LOS ANGELES (Sep. 7)
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles, appealed to American Jews not to watch the CBS-TV program “Playing for Time” on Sept. 30, which stars Vanessa Redgrave, a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as Fania Feneion who played in an orchestra in Auschwitz as its inmates were processed for execution.
Hier declared that “in a final display of insensitivity, when Jews around the world are engaged in introspection and when the victims of the Holocaust are publicly memorialized, the CBS decision to champion the rights of Vanessa Redgrave at the expense of the-feelings of Fania Fenelon and the millions of Hitler’s victims, is a gross violation of the public trust the American people have a right to expect from a national network.”
(A CBS spokesperson in New York confirmed that the program would be telecast Sept. 30. Jewish organizations have repeatedly denounced the network for the selection of Redgrave for the Fenelon role.)
Hier declared that CBS “has never properly addressed the opinions expressed by hundreds of thousands of Americans and dozens of organizations” after the initial announcement that Redgrave would play the role.
Hier also charged that playwright Arthur Mille, and CBS officials “have tried to unsuccessfully project the issue as blacklisting, while simultaneously maintaining silence in the face of Redgrave’s call for a show business boycott of Israel.” He added that Americans “have rallied behind Fania because of CBS’ callous disregard for her story, her feelings and her life.”
He said he had received a call from Fenelon from Paris–in which, he reported, she said, “I ask you from the bottom of my heart not to watch CBS and Vanessa Redgrave turn my legacy and labor of love into a nightmare.”