mission is “to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.” Far from being a dedicated right wing organization, Hillel prides itself on promoting an open environment where discussion about the best direction for the State of Israel is always up for debate.
After hearing about the Jewish group’s rejection notice on the grounds of support for Israel, Vic Alhadeff, The CEO of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote a letter to Red Rattler, in which he pondered whether the organization was acting in a deliberately anti-Semitic fashion. “It’s sad to see an artistic group practice outright discrimination and worse, importing divisiveness based on conflicts taking place far from Australia,” he told J Wire. “We ought to be able to get along and work with each respectfully, despite political views or differences of opinion.”