While I honor the right of artistic freedom for the Seattle Rep, I am shocked at their duplicitous dealings with the Jewish community (“Strong emotions follow Rachel Corrie opening,” March 30).
Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federation, the Anti-Defamation League, and others, have been asking to provide context for the play My Name is Rachel Corrie since June 2006. Requests were submitted to provide input for the lobby exhibit, provide speakers for a panel, and provide written material for play-goers. Creative director David Esbjornson rebuffed each request, noting there would be no exhibit, panels or lobby material. Instead, Jewish organizations were required to purchase advertisements in the program at a cost of hundreds of dollars.
Esbjornsen’s preface in the play’s program now denigrates these ads and the advertisers. The Rep has a lobby exhibit, has held many panels and provides literature, all without even notifying the Jewish Federation or the ADL and certainly allowing no input.
The lobby is stocked with 50-page booklets, “Remember These Children,” that charades as a humanitarian piece but is actually glossy, colorful propaganda provided by someone with deep pockets. The booklet implies that while a few Israeli children have been killed by suicide bombers, hundreds more Palestinian children have been murdered, e.g., “shot in the head,” by IDF soldiers. Further, the Rep is using this play to educate Seattle public school children, again without context.
These actions intentionally insult and discomfit those who have sought to work within Seattle Rep guidelines. It breeds anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. It is a stunning breach of faith between members of the community and the Seattle Rep.