ModernityBlog

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

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.”

13 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this, Mod. I’d forgotten/never quite realised how well Jacobson had put it.

    zkharya

    21/01/2011 at 19:34

  2. And thanks to *you* for your past critique of this awful play.

    If you want to correlate it I will gladly publish it, it deserves a wider audience.

    modernityblog

    21/01/2011 at 22:02

  3. Zkharya – yes, once again I found myself reading your notes (on Engage) because I taught 7JC again recently.

    Sarah AB

    22/01/2011 at 09:49

  4. I understand the play is dreadful and offensive on many levels. That being said, I do not like censoring material, even odious ones such as this.

    The real problem is a monoculture within higher educational institutions that encourage this type of thought without criticism. Would the same types who produced this defend the right of those who support the State of Israel to present their arguments.

    Would the University stage a Seven Trotskyites, a play written by Michael Ezra? I might fly across the pond to see such an original concept, but don’t hold your breath.

    Beakerkin

    22/01/2011 at 15:20

  5. Beakerkin – the two speakers who are apparently lined up to discuss the play in Lincoln after the performance are both associated with antizionism, I understand.

    However I don’t think it’s fair to describe HE as a monoculture – I’ve taught the play in a cautiously critical way myself (cautious because I don’t want to impose my views on anyone, although I don’t want to hide them either).

    As I’ve been discussing on HP – where I do differ from some others is in my view of the play’s artistic merits – it’s not a masterpiece but it’s cleverly crafted and generates very good discussions.

    Sarah AB

    22/01/2011 at 17:16

  6. Sarah

    Would the University permit a Michael Ezra play lampooning Trotskyites? There is indeed an enormous problem in HE where the 2% of the population Marxists have a stranglehold in many departments and compete to be the most outrageous. As critical mainstream voices are eliminated, we get fiascoes like a Professor sending out David Duke articles in her emails.

    We don’t think the University would permit satirizing Trotskyite clowns. Perhaps Michael Ezra should really pen such a play and see the worms tun.

    Beakerkin

    23/01/2011 at 00:22

  7. I find it difficult to imagine anyone objecting to such a play! I don’t want to be mean about the David Duke emailer, but she was not a Professor, not even in the American sense I don’t think, though she worked in HE, and I don’t think she quite understood what she was doing, though I’m not going to defend what she did.

    I do think you exaggerate the hold of the far/hard left on universities a bit – I’m sure there are some pockets – and they tend to be very vocal and visible- but I’d say the political views of academics are quite varied although perhaps more left/liberal than the average.

    Sarah AB

    23/01/2011 at 11:00

  8. Sarah

    Would you care to look at polls in the USA? If the GOP is 30% of the population how do they represent less than 2% of faculty hires.

    Marxists represent 1% of the population and are exponentially over represented.

    The indecent with the lecturer emailing David Duke articles happens because faculty compete amongst themselves to be the most outrageous. The result is so called scholars like Delitch who are intellectually lazy and never have basic assumptions challenged.

    Let Michael Ezra pen such satire and see if the University will stage it. The University will never permit a direct satire of any Marxist.

    Beakerkin

    23/01/2011 at 14:07

  9. I don’t think the fact that Republicans are under represented statistically is the same thing as saying that Marxists have a stranglehold. What proportion of Republicans apply for jobs?

    Do you mean that the central university authorities wouldn’t allow a satire on Marxists, or that the students/lecturers would forbid it? I don’t think either scenario is at all likely, although it is possible they might simply not have any appetite to perform it. Clearly there is an appetite to perform 7JC – and I won’t deny that that’s a problem. Maybe I should go and heckle! (I mean intervene in any post show debate rather than attempt to derail the performance.)

    Sarah AB

    23/01/2011 at 14:36

  10. Sarah

    As stated before I do not object to the practice of free speech. However, there is a dishonesty about where the speech is coming from. The fact that Norman Finklestein was or remains a Maoist speaks volumes about his mindset. His act of being an ordinary Jew who is morally outraged by Israel is quite humorous coming from a Maoist.

    Let Michael Ezra pen a nice little play about hypocritical Marxists and their history of crimes against humanity. No such play would ever be permitted on campus. Portraying Noam Chomsky as a deceptive imbecile would be stopped before it was produced.

    There is a concept called adverse impact in US Law. It is the nice little game lefties use to allow racial minorities to gain admission with lower test scores than the general population. There is far more evidence that Marxists and Anarchists are exponentially over represented in HE faculty.

    How does 30% of the population have nearly
    zero faculty hires and 2% exponential over representation. The claim of Marxist intellectual superiority is false as it takes little effort to repeat party dogma.

    The bottom line is that in an era of tighter budgets the lazy obnoxious publicity seeking Marxist faculty is the worst enemy HE has. There is plenty of momentum to cut student loans and aid to higher ed. Blaming it on Palin and the Tea Party misses the mark entirely.

    Beakerkin

    23/01/2011 at 20:11

  11. The University will never permit a direct satire of any Marxist.

    Um, a lot of universities have put on Animal Farm.

    Your Ezra example is a bit odd anyway, as he’s not a playwright or, indeed, any kind of creative writer at all to the best of my knowledge.

    There is far more evidence that Marxists and Anarchists are exponentially over represented in HE faculty.

    Source? (Statistics, not opinion please. In other words, not Horowitz who is a partisan on this issue).

    For that matter, can you name any plays put on in HE by an anarchist playwright? If not, will you be condemning this as political bias?

    Waterloo Sunset

    23/01/2011 at 22:47

  12. Waterloo

    Your description of Horrowitz as a partisan is rather amusing. A former Marxist breaks the faith and suddenly he becomes a partisan.The polls are out there for anyone who cares to look.

    Animal Farm is usually taught at the High School level. Rigoberta Menchu is widely taught long after the book was found to be fraudulent. Would you seriously, like to count how many professors assign Chomsky (outside of linguistics) and Howard Zinn’s error filled farce history.

    As stated before I have no objection to free speech. The problem is that the speech is seldom honest about who is doing the talking.

    Let Michael Ezra, who regularly posts the facts about Marxist history pen a play about bumbling hypocritical and often treasonous Marxists and Universities will run. How about a play that portrays Rachel Corrie as brainwashed by pot addicted parents and professors?

    Funny, but in an era where pro Israel speakers are heckled and Jewish and Republican students harassed in such places as UCI and Columbia your sentiments are misguided.

    Beakerkin

    24/01/2011 at 00:35

  13. […] after the event, and Friends of Palestine in West Australia have an unforgivable taste for that nasty racist play, Seven Jewish […]


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