Theater J Backed by Drama in Feud Over 'The Admission'

Controversial Israeli Play Aims at Jewish 'Massacre' in 1948


By JTA

Published February 04, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Dramatists Guild of America has come out in strong support of a controversial Israeli play to be performed at Washington D.C.’s Theatre J, which is partially funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Theatre J originally planned to stage a full production of “The Admission” by Motti Lerner, but has since scaled it back to be part of a workshop to be used as a platform for discussion on how difficult subjects are treated “The Admission” is a fictionalized account of a controversy over whether Israeli troops carried out a massacre in Tantura, a small coastal village, during the 1948-1949 Israeli War for Independence.

The downscaling came, in part, following protests by the small but vocal group COPMA –Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art. That group has taken out ads in several newspapers stating their objections to Federation funding of the play.

In a two-page letter sent last week to Liza Levy, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and Carole Zawatsky, CEO of the D.C. Jewish Community Center, the Dramatists Guild stated its support for staging the play.

“The reason we dramatists feel so strongly about this is that COPMA’s actions strike at the very heart of the function of art and culture. While the arts may sometimes inspire us to support our social institutions, they may unsettle and challenge us and makes us question our values and assumptions. It must never be dangerous to encourage people to think,” the Guild’s letter said.

COPMA has said that it is against federation money being used to produce the play and would not protest if an independent group staged it.

The Guild, whose president Stephen Schwartz composed such hits as “Wicked,” “Pippin” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” criticized COPMA’s “bullying tactics.”

The letter cited Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch as saying in 2012 in the Knesset: “In the past, some plays by Motti Lerner have created stormed discourse…This discourse is taking place in the public sphere and that is where it should be. The State of Israel is proud of the freedom of expression in the arts and especially the freedom of expression in the theatre.”

The workshop is set to run March 20-April 6. The play in its full form was to have had 35 showings. The scaled-back version will be presented 16 times.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.