7 JEWISH CHILDREN : A PLAY FOR GAZA

NOVANEWS

I just watched this again and the idea that it is antisemitic is so dishonest it’s quite breathtaking that anyone can watch it and make that false allegation whilst keeping a straight face. The smearing of Caryl Churchill isn’t a job for the hasbara flock, this is one for the hasbara professionals, seasoned smear merchants. And boy, have they been busy lately.
Most of the play dwells more on the legitimate fears of Jews before it moves to Palestine and finally to Gaza and the whole thing takes the form of argument, one parent arguing one thing, the other counter-arguing and yet the the play is accused of portraying Jews as this one thing, or that one thing, or the other one thing. How can that be if Jews are arguing different points? How are Jews portrayed in an unfavourable light when they are arguing different points most of which are not unfavourable?
The hasbara brigade has claimed that the title of the play, 7 Jewish children, is itself antisemitic then they have selected this or that line, distorted its meaning and then claimed that one distorted line to typify the whole play. But the title of the play is 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza and it’s that last bit that makes it antisemitic in the wacky world of hasbara.
I don’t know what the copyright issues are here so watch it while it lasts and if you can’t see it here go watch it at at the
Guardian site.
video
As I watched this for the umpteenth time I was reminded of the old cliché that two Jews need three synagogues to accommodate all their opinions. If the cliché is true then Caryl Churchill has portrayed it excellently as her Jewish parents argue over what to tell their Jewish children. So where do the zionists get the idea that this play is a uniformly negative portrayal of the Jews? It was a short play, maybe they weren’t paying attention. Surely they wouldn’t falsely accuse people of antisemitism?

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April 27, 2009

I thought I had a bit of a scoop yesterday when someone wrote to me saying that David T of Harry’s Place had literally gone mad over the Guardian’s hosting of a film clip of one woman doing a reading of Caryl Churchill’s play, Seven Jewish Children: a play for Gaza. The guy told me that there was a ridiculously over the top post followed by a thread that was pretty nutty even by HP standards and that later in the day, Engage style, the embarrassing post had disappeared. But no, my contact was wrong. David Hirsh disappears embarrassing posts but David T is made of mm, er, better? no that’s not the word, worse? no that’s not it either. David T is different from David Hirsh; a little bit anyway. That is, he didn’t disappear the post that if he had any shame at all he would be painfully embarrassed about.
So what’s all this? The Guardian decided, what with all the hooha about the play, they would commission an actor to perform
7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza. I posted the script some time ago, here. So now you can watch the play and read the script. I couldn’t get into the script but it is very ably performed, indeed the script really comes alive when performed by Jennie Stoller so if you haven’t watched it yet you might want to do so before reading on.
The HP post simply says the following:

Guardian Stages Seven Jewish Children

David T, April 25th 2009
You can read the Guardian’s self-justification here.
You can watch it online here.
This is the Guardian’s next theatrical project.

 And the next theatrical project is the notorious antisemitic nazi propaganda film, Jud Süß.
So that’s all there is to the post. The Guardian has produced and presented 7 Jewish children and that apparently compares to a nazi propaganda film made, I believe, by Goebels and HP hosts the a youtube clip of Jud Süß helpfully subtitled in Magyar as if to emphasise (not) the widespread nature of antisemitic propaganda throughout the Anglosphere. The antisemitism of the play is held to speak for itself, in the title, in the comparison with Jud Süß and of course in the fact that HP has a beef about it. It’s a curious paradox that for a hasbara parrot, David T isn’t too big on the explain thing. He prefers enigmatic assertions, rhetorical questions and implied, sometimes even expressed, allegations.
See what I mean in the comments. The first one is quite a good one from an
Andrew Adams :

So they’re staging a reading so that people can actually see for themselves what the fuss is about and make their own mind up. And that’s the same as showing a Nazi propaganda film. A sense of proportion is required here I think.

And the riposte from DT?

”tell her we’re chosen people”

See what I mean by enigmatic or am I doing it now? Is he saying that no Jewish children ever get told that they are chosen people? Where did the expression come from? Why was that film about frummer and reformers called “The Chosen”? or where I saw it, The Chosen PG. What about Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof? Why did he tell G-d to choose someone else? A similar thing gets said by one of the characters in the film Defiance. The chosen people thing runs very deeply in the Jewish religion and means different thing to different people but its incorporation into the zionist ideology, whether secular or religious, as an idea of Jewish superiority can’t seriously be gainsaid. Personally I have had several Jews, Israelis and Christians say to me that Jews are the chosen people. So what’s he saying?
DT needs time to think about what he is to say to firm up on the allegation that Caryl Churchill’s play is comparable to a nazi propaganda film, so one minute after his first response comes his second:

Let me put it this way, Andrew.
You’re not an anti-racist. You’re happy to give anti-semitism a pass, as long as it is plausibly dressed up as anti-Zionism.

