Rachel and Rachel

The New York Theatre Workshop recently “postponed indefinitely” its off-Broadway production of the London solo, My Name Is Rachel Corrie. The recriminations have already begun – Katherine Viner, co-editor of the play, recently opined in the LA Times that the cancelation was politically motivated. Katherine of course took umbrage with that. She told the New York Times that the play is “a piece of art, not a piece of agitprop.” Viner also predictably, cites the response of several right-wing Jews who saw the play in London and were, uh… moved:

One night in London, an Israeli couple, members of the right-wing Likud party on holiday in Britain, came up after the show, impressed. “The play wasn’t against Israel; it was against violence,” they told Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother … I was particularly touched by a young Jewish New Yorker from an Orthodox family who said he had been nervous about coming to see “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” because he had been told that both she and the play were viciously anti-Israel. But he had been powerfully moved by Rachel’s words and realized that he had, to his alarm, been dangerously misled.

Talk about tokenism, huh? “Look! Even these awful Jews liked it!” The whole Rachel Corrie thing has taken on a life of its own since the blonde, photogenic, American ISMer’s untimely death in Gaza. Some have accused the IDF of deliberately murdering Rachel while others have called her an idiot. Was she a saint? A martyr of Anne Frankeian proportions? Or just another stupid white kid caught up in what she thought was a noble revolution? I figure her intentions were probably mostly good – but getting involved in the ISM is definitely stupid, interfering with military operations in a war zone – stupider, and crouching in front of a Caterpillar bulldozer where the driver has limited visibility – stupidest.

But what about the play? Well, the London Times called it “an unabashedly one-sided tribute,” demonstrated in the conclusion of the review:

As she jots down thoughts in her notebook and fires off e-mails to her parents, she declares that “the vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance”. Even the late Yassir Arafat might have blushed at that one.

Yikes. Art indeed. I mean look, I wouldn’t have seen the play anyway. I don’t need to have my reason distorted by a biased, sentimental, one-sided propaganda piece. Cripes, I haven’t even seen Rent. Or Cats. So clearly I am not heartbroken by the cancellation. But it was pretty lame of the New York Theatre Workshop to cancel the play. Now that their indefinite postponement has created such a stir, and oh so much publicity, expect to see My Name Is Rachel Corrie at an Off-Broadway theatre near you and playing to sold out houses no doubt.

Man… if only someone cancelled or banned Jewlicious, that would so rule! I’m sure we’d all get book deals or something for sure!

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

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