J Street Letter of Support on Discussing 7JC

[note the post-script below to correct misperceptions from those who never attended the event nor read our press release. But first, from J Street...]

J Street:

“The decision to feature Seven Jewish Children at Theater J should be judged not on the basis of the play’s content but, rather, on its value in sparking a difficult but necessary conversation within our community. To preclude even the possibility of such a discussion does a disservice not only to public discourse, but also to the very values of rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself.

J Street takes no position on the content of Seven Jewish Children – it is, after all, a play, and not policy. We do, however, stand unequivocally behind Theater J in its decision to feature programming that examines different facets of this critical debate over how our community can best support Israel. Such an opportunity for individual and collective reflection is integral in informing our shared interest in bringing true peace and security to Israel.

- Amy Spitalnick
J Street | www.jstreet.org

* * *

Please note for all those continuing to read this important letter from J Street:

Theater J never “produced” nor did we ever “stage” Caryl Churchill’s 10 minute play, SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN (A PLAY FOR GAZA); we held a two-night “critical inquiry” about it, inviting panelists to hear the play and then discuss it; we invited Israeli and American artists to write their own response plays to it. And I (Ari Roth, artistic director of the theater) in a lengthy introduction, explained that the most effective way to both understand and criticize the play would be to hear it as it was intended to be heard; as a piece of theater recited by actors.

Once again, we never “produced” the play; it was read (in both Hebrew and English) as a critical exercise, to better discuss and analyze it. The play lasted 8 minutes. It proved itself to be better than its detractors would have you believe, and we could come to understand what was unfair about it. The act of presenting the piece allowed us to demystify it. The act of being in dialogue with Carly Churchill herself allowed us to see her not as a flaming anti-Semite but as a dramatist who was moved out of twin sympathies and a sense of tragic historical irony that Jews once under siege were now laying siege. That’s the aspect of her play to which most Jews are most angered; it suggests an implicit meaning that Jews who once suffered at the hands of the Nazis are now behaving like Nazis. That’s not what the play says, or shows, but that’s the trope that has inflamed discussion around it. As you know, there are many ways to interpret a line of text. Churchill’s plays–and she’s regarded as one of the finest playwrights in the world–are frequently open-ended and elusive. Her short text, SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN, required an informed Jewish response from a theater that could both grapple with the theatrical challenge in presenting her words artfully, while still providing a Jewish context and frame through which to view her work coolly and rationally.

Our community and critics appreciated the effort to bring light to the subject. You can read the Washington Post’s front page assessment of our handling of the situation here.

Seven’ Revels In Not Only Acting, but Interacting
By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 27, 2009

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79 responses to “J Street Letter of Support on Discussing 7JC

  1. It is time to do the right thing and help the Palestinians as well. The Jewish community’s ……as in world or however you want to categorize it….must be conveyed.

    Abe Foxman, David Harris, Malcolm Hoenlein etc should go to Gaza or they should all quit/be terminated. Just like corporate failures are losing their jobs.

  2. Bruce Levine

    Did I miss something? Is our community not engaged in civil debate about matters pertaining to Israel and Palestine?

    Who is running J Street? It is as if you are inflicted with “inside the Beltwayitis” and adopting this sage condescending “let us talk” nonsense in the midst of very spirited conversation throughout our community.

    J Street, I thought, was about promoting a new approach to the Middle East. I have read and applaud the positions it stakes out. Why waste political capital on defending the Ms. Churchills of the world? Psst here’s a secret, need no defense; she’s doing fine and raking it in. In the meantime, J Street seems intent on alienating the base it should be building. . .all in the name of sounding groovy and eminently detached. How impressively foolish and shortsighted.

  3. Michael Levy

    I question whether sparking discussion is what a play that holds Israelis guilty of teaching its children to treat Palestinians like vermin does. As others have noted, there’s very little difference between this and the Protocols of Zion, so would J Street hold itself out to defend such tripe as well? Or would the fact that the hate was not PC, as this play is because it is supposedly in the furtherance of helping the Palestinians, cause you to reconsider?

