The City University of New York has rejected a honorary degree for playwright Tony Kushner after a member of its board of trustees, Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, objected to Kushner’s criticism of Israel. The Jewish Week reports on the board of trustees meeting this week where the decision was made: But Wiesenfeld, a board member of several […]
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“Catastrophically misguided and incomprehensible policy,” the great Kushner tells Democracy Now, at a JATO demonstration last night in the cold in New York. It has gotten easier to speak out within the Jewish community in the last few years, says…
The Gaza slaughter has divided the Jewish community, with mainstream orgs doubling down for Israel; that is why the DC Jewish Community Center fired Ari Roth, theater director and dissident
From Tony Kushner’s Afterword to his play Homebody/Kabul, written April 11, 2002: The following speech used to be in the third act… Cain was marked, and so they drove him out, everywhere he tried to rest, they drove him away. Only Kabul did not. He was an extremely old man when he arrived, many years […]
Tony Kushner on Democracy Now this morning. Two good quotes, the first about Israel’s crisis: I think that a policy in the Middle East in this country, based on right-wing fantasies and theocratic fantasies and scripture-based fantasies of what history and on-the-ground reality is telling us, is catastrophic and is going to lead to the […]
From the Advocate’s Kushner crisis blog (thanks to Ali Gharib): 9:30pm BREAKING: Tony Kushner was kind enough to call the Advocate for an interview, which will run in its entirety tomorrow afternoon at this site and in the hardcopy edition. We are very glad to report now, however, that Mr. Kushner has decided to accept […]
Kushner degree flap has produced a serious piece in Peter Beinart’s call the Daily Beast for anti-Zionists to be included in the conversation about Israel. This is huge: this means that the discourse truly is shifting, as Beinart is a gatekeeper, and Kushner is mainstream too. There are only two intellectually honest positions. Either you […]
Tony Kushner in Haaretz in 2004, on publication of the collection he edited called Wrestling with Zion. I’m having trouble seeing where his “Israel was a mistake” line was ripped out of context; in a discourse, that’s what people do, take lines people say and quote them without all the context. Richard Cohen of the […]
The Tony Kushner moment is huge because it is transitional; Kushner the change-agent will allow many middle-of-the-road disquieted secular liberal American Jews who never really signed up for Zionism per se and probably have never been to Israel to discover that their community has been captured by a messianic ideology. Because two large values inside […]
Benno Schmidt, the chair of the trustees of CUNY, has called on the executive committee to reconvene to reconsider the decision about Tony Kushner’s honorary degree. So Kushner will get his honorary. He thinks he can make everyone happy, Schmidt. But he refuses to condemn Jeffrey Wiesenfeld’s scabrous racist language: If it were appropriate for […]
The decision by the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Board of Trustees to block famous playwright Tony Kushner’s honorary degree at John Jay College is rightly being met with outrage. But there’s also an important upshot to the controversy: the racism that right-wing supporters of Israel deploy against Palestinians is getting an airing, as […]
JVP has a petition up to urge CUNY to grant Tony Kushner an honorary degree after all. Meantime, “Arthur” left this comment on Jerry Haber’s post “Contact the CUNY Board of Trustees About Their Decision“: I did contact two board members I know, and got the following from one of them: “In truth – and […]
From Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, who is the child of Holocaust survivors. More evidence of the deep damage to the American Jewish community of the Holocaust, and the crazy projection of Nazis on to Arabs. Maybe this will get the Nakba ball rolling in the mainstream media? “My mother would call Tony Kushner […]
The shoe is finally on the other foot. The pro-Israel folks have overplayed their hand. Or one of them anyway– so how long before Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the CUNY trustee who helped to kibosh the Tony Kushner honorary degree out of concern that he had hurt Israel, has to resign? The Times has a couple of […]
The Tony Kushner mugging is huge. It is sending more Jews to the exits, wondering what the messianic Zionist movement has done to Jewish political engagement, let alone to the Palestinian experience. Mark Kleiman, a public policy prof at UCLA, says he’s done with Zionism (thanks to Sullivan and Voskamp):
One of the most important aspects of the Tony Kushner story is the great fear that CUNY’s decision has created in the playwright about potential damage to his reputation. As he wrote to CUNY administrators, “I believe I am owed an apology for the careless way in which my name and reputation were handled at […]
I just got this update from the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre about the celebration of Juliano Mer Kahmis on Tuesday night, May 4 in New York. Quite an evening:
I keep saying that leftwing Jewish criticism of Zionism is a movement. Exhibit A is Australian author Antony Loewenstein, who has lately published a book, My Israel Question that is forthright and searing. His travels through Israel and the West…
Samantha Brotman shares her remarks from an event called “Zionism & The New McCarthyism: A Conversation with Bruce Robbins” that took place in Champaign-Urbana. It was a canceled University of Illinois event that was rescheduled as an independent event, without university support. Bruce Robbins’s short documentary, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists, interviews influential Jews such as Judith Butler and Tony Kushner who discuss the repression of anti-Zionist viewpoints. His talk addressed the rise of a “new McCarthyism” on college campuses which threatens to shut down criticism of Israel in the guise of “civility.” Brotman was a respondent along with Jodi Byrd (Professor in American Indian Studies) and Bruce Levine (Professor of History).
Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon begin their piece on “Seven Jewish Children” in the Nation the way all such pieces should begin, reciting the terrible numbers from the Gaza slaughter. Then: There are passages, particularly in an ugly monologue near…
One of my touchstones for trying to understand Israel is something Tony Kushner said to me a year ago: that most American Jews’ idea of Israel is a “fantasy built on a delusion.” They have little idea what it’s really…
The Palestinian actor Faisal Abu Alhayjaa is known to the New York theater audience for his charismatic performance as a wounded resistance fighter in Bethlehem in “The Siege”, a production from the Jenin Freedom Theatre. He will be speaking about “laughter and liberation” at the People’s Forum in NY on Sunday.
“My signing the letter had nothing to do with the appropriateness or inappropriateness of their performing there,” Cynthia Nixon says of 2010 letter supporting Israeli artists boycotting Ariel settlement. She misrepresents the letter, which describes Ariel as “clearly illegal” by all standards of international law and calls the artists “courageous” in the face of “wrongful acts,” concluding, “We stand with them.”
NY State Democratic Party mailer smearing Gov. Cuomo’s challenger Cynthia Nixon as an antisemite cites a real difference between the two, Nixon has backed boycott of a West Bank settlement, while Cuomo has been outspoken against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS campaign.
Writer, scholar, and activist Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz died last month, on July 10, after a long battle with Parkinson’s. Throughout her career she played a pivotal role in the women’s movement, and the movements for LGBT rights, against racism and anti-Semitism, and for Palestinian rights.