FSWC Condemns Latest ‘Cancellation’ of Jewish Voices Following Decision by Hamilton Theatre

March 20, 2024

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Toronto (March 20, 2024) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is sharply critical of a Hamilton theatre’s decision to reverse its commitment to host the city’s Jewish Film Festival this year, in the latest example of an organization yielding to threats and intimidation from anti-Israel activists.

In an official statement, the Playhouse Cinema in Hamilton said it’s postponing the venue rental after receiving “numerous security and safety related emails, phone calls, and social media messages.”

For its part, the Hamilton Jewish Federation said the Playhouse Cinema backtracked on its commitment to host the 2024 Hamilton Jewish Film Festival “after the theatre received a small number of complaints and threatening emails objecting to the fact that Israeli films are included in this year’s line-up.”

This is the most recent case in what is becoming a modern-day witch hunt driven by the anti-Israel mob in which Jewish individuals are often blacklisted, organizations hosting them are hounded and venues are pressured to cancel Jewish or pro-Israel speakers, artists, films and plays.

“While it claims to be ‘a welcome home to a variety of cultural groups,’ the Playhouse Cinema has chosen to exclude Jewish and Israeli voices,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “Unfortunately, we are repeatedly seeing the arts community capitulate to antisemitic pressure and intimidation from those who seek to completely deny and erase the Jewish community’s connection to Israel. The theatre should be ashamed of its discriminatory and disgraceful decision.”

FSWC is reaching out to the Playhouse Cinema to express dismay at its decision to no longer host the Jewish Film Festival.

The Hamilton Jewish Federation has announced it is postponing the festival to a later date and will host the event at its own facility.