    There’s a fine line between being pro-peace and pro-dialogue and being pro-thinly disguised hatred and pro-stupidity. And I do believe you crossed over from the former to the latter here.

  4. Caryl Churchill has, no doubt, responded to many critics of her play but here is one response to one “critic” (the UK Independent’s Howard Jacobson) who accused her of antisemitism:

    Howard Jacobson (Opinion, 18 February) writes as if there’s something new about describing critics of Israel as anti-Semitic. But it’s the usual tactic. We are not going to agree about politics. Where he sees the benevolent withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, I see more than 1,000 Palestinians killed by Israel since the withdrawal, before the recent attacks. But we should be able to disagree without accusations of anti-Semitism, which lead to a pantomime of, “Oh yes you are”, “Oh no I’m not”, to distract attention from Israel.

    My play, Seven Jewish Children, to which Howard Jacobson referred, shows the difficulty of explaining violence to children. In the early scenes, it is violence against Jewish people; by the end, it is the violence in Gaza.

    It covers many years in 10 minutes and is, of course, an incomplete history. It leaves out a great deal that is favourable to Israel and a great deal that is unfavourable. It shows people being persecuted, some of them going to a homeland (where others have been displaced) and the defensiveness of their threatened position, leading to further violence.

    Howard Jacobson seems to see the play from a very particular perspective so that everything is twisted. The characters are “covert and deceitful”, they are constructing a “parallel hell” to Hitler’s Europe, they are “monsters who kill babies by design”. I don’t recognise the play from that description.

    Throughout the play, families try to protect children. Finally, one of the parents explodes, saying, “No, stop preventing her from knowing what’s on the TV news”. His outburst is meant, in a small way, to shock during a shocking situation. Is it worse than a picture of Israelis dancing for joy as smoke rises over Gaza? Or the text of Rabbi Shloyo Aviner’s booklet distributed to soldiers saying cruelty is sometimes a good attribute?

    Then we have “chosen people”. Some people are now uncomfortable with a phrase that can seem to suggest racial superiority. But George W Bush, speaking to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, talked about “the homeland of the chosen people” without anyone suggesting he was accusing Israelis of racism or was anti-Semitic. Some supporters of Israel still use it with enthusiasm.

    Finally, the blood libel. I find it extraordinary that, because the play talks about the killing of children in Gaza, I am accused of reviving the medieval blood libel that Jews killed Christian children and consumed their blood. The character is not “rejoicing in the murder of little children”. He sees dead children on television and feels numb and defiant in his relief that his own child is safe. He believes that what has happened is justified as self-defence. Howard Jacobson may agree. I don’t, but it doesn’t make either of them a monster, or me anti-Semitic.

    If one of the main pieces of evidence for the rise of anti-Semitism is this play, I don’t think there’s much to worry about. If it’s really on the increase, then we should all stand up against it. But calling political opponents anti-Semitic just confuses the issue.

    When people attack English Jews in the street saying, “This is for Gaza”, they are making a terrible mistake, confusing the people who bombed Gaza with Jews in general. When Howard Jacobson confuses those who criticise Israel with anti-Semites, he is making the same mistake. Unless he’s doing it on purpose.

    Caryl Churchill

    Royal Court Theatre, London SW1

  5. “The decision to feature Seven Jewish Children at Theater J should be judged not on the basis of the play’s content but, rather, on its value in sparking a difficult but necessary conversation within our community.”

    This is an insane idea. It’s like saying that the racist content of a work is not important because it will lead to debate.

    Let’s republish then “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as well as “Mein Kampf.” Surely they too will spark debate.

    Secondly, my fellow J people, do we really this modern day Prioress tale to spark debate. Hasn’t there been a debate all along?

    Antisemitic propaganda plays will not spark debate it will make most people angry and some people self righteous.

    Finally, most people are not as sophisticated as you think. Some of them will even use the play as an excuse for their own private hatreds to keep on hating.

