In Britain, Jewish Actors Fear Blacklisting

During the recent war between Israel and Hamas, the British actors’ union issued a statement of “solidarity” with Palestinians, condemning Israel’s “disproportionate actions,” and called on members to attend a London demonstration—where Israeli flags were burned and protestors displayed and chanted anti-Semitic slogans. Dame Maureen Lipman, a prominent actress and staunch defender of the Jewish state, resigned in protest. But Jewish performing artists in the UK face greater problems still, writes Jenni Frazer:

The actress Tracy-Ann Oberman . . . said Jewish actors were beginning to hide their Stars of David at auditions. “We are terrified of being thought of as Zionists,” she said. “One actor was turned on when it was found that he had family in Israel.

One young actor told [reporters]: “It was the first day of a Zoom read-through for a possible new theatre show. We all introduced ourselves online, which is standard practice—who we are, where we are from, what we have been up to professionally. When it was my turn, . . . I explained that I had been working on a treatment, hopefully for TV, based on my own family’s experience and history of fleeing pogroms in Russia.

“In front of the whole cast and director, an actor sneered on the screen and told me, ‘look what you’re doing in Palestine. That’s a pogrom.’”

The agent Emma Engers said: “I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for 25 years and for the first time in my experience, Jewish actors are telling me that they’re frightened of identifying as being Jewish upon joining a new cast or in the rehearsal room. Young Jewish drama students are terrified . . . of repercussions.”

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Theater, United Kingdom

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter