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Vanessa Redgrave to Sponsor Anti-zionist Yiddish Theater

Vanessa Redgrave, the British actress whose vehement pro-Palestinian views have made her a figure of controversy, is bringing to London a production of a Moscow-based Yiddish theater company associated with the government-sanctioned Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public.

Redgrave will serve as narrator for the Shalom Theater when it is presented next week in London, as part of a season of Russian plays at the West End’s Lyric Theater, according to the London Jewish Tribune.

Shalom and a second Russian theater group are both making their first visits outside the Soviet Union.

The Shalom Theater is rival to the Jewish Musical Theater of Mikhail Gluz, who is now director of the newly-opened Solomon Mikhoels Jewish Cultural Center.

Gluz’s theater is expected to provide Jewish-themed plays that, unlike the Shalom productions, are accepted by the Soviet Jewish activist community.

Among recent Western observers of Shalom’s production were Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. They had time to attend the last scene of the play during a visit to Moscow this past week.

Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, described the Shalom’s Yiddish as “poor” and the play as lacking in Jewish context.

Cooper said he “used the opportunity of glasnost to tell the officials of the Shalom Theater what to expect from world Jewry when they find out that Vanessa Redgrave is bringing this play to the West.”

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