New London Play Attacks Israeli Jews, But the Admission is Free.

Around the table in Seven Jewish Children

Around the table in Seven Jewish Children

A 10 minute play is being performed at the Royal Court theatre in London. And it might be heading to an off Broadway venue in NYC. “Seven Jewish Children,” by Caryl Churchill, is a very short play with seven scenes. There are nine adults around a table. In the scenes, grandparents, parents, and relatives discuss and debate what the kids should be told and what they should not be told about how Israel was founded in 1948, the Holocaust, various Israeli wars and the current issue with Gaza. Each line opens with “Tell her…“ or “Don’t tell her…”

Should the kids be told that “..they want to drive us into the sea.” or that “…they don’t.” Should they be told that Israel is an “…iron fist,” or that errors happen in the “…fog of war,” or that “…we won’t stop killing them till we’re safe.” In one scene, a character says, “Tell her there are still people who hate Jews.,” Another says, “Tell her there are people who love Jews,” and a third says, “Don’t tell her to think Jews or not Jews.” In a final scene it is said, “…Tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policeman, 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.”

David Horovitch in Seven Jewish Children

David Horovitch in Seven Jewish Children

The show, as many dramas are supposed to do, is creating a debate in London. Is it anti-Zionist? Is it anti-Jewish? Is it hubris? Is it dramatic propaganda? Are Israelis being demonized on the London stage instead of just in British universities? Should the play’s author, knowing full well that most Israelis do not call themselves the “chosen people” or teach kids to hate, put outrageous lines in their mouths? Is that responsible? The play’s author, a Patron of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, is allowing the work to be performed for free, as long as admission is free, and as long as audience members make donations to the Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP): Emergency Appeal for the People of Gaza.

I for one will stick to the more enlightened London shows and characters: Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” and Fagin in “Oliver.”


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    2/18/2009 at 10:21 pm

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