On April 3rd, my publicist in NY received a phone call from Susan Engel, the Director of Lectures at the 92Y, cancelling my re-scheduled engagement without explanation. She did leave a telephone number which we called, but it was only an answering machine with the message that 92Y was closed for Passover. We left messages asking to talk to Susan Engel but have so far received no reply.
I have since been made aware of rumblings on the net suggesting that resistance in the local Jewish community to my coming engagement may have had something to do with its cancellation. If that be the case it saddens me. In these troubled times, opportunities for serious, measured discourse are too precious to be discarded on the altar of sectarian prejudice. Not to talk is not an option.
Waters is saddened that there “might have been some resistance in the local Jewish community” to his appearing at a Jewish institution, which is supported by Jewish dollars from mostly Jewish members, as well as receiving funding to the tune of nearly a million dollars by the NYC Federation -UJA. Some resistance? Richard Allen, the moving force behind JCC Watch, provided the vehicle through which much of that resistance was expressed.
“It’s absolutely outrageous that Jewish community funds are going to help Roger Waters spread his anti-Semitic message,” said Richard Allen. “UJA-Federation gives Jewish donations to the 92nd Street Y, and that money is being used to help provide Waters with a facility, marketing and respectability, so that he can win over more people with his anti-Israel lies.“
And, according to Waters, “not to talk is not an option.” Unless, of course, if you are from Israel.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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