Kushner's Compassionate Engagement With Jewish History and Existence

Abby Zimet

The uproar continues over the "unconscionably stupid" move by the trustees of City University of New York to deny an honorary degree to longtime activist, progressive, mensch and Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner for his cogent criticisms of Israel. The Shalom Center blasted the "excommunicating" of Kushner and his angels as "Middle East McCarthyism" and Jewish peace groups launched a petition to be delivered to CUNY today, Israel's Day of Independence. There's a Facebook page and daily updates. Most powerfully, Kushner speaks in an open letter about "my outrage, my grief, my terror, my moments of despair" in light of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Below, an interview with Kushner after he got a Prophetic Voices Award, which he slyly converted into a Pathetic Voices Award. He's brilliant, hilarious, brave, honest, moving and full of empathy - all qualities, surely,  worthy of being honored.

"I decided long ago that my job as a playwright is to try to speak and write honestly about what I believe to be true. It's been my experience that truth eventually triumphs over soundbites, spin and defamation, and that reason, honest inquiry, and courage, which are more appealing and more persuasive than demagoguery, will carry the day."

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