“it’s a terrible historical problem that modern Israel came into existence.” – Tony Kushner
Kushner is a celebrated author and playwright who recently received an honorary doctorate from City University of New York (CUNY).
He has become a Guardian cause celeb largely due to the row over his honorary degree – a controversy based largely on his explicit statements that Israel should never have been born, support for BDS, and vilification of pro-Israel Jews.
The latest gushing profile of Kushner by Guardian Theater critic, Michael Billington, (Tony Kushner: ‘At first I was horrified‘, Guardian, Aug. 15) brings to nine the number of stories or commentaries about the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, among others, at CUNY to prevent Kushner from receiving the honorary degree.
The subheading of Billington’s piece perfectly sums up the continual misrepresentation of Kushner’s critics:
“When Tony Kushner’s honorary degree was vetoed over allegations that he was anti-Israel, there was an outcry. Here he talks for the first time about the controversy“. [emphasis mine]
And, Kushner himself, in the interview, suggests that his critics’ accusations against him are lies which reek of “McCarthyism”.
The fact is, however, that this remark, like others he’s made before, again shows that Kushner continues to lie about his well-documented record of furious anti-Zionism.
They include several comments, in writings and in interviews, where Kushner clearly, and without qualification, expressed his view that Israel’s creation was a “mistake”, and that it should never have come into existence.
Indeed, Kushner has made it clear that he is “not a Zionist”.
He has also suggested that Israel is committing something akin to cultural genocide, accusing it of engaging in “a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people”, and clearly stated that Palestinian suicide bombing is not nearly as morally reprehensible in his view as IDF counter terrorism operations. Kushner also described Israel’s very creation as an act of “ethnic cleansing”, and has accused the state of engaging in “savagery” and “barbarism”.
He also has leveled quite vicious invectives against Jewish Zionists, once describing them as some of “the most repulsive members of the Jewish community”.
Kushner, during his interview with the Guardian’s Billington, denied that he favors a boycott against Israel, yet, as CAMERA pointed out:
“Kushner sits on the Board of Advisors of the “Jewish Voice for Peace” which advocates divestment and boycott campaigns against Israel. His name appears on JVP letterhead, including on a letter “salut[ing]” the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) for its move toward divesting from companies that do business with Israel.” [Also, see here]
In the spirit of Kushner’s continuing misrepresentation about his rhetorical assault on Israel’s legitimacy, and demonization of its Jewish supporters, his most recent denial that he doesn’t support boycotts against the Jewish state is but another a blatant lie – one in a series of falsehoods which the Guardian could have easily have uncovered.
Instead, Michael Billington, as with his fellow colleagues at the Guardian since the row at CUNY, insists upon sympathetically portraying the playwright in a manner generally reserved for anti-Zionist Jews who face critical scrutiny: an immutable victim of a smear campaign by Zionists.
That the Guardian continues to champion his “cause” is certainly no surprise, but you’d think that one reporter from a mainstream news outlet would do a little fact-checking and hold Kushner accountable to his smears and defamations against the Jewish state.