    You have taken the wrong approach with this decalaration.

  6. Jonathan Hoffman

    Some people are so open-minded, their brains fall out. I hear ‘Seven Other Children’ opens at New End Theatre, London on May 5-16, Tuesdays-Saturdays, at 9.50pm. It lasts 10 minutes. Theater J of course will not refuse to show it, being so open-minded. If they do, then of course J-Street will condemn them – as it will condemn any theatre which has shown 7JC but refuses to show 7OC – of course – and as it will condemn any theatre that refuses to show both the plays alongside each other – of course it will, how could we doubt that?

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/02/08/seven-jewish-children-a-play-for-gaza-by-caryl-churchill-at-the-royal-court/

  7. I read the play and watched the play on youtube, read by a group of non-actors. Made me think of the first time I heard of Hitler and the murder of the Jews when I was about 6 or 7 years old. It was my sister, who is 5 years older than me, who told me about it. I remember that my first thought was that the name “Hitler” sounded terribly funny; to my ears it sounded very much like Chiclet, the chewing gum. I mention this because the play, though not the kind of theater I like, made me think about whether my parents ever discussed back then how to explain to a child like me why all my friends, whose families had emigrated from Europe before the war, had two sets of grandmas and grandpas, while I only had one grandma. Maybe they said things like “tell him that ….”

  8. the line- “it is after all a play and not policy” is not quite sufficient. you could add just a neutral line to make yourselves sound intelligent, rather than snotty: although attitudes towards israel are formed on the basis of plays, we do not view it within our purview to be critics of works of art.

    my opinion: the play especially its brevity and simplicity is troubling. it is not quite a cartoon, but it is certainly cartoonish. we have seen how a literal cartoon (oliphant) can be especially mind numbing and painful. a cartoonish play is painful too. and not in a helpful way. unless your goal is to attack the jews and lift up the palestinians.

  9. J Street has taken a position that the play is not antisemitic but, on the contrary, that it is a fair enough comment as to be part of a legitimate debate. J Street has a duty to make that case rather than simply assert it to be true. How can a play that holds Israelis guilty of teaching their children to treaty Palestinians like vermin be anything other than anti-semitic? How do the vile depicitons of Jews in this play contribute to legitimate debate? What is legitimate about a play that depicts Israelis corrupting their children into racist monsters?

    You say you don’t want preclude even the possibility of discussion: would you put on a play saying the Holocaust is a lie concocted by Jews in order to make money because not to put it on would be to “preclude the possibility of discussion”?

    That this sewer anti-semitism of Churchill’s contributes to legitimate debate is a position that needs to be argued by J Street, with evidence and logic, not simply asserted. You must face the fact that many many people won’t buy that assertion. And for good reason.

  10. N. Friedman

    What is the “difficult but necessary conversation within our community” that J Street thinks must occur? I cannot imagine what positive thing J Street has in mind.

    Supporting plays that employ classically Antisemitic motifs will only serve to stir up hatred – and there is a history of such occurring. In any event, one does not even need to study history too closely to know as much. All one has to do is look at Europe today. Hatred of Jews, after all, is exactly what result from this sort of “necessary” conversation in today’s Europe .

    Why must we follow the European example, a descend towards a conversation that demonizes Jews and Israel? If this European-type conversation is where J Street really wants to go, it is a very dangerous, Anti-Jewish, Anti-Israel organization. Worse still, since J Street claims to be a friend of Israel. Some friend!