Goodness, all he said was it was a bit disproportionate suggesting that the Guardian was close to hosting nazi propaganda. For all we know Andrew might be very concerned about racism and possibly about antisemitism in particular. You really can’t say one way or the other from the comment he made and sure enough, Andrew’s having none of it:

You’re not an anti-racist. You’re happy to give anti-semitism a pass, as long as it is plausibly dressed up as anti-Zionism.

Crap. I don’t have a view about whether the play is anti-semitic or not, I haven’t seen it or read it. But it has certainly attracted a lot of controversy so why not give people an opportunity to make their minds up for themselves.

Typically the thread meanders a good bit while people try to outdo each other for allegations of antisemitism (I’m skimming) so whilst it’s not entirely clear who DT is responding to here I’ll assume it’s this Andrew guy:

I’m not suggesting it should be banned.

I’m just explaining that people who do put on a play, the thesis of which is that Jewish children are told to celebrate the deaths of others, because they are “the chosen people” are antisemites.
I also think that people who do not see this is a racist argument, are tolerant of racism.

So Caryl Churchill has written an antisemitic play and anyone who hosts it for any reason is antisemitic. This includes the liberal zionist Jewish lobby theatre, Theatre J.
Now a lot more drivel follows, especially from DT but then in wades
The Hasbara Buster :

It’s very amusing to see how many of Caryl’s negative reviewers have written critiques imitating the “Tell her that–” model. The play has hit home, not because of its literary merit, which it absolutely lacks, but because of how effectively it ridicules Zionist brainwashing. The crude, childish indoctrination depicted in the play is in fact what young –and adult– Jews are fed by their political and religious leadership.

You don’t like it? Then stop repeating moronic clichés like ”they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” “we’ll have peace when they love their children more than they hate us,” or “we can forgive their killing our children, but not their forcing us to kill theirs.” Each time you Zionists repeat them you expose yourselves as the brainwashed lot you are.
 Now that was good, what are they going to do now? Up steps Gene:

It’s very amusing to see how many of Caryl’s negative reviewers have written critiques imitating the “Tell her that–” model.

On a first-name basis now? Does she call you Hasbara?
 

No, she calls you hasbara, Gene, at least she would if she knew you.
Things go from weird to weirder when “Joshua” suggests, by quoting Theodor Herzl’s notorious acceptance of antisemitism, that resistance to antisemitism is futile given that:

anti-Semites and anti-Zionists will achieve the same result in their newspapers and on their blogs. They will simply redouble their efforts and attempt to diminish you and those like you at every turn.

What? DT’s not having any of that with all his achievements and ends his response by saying:

we most certainly aren’t standing around doing nothing. Our enemies have a pretty good idea of what we’ve achieved and it makes them very nervous.

Oo-er! But back comes Joshua:

The notion that you have had anything but the slightest effect on those anti-Semites and anti-Zionists is utterly absurd. You have made them nervous? Hubristic twaddle.

Sorry about that. Two lunatics slugging it out over whether nazi propaganda can be stopped at the Guardian is no better than just the one. I just wanted to show that little hint of a Napoleon complex on DT’s part.
Back to the Hasbara Buster, picking up on some of David T’s claims within the thread:

 

1. Jews have not threatened violence over this, or any other of they myriad racist defamations to which we’ve been subject

Robert Faurisson has been repeatedly beaten to a pulp by Jews, and Serge Klarsfeld has approved of the beatings.
To the deafening silence of world Jewry.

 Hmm, not a great move, that one. Earlier in the thread DT had said:

What a hilarious play Churchill has written. I would spit in her face.

And he gets support from a fan, Chas Newkey-Burden :

“What a hilarious play Churchill has written. I would spit in her face.”

Join the queue.
 Ah, now when someone else with an appalling hasbara blog of his own writes the same thing as DT did, DT can see what a stupid thing it was to say and hastily withdraws:

Actually, I hope I wouldn’t. I hope I’d have the grace to walk away.

Me too, I’d hate him to bring the Jews into disrepute.
But HB plumped for an incident involving a holocaust denier. What a gift from HB to HP and especially to DT. Straight away, ignoring the point completely HB is asked if he supports Faurisson:

No; I’m just debunking the myth that Jews don’t threaten violence over the defamations they’ve been subject to.

