Samah Sabawi’s play “Tales of a City by the Sea” was recently named by the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), chaired by Dvir Abramovich, as a text that incites against Israel and should therefore be removed from the VCE curriculum. The ADC claimed that the play portrayed Israel as a “blood-thirsty, evil war-machine” and amounts to “anti-Israel propaganda”.
This is an outrageous claim. The moving work was reviewed brilliantly by the AJDS’ Ann Fink, following an AJDS group booking followed by a Q&A session, in 2014 when the play debuted. The actors were said to be “bringing alive the pain of exile and separation from extended family, especially grandchildren”, according to Fink. “Commentators often remark on the large numbers of children, educated women bear in Gaza” she added. “Samah Sabawi demonstrates exactly why this is so. As long as families are destroyed, there will always be a natural urge to rebuild them. Similar sentiments were expressed by many Holocaust survivors.”
AJDS executive member Dr. Jordy Silverstein told The Age that “telling these human stories is not ‘anti-Israel’.” She continued to say that “It is vitally important that young people, including those who are Israeli or Jewish, are able to access these stories, and hear them articulated from a Palestinian perspective. Having this play on the VCE syllabus will help to open people’s minds, not close them off.”
Read more of Timna Jacks’ piece in The Age (9/5/16).