Jewish support for free speech

As a fervent Jew who has read everything about the Holocaust, studied Judaism, and traveled extensively in Israel and the Sinai, I wish I could have seen My Name is Rachel Corrie. Banning a show about an Israeli bulldozer &

paid for by the U.S. &

that killed an American girl protesting the destruction of a Palestinian home, will only make the play more well known, of course.

Judaism has withstood countless diaspora, persecutions, injustices, racism, not to mention the Holocaust. Can the nation of Israel not stand up to a play? Is there a reason that Israel is not answerable for its actions? Hitler wouldn't have lasted a second in a world of free speech.

It is ironic that the Jews' biggest gift to civilization &

aside from medicine, philosophy, art, law, music, economics, education, literature, civil liberties, science, and movies, &

is a reverence for law. When Jewish libraries were forced to become synagogues for their own protection, it was because Jews believed that the law was sacrosanct above all else. Radical thinking.

Those few Jews who objected to a production of this play might also object to a production of 'The Merchant of Venice' in which Shakespeare shows how hatred proves us equal in self destruction. This was radical thinking too. Considering Israel exempt from criticism is an inverse anti-Semitism born of Jews themselves.

The Jews have claimed victory a thousand times, from having been stripped of everything but the use of their minds. If anyone bans truth about Israel it is a travesty against the country itself. Any denied moral failure of Israel also implies that mankind cannot learn from suffering and injustice &

so what is the point of surviving?

We, who would give our lives for the ideals Israel represents, know that if Israel fails history fails. We must support any play with painful ideas. This issue is not about the failure of an artistic director strapped for money who had to cancel a show, but of the public that allows theatrical intimidation. Only plays, not newspapers or media, offer truly progressive thought.

We need productions of Romeo and Juliet between Jewish and Palestinian families. It's time we address those who would blow up the world rather than have their children inner-marry. To stop free speech about Israel is not an act of faith, but of no faith at all.

We will always have war and starving children until we have freedom of speech, art, and thought, for everyone &

all the time. That goal alone should be the end result of any religion, faith or philosophy. Perfect justice wins in the end &

and it will triumph over even our own stupidity. Beware.

Leah Ireland

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