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British Theater Has an Enemy, and Its Name Is Israel

Sept. 1 2017

On the eve of Yom Kippur, the 2005 play My Name Is Rachel Corrie will return to the London stage. The play, which amounts to little more than crass anti-Israel propaganda, is based on the story of its title character, who died after throwing herself in front of an IDF bulldozer at the behest of the International Solidarity Movement, an organization dedicated to providing cover for Hamas. David Herman sees a pattern “of anti-Israel bias in British theater.”

Over the past twenty years there have been a number of plays attacking Israel: My Name Is Rachel Corrie, Alive from Palestine: Stories under the Occupation, David Hare’s Via Dolorosa, and Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza. In 2014 the Tricycle Theater refused to host the UK Jewish Film Festival because it received funding from the Israeli embassy. The Tricycle was supported by Nicholas Hytner, then director of the National Theater. In addition, [the playwright] Harold Pinter, [the producer] Michael Kustow, and [the playwright] Arnold Wesker all became vocal critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Along with Churchill and Hare, these were major figures in British theater. . . .

At Edinburgh this summer, Jackie Walker, a left-wing activist suspended from the Labor party over accusations of anti-Semitism, had a one-woman show, The Lynching, which included predictable attacks on Israel. A banner draped in front of the audience read: “Anti-Semitism is a crime. Anti-Zionism is a duty.”

Another play on the subject—Oslo—is also coming to London. Although this play is hardly distinguished for its sympathy to Israel or its sensitivity to the realities of the conflict, Herman notes that “it is inconceivable that it would have been commissioned by a British theater or written by a well-known British playwright,” as its (pro-forma) attempts at evenhandedness make it a far cry from the “shrill agitprop” preferred by the British stage.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Israel & Zionism, Theater, United Kingdom

 

In Pursuing Peace with Saudi Arabia, Israel Must Demand Reciprocity and Keep the Palestinian Question off the Table

Nov. 22 2017

The recent, unprecedented interview given by the IDF chief of staff to a major Arabic news outlet has fed the growing enthusiasm in Israel about the prospects of a peace treaty and mutual recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh. Mordechai Kedar urges level heads and caution, and puts forward ten principles that should guide any negotiations. Most importantly, he argues that the two countries normalize relations before coming to any agreements about the Palestinians. To this he adds:

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace. . . . If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. Israel [has] been a state for 70 years without peace with Saudi Arabia and can continue being a state for another 7,000 years without it. Any desire for a quick peace (as expressed in the disastrous slogan “Peace Now”) will raise the price of that peace. . . .

[As part of any agreement], Israel will recognize the House of Saud’s rule in Mecca and Medina—even though the family does not originate from the Hejaz [where the holy cities are located] but from the Najd highland—in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its historic and eternal capital city. Israel will recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel as the Jewish state or a state belonging to the Jewish people. . . .

Israel will not allow incitement against Saudi Arabia in its media. In return, the Saudis will not allow anti-Israel incitement in Saudi media. . . .

It is important to keep the Americans and Europeans away from the negotiating table, since they will not be party to the agreement and will not have to suffer the results of its not being honored—and since their interests are not necessarily those of Israel, especially when it comes to the speed at which the negotiations move forward. The Americans want to cut a deal, even a bad deal, and if they are allowed into the negotiation rooms, they will pressure Israel to give in, mainly on the Palestinian issue.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia