Posts Tagged ‘Seven’
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.”
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.” “
As anti-Jewish racism seeps into the public discourse via the British liberal establishment, it is apparent why those with a fixation or animosity towards Israelis or Jews are largely impervious to reason as a poster at Engage relates her experiences:
“Israelinurse Says: October 25, 2009 at 9:20 am
Yesterday’s event at the Bolton Octagon was, of course, predictably depressing. The actual format of the event did not and could not promote real debate because of its structure whereby the Director called upon people to speak and most simply recited pre-prepared statements slamming Israel. We endured all the usual slogans (ethnic cleansing, massacre etc.) and were treated to quite a few downright lies including the bizarre claim from Richard Kuper (JFJFP) that no rockets were fired into Israel in the months prior to Cast Lead.
I found it particularly revealing that Dr Brian Iddon MP (Bolton SE, Lab) repeatedly tripped himself up by saying ‘Jews’ instead of ‘Israelis’.
As one lady said to me during the interval, the Miller play which should have been staged at this event is ‘The Crucible’; not ‘All My Sons’.
A particularly significant moment for me personally was when, in the interval just after I had ‘outed’ myself as an Israeli, I suddenly found that the stairs and corridors leading to the lobby emptied magically before me as various audience members pressed themselves against the walls as though they were afraid of any type of contact. Far from being curious at the chance to meet a real Israeli, these people seemed terrified that something, anything, might upset their world view.
In short, this was an entirely self-indulgent event on the part of the assorted PSC supporters, ‘AsAJews’, anarchists and Quakers present. Nobody had come to listen, nobody had come to bridge gaps. Their aim was twofold; firstly to outdo each other as regards which shocking ‘fact’ about Israel they could publicly reveal, and secondly to obtain reassurance for their world view and the comfort of being part of a group which they perceive as being righteous.
I cannot say that I was surprised; most of my dealings with the PSC have been of this nature. The event did, however, strengthen my growing belief that Britain is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a place for open and democratic debate. What a pity that this particular section of the theatrical community is co-operating with the attempts of organisations such as the PSC to stifle any views which do not conform to their monotone perceptions. In a place such as Bolton, this would seem to me to be particularly unproductive.
The event also strengthened my view that Britain no longer deserves its Jewish community and that the only real answer to this despicable phenomenon is aliyah. “
Readers will remember The Crucible, Miller’s tale of a witch hunt.
Over time historians have pointed out that the middle classes are more susceptible to the pull of anti-Jewish racism than others, but I would never like to make a sweeping generalisation about all of the middle classes.
Nor would I even write a play, Seven Middle Class bigots, however, it is worthwhile remembering that, when confronted with the apologists for Caryl Churchill’s Nasty Racist Play, Seven Jewish Children.
I suppose I could explain, in detail, why the play is racist, how the title gives it away or that the deliberate negative portrayal of an ethnic minority is normally prima facia evidence of racism or bias.
If I wanted to go deeper I could probably explain how the negative notion of the “Chosen People” is a common thread through anti-Jewish racism and the neo-Nazi discourse.
I could do all of that, but the supporters of this play appear to be immune to reason and the play chimes with their own prejudices which means it is very hard to reach them
So instead I’ll post a sharp sarcastic clip of a comment from HP and ask Caryl Churchill’s defenders to ponder its message:
” Here’s the thing. I could write a play about how little black boys are bred by their mothers (not their fathers because all black men leave when their women get pregnant dont’ya know) to believe that they can go ahead and rape pretty white women because they really want it and stab well-bred teenage white boys because they disrespect black boys with hoodies.
Personally I wouldn’t write such garbage because I am not a simplistic, smug, nasty little racist like Caryl Churchill.
But….some people’s interpretation of this play would be that there is much truth in it and that it is not offensive.
Would the Guardian screen this (very topical) play. No of course it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t want to incur the wrath of the UKs black population and it wouldn’t want to look like a paper that was uncool, unhip and frankly racist.
But…to be anti-semitic at the mo, is not uncool. The average Guardianista likes Ahmedinajad more than the average Iranian, Hizbollah more than the Lebanese……….and dislikes and goads jews because he/she can.
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.
Update: One of the automatically generated links points to Bret Stephens piece in the WSJ, and bits of it are rather good:
“Ms. Churchill’s short play unfolds over seven scenes, beginning, dimly, sometime during the Holocaust and concluding, sharply, with Israel’s war with Hamas. Characters appear as parents or older relatives of an offstage child, and the dialogue revolves around what the girl should or should not know about her political circumstances as they unfold over the decades.
So, for the first scene we have the line, “Don’t tell her they’ll kill her” — the “they” presumably referring to Nazis. Yet by the final scene the tables have turned. Now it’s the Jews who behave like Nazis: “Tell her,” says one of the play’s Zionist elders, “I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out . . . tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? Tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her.” (My emphases.)
Just what is this supposed to mean? Michael Billington of the Guardian grasped Ms. Churchill’s point when he wrote that the play captured “the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter.” Ms. Churchill herself has written that she “wanted [the play] in some small way to reflect the shock and enormity of what happened in Gaza. I think it does that relatively mildly.” (My emphasis again.)
All this makes perfect sense — provided you’re willing to reduce the Arab-Israeli conflict to caricature, magnify it to the exclusion of all others, assign blame (and moral agency) wholly to one side, and suppose that Israelis use the memory of the Holocaust cynically or neurotically as an alibi for gratuitous and wanton bloodletting.
In other words, if you’re prepared to manipulate history as dishonestly as our vile little “play” about black America does, then it’s easy to draw a damning moral. And if you’re clever enough to cast the indictment as a story about some blacks or some Jews, or as one of generational decadence, then you might also acquit yourself of charges of racism or anti-Semitism, since you can point to a few Jews or blacks worthy of your considered respect.”
Update 2: Perhaps I should have pointed it out sooner, but HP has had many discussions on this racist play, a recent one is here. More can be found using HP’s search facility.