The Red Rattler theatre may not call it racism, but what else would you call their refusal to lease the theatre to Hillel, a Jewish youth group. Antisemitism?
I call it racism, hypocrisy, antisemitism and discrimination. I suppose the RED part of the title should give us an indication as to where their heads are at.
They refused to host a Jewish Youth Organisation, yet they appeared to have no qualms, about hosting Greece’s Golden Dawn Far Left political party to formally establish a supportive splinter group . Media releases had publicly indicated that Golden Dawn was to stage a ‘stealth visit’ to Australia in order to raise money and meet local supporters in Sydney and Melbourne.
However now the “Australia First” Party denies any knowledge of this on their web site and doesn’t know who put it there ? Consequently it is has been removed from this website.
For those of you who are unaware of what Golden Dawn is, it is described as neo-Nazi and fascist. They have also made use of Nazi symbolism, and have praised figures of Nazi Germany in the past. According to academic sources, the group is racist and xenophobic, while the party’s leader has openly identified it as nationalist and racist.
Hillel is a not-for-profit educational and cultural organisation which aims to ‘inspire university-aged young adults to engage with Jewish life’ and become future leaders.
The group are planning a series of performances consisting of a story¬telling series on the last generation to have direct contact with survivors of the Holocaust.
When Hillel made an application to perform at ‘The Red Rattler Theatre’ in Marrickville, in Sydney’s inner west, little did they have an inkling as to what a shock they were in for.
For those overseas and maybe those interstate, Marrickville/Newtown is the heart of the arty, leftist, alternative style area of Sydney, where there have been major issues with Greens and Leftists. Some may recall some 4 or so years back the decision of Marrickville Council to boycott Israel.
‘Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine,’
the Marrickville Theatre group responded curtly to the booking request..
The Red Rattler may not call it racism, but to refuse the youth group ‘Hillel’ which is a ‘ not-for-profit educational and cultural organisation, which aims to ‘inspire university-aged young adults to engage with Jewish life and become future leaders’ permission to hire the venue with that excuse is unconscionable and clearly racial discrimination, especially since they let the ‘Golden Dawn’ party use the premises.
According to their web site:
The Theatre was the realisation of a collective dream of five local artists, who wanted to create a legal warehouse venue to showcase alternative Sydney arts, performance and grassroots activism. The five “Rats” had been hosting events for years at many of the illegal inner-city and inner-west warehouse spaces that have been shut down over the years and dreamed of creating an accessible venue that held all relevant licences to stay open, and would not be at the mercy of high rents and developers.
The Red Rattler Theatre Inc is completely volunteer-run, and could not exist without the hard work and goodwill of a small army of volunteers who staff, manage and run the venue. The success and longevity of the Theatre depend on the involvement and support of volunteers.
With this in mind, it’s rather surprising that they would refuse an offer of a group willing to hire the venue.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff told The Australian:
“It’s sad to see an artistic group practise outright discrimination and, worse, importing divisiveness based on conflicts taking place far from Australia. We ought to be able to get along and work with each respectfully, despite political views or differences of opinion.”
Mr Alhadeff has written to the theatre, explaining that the group is apolitical. He has also reiterated the board’s support for a two-state solution in the Middle East that would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestine.
No response has been received to Mr Alhadeff’s letter or phone calls to the theatre. The Red Rattler management also have not responded to The Australian or the Daily Mail
An update since posting:
The theatre has apologised.
In an email to The AJN tonight (Monday) it said the email
“does not reflect the values of the Community Board of the Red Rattler Theatre”.
The email, which is signed by the entire board of directors of the Red Rattler Theatre went on to say that “The Red Rattler condemns racism of any kind”.
“We welcome organisations from all cultures and walks of life and actively encourage cultural diversity.”
The Red Rattler board contacted Hillel directly to discuss the situation.
Like we believe them. It’s too little too late.
I suspect they were scared of what the consequences would be.
Action against them by Hillel or the Australian Human Rights Commission.