Wednesday March 08 2006
"Sacred cows make the best hamburger."
-- Mark Twain
The 11th Commandment states: "Thou Shalt Not Criticize the Zionists!" Most Americans of my generation know it by heart. It’s the first thing a politician learns if he or she wants to get elected, and reelected, to public office, especially to the U.S. Congress. It's a powerful prohibition even though many refuse to acknowledge its existence. Mostly, it's a taboo subject. Moses didn’t bring it down from Mount Sinai with him, nor does the ADL’s Abe Foxman have to scream it out, since the message is delivered by other means.  Occasionally, an American will consciously decide to challenge it. However, he (or she) does so at their own peril. 
The 11th Commandment came up the other day, and in spades, too. The New York Theater Workshop was planning on putting on a play honoring the memory of Rachel Corrie, but then it got cold feet. It's a British production, entitled, "My Name is Rachel Corrie." For background: Corrie was the 23-year-old peace and justice activist, who was killed by the Israelis on March 16, 2003, in Rafah, a refugee camp, located in Israeli Occupied Palestine.  The killing device of choice was a monster of a bulldozer. Corrie, from Olympia, Washington, was protesting the Israelis’ barbaric practice of destroying the homes of Palestinians for little or no reason at all. The Israelis didn’t run her over once with their huge bulldozer, but twice! The second time, I suppose, was to demonstrate the contempt that they had for her country, too - America! The Israelis killed her on purpose! And, do you know what? They got away with it! The failure of the U.S. government to respond to the brutal slaying of Corrie is a stain on the Republic.
Back to the play! The artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, James C. Nicola, decided to "postpone" the Corrie drama after he polled leaders of NYC’s Jewish community. He supposedly discovered that many of these ultra-sensitive souls were "uneasy’ about it being performed at the present moment.  Oh, the poor things! Running an American girl over with a nine-ton Israeli bulldozer, snuffing the young life out of her is no problem, but please, don’t do a play about that evil deed. It will make the NYC Zionist crowd feel "uneasy." Pure baloney! I think this is a classic example of the 11th Commandment at work.
Fortunately, the feisty Brits are furious about the New York Theater Workshop not going though with the agreed on dramatic project. The Royal Court Theater has scheduled the play to run from March 28 to May 7th, 2006, in London. That organization's advocates are very upset about the so-called "postponement" by its NYC counterpart in this endeavor, and they are disappointed, too, by the feeble excuses expressed by Mr. Nicola. They aren't buying his "political concerns" justification for its so-called "delay." 
The celebrated British actress, Vanessa Redgrave, also got involved. She fired off a broadside, which landed on the pages of Counterpunch.com, on March 6, 2006, with respect to this controversy. She roared, in part: "This is censorship of the worst kind. More awful even than that, it is blacklisting a dead girl and her diaries. A very brave and exceptional girl who all citizens, whatever their faith or nationality, should be proud and grateful for her existence. They couldn't silence her voice while she lived, so she was killed. Her voice began to speak again as Alan Rickman read her diaries, and Megan Dodds became Rachel Corrie. Now the New York Theater Workshop have silenced that dear voice..." 
Another individual outraged over the decision not to put the Corrie play on in NYC was Warren Guykenna. He lives in Rachel’s home town of Olympia. In an "Open Letter to Jim Nicola," he took the NYC-based artistic director to task. Here’s part of what Guykenna had to say: "I will not cry censorship, but I will tell you that I am extremely uncomfortable, especially at a time when faculty members of leading educational institutions from New York to Los Angeles are under intense pressure if they don't hue to the State of Israel/AIPAC line. Not to mention all the machinations of the Bush administration to perpetuate its views. You have spoken of 'sinister forces' which will try to use this play to their own ends. Since when is that a standard for making artistic judgments? And what are those 'sinister forces, Jim? Could you be referring to those who oppose the State of Israel's 39-year occupation of Palestinian lands? Much of the civilized world, including Jewish groups, mainline Protestant and Catholic groups and probably the majority of Europeans oppose the occupation. Were these the 'sinister groups' to which you were referring? I am an Episcopalian. My church is actively involved in 'corporate engagement' to discourage the makers of Caterpillar D9s -- for example -- from doing business with the Israeli Defense Force. Are we Episcopalians 'sinister?'" 
By way of reflection, what has happened to America? Before 1948, and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, the U.S. had hardly any enemies in the Middle East! Now, we have countless foes there and around the Islamic World, too. And, thanks to Israeli Firsters, and others, we're presently fighting an unjust war in Iraq, which is based on a pack of damnable lies.  And, if we don't watch out, our sons and daughters will soon be dying in Iran! And, for what?  We're now getting ready to bar even those Arab countries, who are friendly towards us, like the United Arab Emirates, from doing business in our major port cities.  When the Zionists' influence over any aspect of our national interest becomes harmful, the people need to speak out about it. 
Finally, the play, "My Name is Rachel Corrie," is sure to be critical of the Zionists. Trust me, they fully deserve it. If you don't believe me, then just ask the veterans of the USS Liberty, who have been fighting for nearly four decades for justice for their cause.  Of course, the Zionists have every right to push their agenda in this country, but those who disagree with them have a right, too, to say: "You've crossed the line on this one, buddy!"  It's time to ditch that sacred cow of an 11th Commandment. Our shaky Republic can no longer afford it.
. Keep in mind, that some Orthodox Jews, like the gutsy Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, insist that the Zionists do not speak for Judaism or for all Jews. See, for details, http://www.nkusa.org/
. "Tensions Increase over Delay of a Play," by Jesse McKinley, NYT, 03/07/06.
. "U.S. Replacement Doubtful for Dubai Operator at Port," Baltimore Sun, 03/06/03, by Meredith Cohn.
. http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8564; and, http://www.alfredlilienthal.com/zionist_connection.htm