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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @TalyaZax