So, You Thought Your Federation Donations Would Help and Not Hurt Israel? Unfortunately, You Were Wrong.

The Problem?

Your Jewish charity dollars are being used to finance theatrical productions that attack and defame Israel. It must stop. Theater J at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center (DCJCC) has for years, under the directorship of an individual named Ari Roth, been staging plays and holding workshops that denigrate Israel. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has been providing funding to Theater J, and despite COPMA’s efforts, continues to knowingly funnel dollars to support Theater J. This violates the Federation’s fiduciary obligation to donors to monitor the destination of its donor contributions. We would not support Jewish Federation funds going to support the Palestinian Authority, and we should not support Jewish Federation funds going to attack Israel in its struggle for peace and security.

Why COPMA?

Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA) is a group of concerned citizens who believe there is no place in our Jewish community centers and institutions for anti-Israel propaganda and that the use of charitable donations to support activities harmful to the State of Israel is a breach of the trust that donors and supporters place in these institutions.

Free Speech and Choice:

This is not an attempt to infringe on anyone’s right to produce propaganda attacking Israel. These groups are entitled to engage in political activism against Israel whenever they please. They can even mislabel it as “art.” But they do not have the right to do it with the financial support of unwitting donors who believe their contributions are being used to help, rather than hurt Israel. And those very same donors now have a right to choose where their contributions should NOT go.

The Latest Outrage:

Theater J is now producing a play called “The Admission,” written by an Israeli author named Motti Lerner, who Wikipedia calls “one of the pioneers of radical political theatre in Israel.” The Admission centers on a false allegation of a slaughter of Palestinians by Israelis in the Palestinian Arab village of Tantura (renamed in the play) during the War of Independence. The play depicts the modern day effort by the Israeli commander of the unit who committed the slaughter to profit by erecting a shopping mall over the site where the bodies of the Palestinian victims are buried. The author of the play — and now Theater J — want the audience to believe the play is about real life events in Tantura in 1948, but the allegation of a massacre was long ago challenged in Israel and shown to have been false. A libel suit was brought by the soldiers accused of engaging in the massacre, The Alexandroni Brigade, against a masters degree candidate at the University of Haifa, Theodore Katz, who wrote his thesis alleging the false massacre, and it was shown during the lawsuit that he was a politically motivated ideologue who falsified his data. He ended up signing a confession and apology to end the suit, and the Supreme Court of Israel ultimately affirmed the Court’s ruling. Approval of the masters thesis was rescinded.

This is the lie that Ari Roth and Theater J (not to mention the author of this modern day blood libel) are now seeking to convince theater attendees is the truth. It’s shameful. And even more shameful is the DCJCC permitting this anti-Israel lie to be renewed, perpetuated and propagated. And even more shameful than that is the Federation’s continued support with your charitable donations of anti-Israel attacks such as this. This is the type of malicious defamation that feeds the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) movement’s attempt to delegitimize Israel.

We have tried to work with The Federation, to no avail. We’ve met with the leadership of both the DCJCC and The Federation, with no progress after more than 4 years. If we continue to have meetings, write letters and make phone calls hoping that The Federation will act responsibly, we’ll find ourselves in exactly the same position 4 years from now.

Do you want your charitable donations used to support “radical political theater” attacking Israel? You have a choice.