Fairfax helped stir-up controversy over a supposedly anti-Semitic play. A little more research would have revealed the campaign to be a farce, according to Michael Brull.
Last week, the Age started a controversy, claiming that a play was under attack by various Jewish groups for being anti-Israel propaganda. Soon, other media outlets such as SBS and the Australian were on board. A national scandal about a Melbourne play was underway: was the play anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda, and should we protect our children from it?
The controversy is devoid of substance. The play in question is beautiful and moving. Those interested can read a warm review of it by Ann Fink from the progressive Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS), here. It is not a work of political propaganda: it simply tells a story of human beings, who find love and try to find happiness in trying circumstances.
Many on the left were deeply supportive of the Safe Schools program, and opposed attempts by reactionary lobby groups, News Corp and right-wing politicians to gut the program. In this case, the campaign against Samah Sabawi’s play has been led by the Age journalist, Timna Jacks, a privately funded pro-Israel lobby group, and a few conservative politicians who later signed on.
So far, leftists and progressives have not showed similar sympathy or interest. Yet this is a case of aggressive bullying by right-wing forces, who are determined to prevent teenagers from seeing a play which presents Palestinians as human beings.