The Schmooze

Surprise! Tony Kushner at Center of Israel Kerfuffle — This Time North of the Border

Tony Kushner, the playwright and screenwriter of “Angels in America” and “Lincoln,” has found himself at the center of an unexpected scandal in Toronto. In the city for a talk hosted by the Koffler Center for the Art, he’ll be discussing his career with theatre director Philip Akin. But Kushner’s appearance has been obscured by a political kerfuffle.

It’s a bit complicated, so take a breath: the Koffler receives $250,000 in annual funding from the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, which unexpectedly issued a letter dissociating itself from the event. Its reason? Kushner sits on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, a BDS-supporting organization that advocates for peace between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis. Kushner himself, however, is against BDS, a position he’s made publicly clear on multiple occasions. He’s now accused the UJA of “McCarthyism” — that quote is from an interview with The Globe and Mail — saying “It’s depressing that — even in Canada — this kind of censorious, illiberal and really disgraceful behaviour [sic] is seen as acceptable.”

Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact her at zax@forward.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax

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Surprise! Tony Kushner at Center of Israel Kerfuffle — This Time North of the Border

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