Magnificent letter to the Sydney Theatre Company.

(Thanks to Daniel L for the tip).

Dear STC,

I am 54 years old.

I have been a patron, subscriber, supporter and fellow traveller of the Sydney Theatre Company for over 35 years. My parents have been subscribers for my whole life. And my grandparents, all survivors of the Holocaust and refugees who came to Sydney to rebuild lives – were long-time subscribers of to the STC and the Australian Opera and Sydney Symphony.

Your databases, donor and customer, will tell you no doubt of the disproportionate interest and support of the arts which comes from our Jewish community. You come to us when you want to raise funds (I recall David Gonski chairing a capital appeal when the Packer Theatre was being established), and we contribute well in excess of our numbers in the population would entail.

I can’t speak for every Jew in Sydney, but certainly it has been my experience to be brought up in a family which values the arts. Which values freedom of speech. Which values challenges in artistic representation.

So I’m not going to have a go at you for some actors donning keffiyeh’s in solidarity with Palestine in respect of the current war. I understand that this was not a choice of the STC, and that it was beyond your control.

HOWEVER, you should know the following:

1.If I had been in the audience that night, I would have been sickened. My two closest cousins in the world outside of Australia (thanks the pruning of my family tree by the Nazis) are two beautiful women who usually live in small farming communities close the Gaza border. On 7 October they were lucky to have the infiltrations to their villages stopped by a small civil defence team. They spent 48 hours in their safe rooms with their children imagining they would be die. They have been evacuated from their homes and are currently living as displaced persons in their own country. They are both school teachers, and literally hundreds of their friends, neighbours and students have been murdered or kidnapped.

2.On 8 October, before Israel had even responded to the inhuman assaults, we witnessed on the steps of the Sydney Opera House a gang of thugs chanting “Gas the Jews”. My parents and uncle and aunt were at the Opera House that evening (being subscribers to the Symphony as well as the STC). I note that their parents, uncles, aunts and first cousins were in fact gassed. The event was triggering to say the least. 

3.We (Jews) in Australia have felt totally abandoned by the progressive left. Our pain is to be understood or contextualised. And Israeli suffering is ignored.

So the STC’s actor’s “protest” is viewed by me. And by most Sydney Jews in that light.

We understand in the words of David Baddiel, that for much of the arts community, and those who consider themselves “progressive”. “Jews Don’t Count”. The STC which has done so very much to show care for so many other minorities and historically disadvantaged groups (First Nations, LGBTQIA, Women’s voices) has done PRECISELY NOTHING to make this particular minority feel supported.

As far as I can see in response to the actor’s protest, there has simply been one unidentified “spokesperson” being quoted in The Australian. Nothing on your website. Nothing on Twitter. Nothing on your socials. 

So, as far as this one time subscriber and supporter is concerned, you simply don’t care about me. Or Jews. Let alone Israelis. And that is your right.

But is it my right to judge you for it. And it is my right to decide where to take my custom. And it is my right to do whatever I can to encourage others to do likewise. And it is my right to remember these things when you next want to try to raise money or sell tickets or seek my support or endorsement in any way.

Because as far as I am concerned we are a moment that requires real moral clarity. Certainly if Hamas and its Iranian overlords were to be victorious in their existential battle against Israel, it will not be happy time in Gaza for the type of theatre that the STC and its misguided Keffiyeh wearing actors, champion.

So until I see or sense a serious response to the greatest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, and the most toxic rise of anti-Semitism across the globe, especially by those who don themselves in the feel-good cultural shield of the Keffiyeh (no cultural appropriation there?), its Goodbye from me.

So long and thanks for all the plays.