  11. Here’s my play:

    SEVEN (NON J-STREET) JEWISH CHILDREN

    I
    Tell them it’s a game
    Tell them if we’re open-minded
    We won’t be hated
    Tell them the play’s underrated
    Tell them we’re warmongers, hate mongers, hawkish
    Tell them Seven Jewish Children is at worst slightly mawkish

    II
    Tell them that we’re crying
    When we don’t need to cry
    When we say it’s antisemitic
    To link us with lies
    And lies and more lies
    Deceit and hate
    Tell them we don’t have true feelings
    It’s all about the Israeli state

    III
    Tell them we’re awkward Jews
    Tell them that you offer peace
    Don’t tell them about blood libels
    Tell them again of the Middle East

    IV
    Tell them we raise our kids
    Like the Jewish kids on the stage
    Seven blonde Askenazi children
    Not black, brown, dark or beige

    V
    And tell them that Jewish children
    Keep quiet and bite their tongues
    Don’t tell them about Pesach
    The questions asked by our sons

    VI
    Tell them about J-Street
    Tell them how you understand
    Tell them we’re only Zionists
    Obsessed with the book and the land

    VII
    But don’t worry if this play
    Says Jews ape Nazi violence
    Don’t tell them that we’re human, like you,
    Just tell them we should be silent
    Tell them you’re open-minded
    Tell them that J-Street knows best
    Just don’t tell them that, for antisemites,
    You will always fail their test

  12. The insane “offerings” from this theater group have made it easy for me to cut my charitable offerings. DCJCC is on the top of the list. I’ll give my money to another organization that honors Judaism and Israel.

  13. J Street’s view of the play is solipsistic in as much as it believes that Jews, especially Zionists are the real obstacle to peace between Jews and Arabs.

    We can talk about this antisemitic play till we turn blue and nothing will change.

    We can blame ourselves about Hamas and nothing will change. We can abandon Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and antisemitism won’t change. In fact it will get as strong and as virulent as it was before 1948.

    Take Hamas (a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) for example. How many J Streeters have read their covenant?

    Here is what Shlomo Avinery the Israeli leftist philosopher has to say about them in Haaretz:

    “What to speak with Hamas about”
    By Shlomo Avineri

    “Recently, more and more voices have been heard saying that the only way to reach an Israeli-Palestinian accord is by talking to Hamas. These voices are not only in Europe but also in the United States. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, for example, and Brent Sowcroft, who was national security adviser to the first president Bush, have said that without a dialogue with Hamas there will be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And if Israel refuses to do so, the Europeans or the Americans should begin a dialogue with Hamas. …

    I believe they are right, but not for the reasons they cite. The question is what to talk to Hamas about. It is clear we have to talk with them – and Israel indeed does speak with them indirectly – about freeing kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and achieving calm.

    I believe we must talk to Hamas about other things too, like about what is written in their founding covenant. Most Israelis, as well as the Europeans and Americans, know that Hamas espouses the destruction of Israel. What most of them do not know is that Hamas’ founding document includes a much more comprehensive attitude, not merely to Israel and Zionism, but to the Jews.

    The prologue to the covenant states that Hamas’ aim is a war – not against Israel or Zionism but against the Jewish people at large, since the Jews, and not merely Israel and Zionism, are the enemies of Islam.

    And in order to remove any doubt, the entire chapter 22 is devoted to detailing the iniquities of the Jews.

    According to Hamas, the Jews are responsible for all the ills of modern society – the French Revolution; the Communist revolution; the establishment of secret associations (Freemasons, Rotary and Lions clubs, B’nai B’rith) designed to help them gain control of the world by secret means. They control the economy, press and television; they are responsible for the outbreak of World War I, which they initiated in order to destroy the Muslim caliphates (the Ottoman empire), to get the Balfour Declaration and set up the League of Nations with the aim of establishing their state. They also initiated World War II in order to make a fortune from selling war materials; they use both capitalism and communism as their agents.

    Sound familiar? Yes, some of it is taken directly from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and some, particularly the parts dealing with the world wars, is original.

    Don’t tell me that these are merely words and Hamas must not be judged only on the basis of its covenant. Would anyone dare say that if a similar movement were to arise in Europe or America and, in addition to statements like these, was busy killing Jews?”

    Read the rest for yourself here.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=1076694

    And by the way, if J Street wants to stage Churchill’s clearly antisemitic play, why not offer a reading of Hamas’ covenant. That should give us something to talk about as well. I don’t mean this ironically since Churchill’s play is just so much pretentious bile, while Hamas’ covenant is a call to action and we must familiarize ourselves with what it says.

