Wonder why Broward County is such a dead place when it comes to political debate and art? Obviously part of the reason is that the Sun-Sentinel is a dead newspaper. Case in point comes with the cancellation of a play about a young American peace activist who was crushed by Israeli bulldozers while trying to protect a Palestinian's home in Gaza. You may remember her name. It's in the play's title: My Name is Rachel Corrie.
A decent daily newspaper would be all over this story. It's got it all. A play about a powerful event in the Middle East, the outrageous death of an exceptional young woman. Political controversy. Intellectual treason committed by the elitist American Heritage, one of the most expensive private schools in South Florida. And finally, censorship of the play.
What do we get out of the pathetic and brain-dead Sentinel staff? A freaking digest. So much of us -- including the Pulp -- missed it altogether until the cowardly newspaper published an op-ed this morning from an Arabic software engineer from Weston named Ali Elhajj (I couldn't find it on the Sentinel's website).
Here's the story in a nutshell: The play was being produced by Plantation's Mosaic Theatre Company. Because it had the audacity to tell the story of an American killed while
trying to help Palestinians, Jewish groups rallied against it. (God forbid the truth about the Middle East ever be told in South Florida!). The Jewish Federation of Broward County and American Jewish Committee were especially vocal. Then the play's sponsor, American Heritage School, caved and the Mosaic's Board of Directors cancelled the play (the board members: Mitchell Gordon, Paul Simon, Gary Berger, Jeffrey Simon, Jeffrey Algozer, Devin Avery, Myron Levy, and Jeff Mindling).
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The Mosaic's artistic director, Richard Jay Simon, tried to save the play but didn't have a chance. Simon is Jewish and he obviously is one of what I believe to be a majority of Jews in South Florida who still believe in free expression when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. Unfortunately, the lock-step groups that wield Jewish political power have become so un-American and closed-minded that they want to blot out anything that doesn't match their soul-crushing ideology.
And the American Heritage School? It should be ashamed, as should all the parents who have their children attending the Plantation prepper. But they don't care. American Heritage is all about money and its cowardly decision to pull support from the Corrie play is no different. If only the school could live up to its name instead of making a mockery of it.
And the Sun-Sentinel is just plain AWOL, as usual. By relegating this important story to a blurb (and then only publishing an opinion from an Arabic citizen moved to write) it proved it's just as cowardly as the school and the Mosaic's board.
(The Miami Herald's Christine Dolen covered it well, by the way. Isn't it funny -- a mostly Miami paper is so often better at covering Broward County than the Fort Lauderdale-based Sentinel.)