April 24, 2009

Churchill's wars?

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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