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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Caryl Churchill

University of Lincoln and Anti-Jewish Racism.

with 13 comments

Engage reminds us that Caryl Churchill’s squalid and racist theatrical production, Seven Jewish Children is still about.

This time the racism that exudes has found a foothold in academia, notably at the University of Lincoln’s School of Performing Arts and School of Humanities.

That’s rather surprising.

We like to think of academics as having considered views, an ability to see past the obvious, a subtle grasp of events or history, etc yet clearly that isn’t the case here.

I have covered this racist play before, but just in case any University of Lincoln staff drop by I will explain in note format why it is racist.

1. In contemporary society we generally consider something to be bigoted or racist if it applies negative stereotypes to certain ethnic or social groups.

2. For example, we can see such material in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, and most intelligent people will acknowledge that.

3. Caryl Churchill does just that, in her play, Seven Jewish Children.

4. The obvious indicator to this racism is, the title.

5. Further, throughout the exchanges the play seeks to convey a negative stereotype of Jews.

6. All of that is irrespective of the author’s intent.

7. Therefore, anyone remotely objective would have to conclude that if a theatrical work is aimed at one particular (and only one) ethnic group and continues to portray them in a negative fashion, that it is racist, in effect.

8. Whatever excuse the author gives is beside the point, as the evidence shows the play to be racist in its negative message and content.

If that doesn’t do it, read Howard Jacobson:

“Quite simply, in this wantonly inflammatory piece, the Jews drop in on somewhere they have no right to be, despise, conquer, and at last revel in the spilling of Palestinian blood. There is a one-line equivocal mention of a suicide bomber, and ditto of rockets, both compromised by the “Tell her” device, otherwise no Arab lifts a finger against a Jew. “Tell her about Jerusalem,” but no one tells her, for example, that the Jewish population of East Jersusalem was expelled at about the time our survivors turn up, that it was cleansed from the city and its sacred places desecrated or destroyed. Only in the crazed brains of Israelis can the motives for any of their subsequent actions be found.

Thus lie follows lie, omission follows omission, until, in the tenth and final minute, we have a stage populated by monsters who kill babies by design – “Tell her we killed the babies by mistake,” one says, meaning don’t tell her what we really did – who laugh when they see a dead Palestinian policeman (“Tell her they’re animals… Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out”), who consider themselves the “chosen people”, and who admit to feeling happy when they see Palestinian “children covered in blood

Anti-Semitic? No, no. Just criticism of Israel.

Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.”

Tactless, Stupid Or Just Plain Racist? You Decide.

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You really have to wonder what goes on inside the heads of those running the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Do they sit around in a circle arguing about “what is the best way to be offensive towards Jews?”

“Ahh, yes, we’ll stage the play again”

“That’s sure to get up their noses”.

You could almost imagine that exchange taking place, as the PSC, rather inappropriately, has decided to stage at the London Polish centre in Hammersmith, Seven Jewish Children:

“PSC would like to invite you to add a twinkle of merriment to your December days and come and enjoy an evening of theatre, poetry and music with us.

We’ve got a great night lined up, including a performance of Seven Jewish Children by the acclaimed playwright Caryl Churchill. This short play is a moving reflection on Israel’s attack on Gaza, and was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in February 2009. PSC is delighted that West End and television stars, Anna Carteret, David Calder and Andrew Jarvis will be peforming the play for us at our Winter Concert.

Date: Tuesday 7 December
Time: 7pm (ends 9.30pm)
Venue: The Polish Centre, 238-246 King Street, Hammersmith”

But if you were to try and remind the PSC leaders of their racist thinking and why of all places the Polish centre might be avoided, I don’t think they’d get it.

Years of the constant drip drip of “Anti-Zionism” has made them all, but insensitive to any manifestation of anti-Jewish racism, particularly their own.

Readers may want to refresh themselves with my previous post on that nasty racist play by Caryl Churchill:

“Shorter version, if you wouldn’t accept a nasty racist play about Blacks full of odorous stereotypes, then why is it acceptable to do the same where Jews are concerned?

If you wouldn’t do the former but have no problem with the latter then you are probably closer to the BNP’s way of thinking than you’d like to admit. A point to think about.”

(H/T: Richard Millet.)

Update 1: Dave Rich and Mark Gardner from the CST dealt with the racism embedded in this nauseating play in 2009:

“Seven Jewish Children is not a play about Israel. It was written by Churchill as a “response to the situation in Gaza in January 2009″, but it is a play explicitly about Jews. Her response to Gaza is to accuse Jews of having undergone a pathological transformation from victims to oppressors. The play comprises seven brief scenes, of which the first two are generally taken to represent the Holocaust, or perhaps pogroms during an earlier period of antisemitic agitation; in other words, they take place in Europe, before Israel even existed. It is Jewish thought and behaviour that links the play together, not Israel. The words Israel, Israelis, Zionism and Zionist are not mentioned once in the play, while Jews are mentioned in the title and in the text itself. We are often told that when people talk about Israel or Zionists, it is mischievous to accuse them of meaning Jews. Now, we are expected to imagine that a play that talks only of Jews, in fact, means Israelis.

In the first two scenes, it is Jewish “uncles” and “grandmother” who are killed, despite approximately one and a half million Jewish children having perished in the Holocaust. Whereas it is elderly Jews who are killed, the Jews’ victims are overwhelmingly depicted as children: there are two mentions of dead adults, namely “Hamas fighters” and “policemen”, but seven of dead children: “the boy”, “the family of dead girls”, “babies” and “their children covered in blood”. The play lands its blows in the final two scenes, culminating in a monologue of genocidal racist hatred: “they’re animals … I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out … we’re chosen people.” “

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