And he was and he did and he moved on to debunk another myth in the making.

 

2. This play claims that Jewish parents encourage Jewish children to revel in the dead of a civil war. That is, quite frankly, untrue. It is also essentially a rehashing of the Blood Libel.

Where, David? Where does the play claim this? It is these small misrepresentations that in the end lead you to call the play antisemitic.
The play says: 

Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her the names, why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldn’t she know? tell her there’s dead babies, did she see babies? tell her she’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Tell her they did it to themselves.
The play claims that Jewish children are told to blame the victims — NOT to take pleasure in their deaths.
We ALL know this is true. We all know the official Zionist line is that the dead children is something the Palestinians did to themselves.
You don’t live in Israel. However, a journo who does live there said:
I heard comments similar to these from some of my relatives during the war. Going back through the 24 years I’ve lived here, I’ve heard comments like these from relatives, neighbors, fellow soldiers – I’ve heard it and read it all over the place. I’ve heard it from Diaspora Jews too.
Caryl Churchill told the truth and she’s called an antisemite. The usual prescription.
This goes to the heart of the issue. Caryl Churchill’s play is being grotesquely misrepresented. The worst possible spin and improbable spin is put on her words and her intentions and Hasbara Buster appears to have demonstrated that the overall allegation of antisemitism is based on a false interpretation of what was written. Now you’d expect David T to respond to that but instead he pretends to take this paranoid Joshua seriously and continues his discussion with him. Meanwhile, Hasbara Buster is now being accused of antisemitism, holocaust denial and being a nazi.
So where is DT? Ah here he is, a few trolls in tow and he thinks he’s found a get out from his silly notion that Jews never threaten violence when something offends their political sensibilities and that is because the example out of many that HB chose was a holocaust denier who seems to have been beaten up by a small gang of Jewish youths. So anyway, here’s DT:

I’m not getting into that; I’ll only say that Faurisson was beaten by Jews, who in turn were praised by a leading Jewish personality, for the sole crime of exercising his right to free speech.

You bloody well are getting into that!
“I’ll only say…”
You scumbag Faurrison supporter.
See, what a dumb move. The point in that discussion was never the views of Faurisson, it was whether he was beaten up by some Jews or not. By all means check but I think HB made his case very well. But that’s not the main point either. The idea that someone can in all seriousness say that Jews never threaten violence over their political sensibilities being offended is downright silly even without reference to specific examples but this was a side issue.
The issue was the play and many zionists are saying it is antisemitic and David T is saying that it is antisemitic to even show the play for any reason and to make his case he is misrepresenting what it actually said. Hasbara Buster demonstrated that in a significant passage the play wasn’t as represented by DT. And yet David T, having accused Caryl Churchill and certain unnamed people at the Guardian never returned to the thread to discuss his bizarre take on the play and the ludicrous comparison he made of the play with a nazi propaganda film.
Now, if you still haven’t taken in the reading of 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza, at the Guardian site, then I suggest that you
do that now.

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April 24, 2009

No not that Churchill, Caryl Churchill. Here’s a surprising review by Larry Derfner of the play Seven Jewish children: a play for Gaza in the Jerusalem Post. In it the reviewer says that not only is it not anti-Jewish it’s not even particularly anti-Israel:

Read the “worst” monologue, the climactic one: “Tell her, tell her about the army, tell her to be proud of the army. Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her the names, why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldn’t she know? tell her there’s dead babies, did she see babies? tell her she’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Tell her they did it to themselves. Tell her they want their children killed to make people feel sorry for them, tell them I don’t feel sorry for them, tell her not to be sorry for them, tell her we’re the ones to be sorry for, tell her they can’t talk suffering to us. Tell her we’re the iron fist now, tell her it’s the fog of war, tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policemen, tell her they’re animals living in rubble now, tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I don’t care if the world hates us, 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.”
I heard comments similar to these from some of my relatives during the war. Going back through the 24 years I’ve lived here, I’ve heard comments like these from relatives, neighbors, fellow soldiers – I’ve heard it and read it all over the place. I’ve heard it from Diaspora Jews too.
Who are we kidding? Does that monologue represent the voice of every Israeli and “pro-Israeli” Diaspora Jew? Of course not. But is it an authentic voice, a view of Palestinians held by many, many Jews here and abroad even if they don’t express it publicly? Has that voice not gotten louder? And when push comes to shove with the Palestinians, as it did in Operation Cast Lead, does Seven Jewish Children not echo the inner (and often outer) voice of Israel at war?

The comments are so bizarre in that many of them could have formed the basis of play. Thankfully some of the thirty-eight comments point that out.

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