I was in the queue an hour early for the 7 Jewish Children performance and the diverse crowd (Jew and non-Jew) was peaceful until a group of Australian Union of Jewish Students arrived around opening time and positioned themselves, with placards and flags, at the entrance, repeating chants that implied the theatregoers were racists.
Stefan Oberman, organiser of this action, could not resist the joke in his letter. When he refers to unpacking issues with the crowd (21/5), was he referring to his members throwing a heap of someone else’s leaflets in the bin? The group’s arrival was in no way “positive engagement” but seemed designed to shut down a thought-provoking play.
Mark Bradbeer, Brunswick
My intention earlier this week (Letters, 20/5) was to make two points. The first was that symbolic acts of protest do not help the community understand complex issues such as anti-Semitism and the Middle East conflict. The second was that the spectacle-obsessed media makes it very difficult for activist groups to present their arguments, which (for the most part) are subtle and nuanced. This point was edited out.
So the letter appeared to be a mere criticism of activist groups that, as the two respondents to my letter pointed out, have made efforts to engage in dialogue, efforts that have been under-represented in the media.
Eli Court, Richmond