    Forewarned is forearmed and the way to peace is through a thorough knowledge of what your enemy’s aims are. You can’t wish your way to peace.

  14. What gives, J Street? Are you trying your utmost to alienate mainstream pro-Zionist Anglo-Jewish intellectuals too?

    You won’t publish my posting of respected pro-Zionist Jewish novelistHoward Jacobson’s critique of Caryl Churchill’s play, but you do publish Mark Elf’s posting of her defence of it? What kind of “debate” is that?

    Howard Jacobson has interviewed A. B. Yehoshua:

    http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/dialogue-april-09-denying-israels-deniers-howard-jacobson-a-b-yehoshua-anti-semitism

    Mark Elf is a vicious anti-Zionist who is utterly opposed to the existence of any kind of Jewish state; who routinely hosts all manner of antisemites on his blog; and who believes any kind of military action Israel takes is a war crime because it is itself a war crime:

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/

    Here is Howard Jacobson’s critique of Jacqueline Rose’s defence of Caryl Churchill’s play, again. I hope, in the interest of fair debate, you publish it this time:

    Why Jacqueline Rose is not right

    Caryl Churchill’s play is not just bad art, but part of a toxic discourse that masquerades Jew-hatred as denunciation of Israel

    Jacqueline Rose takes me to task for misreading Caryl Churchill’s play Seven Jewish Children. Jacqueline Rose teaches English literature; I once did the same. So the issue is bound to be about the way we read a text – whether that text is a piece of political propaganda purporting to be a play, or a selective anthology of quotations wrenched out of context purporting to be history.

    I have described Seven Jewish Children as an antisemitic work. This is not an accusation I routinely level. It is a joke among Jews that we find antisemitism anywhere – think Woody Allen in Annie Hall, hearing “D’you eat?” as “D’Jew eat?” So I make a practice of finding it in as few places as possible, and of not minding it too much when I do. A person can hate Jews if he or she pleases. Many Jews hate Jews: we can’t keep everything to ourselves. And as for works of art, they march to a different tune, the marvellous thing about art being that whatever its intention, it usually subverts it. That’s drama, for you.

    The problem with Seven Jewish Children is that it isn’t drama. Jacqueline Rose praises it for being “precised and focused in its criticisms of Israeli policy”. I agree. And that’s what makes it not art. Art would be imprecise and free-flowing, open to the corrections of what will not stay still, attentive to voices that unsettle certainty. The difference between art and propaganda is that the latter closes its mind to the appeals and surprises of otherness. Seven Jewish Children is imaginatively starved; no orchestration of voices vexes or otherwise complicates its depiction of a Jewish people fulfilling the logic of its own intolerant theology, boastful and separatist, deaf to reason and humanity, knee-high in blood and revelling in it. A theatrical as well as a racial crudity, which any number of critics, by no means all Jewish, have remarked on.

    Jacqueline Rose omits to mention in her defence of this indefensible work that she is in some way – actual or spiritual – affiliated to it. The castlist expresses gratitude to her, though it is not clear whether that’s for mothering the play intellectually, or for acting as Caryl Churchill’s Jewish midwife in its delivery – advising her in such arcane Jewish matters, say, as the pleasure we take in the murder of non-Jewish babies.

    But the play owes her a debt all right, particular in its unquestioning espousal of her theory that the Holocaust traumatised the Jews into visiting back upon the Palestinians what the Nazis had visited on them – a theory of dazzling psychological simplicity that turns Zionism (and never mind that Zionism long predates the Holocaust) into a nervous breakdown, and all subsequent events into the playing out of the Jews’ psychic instability. By this reasoning, neither the Palestinians nor the Arab countries who have helped or hindered them are relevant. Jacqueline Rose spirits them away from the scene of the crime. They are redundant to the working of her theory, of no significance (whatever they have done), since the narrative of the Middle East is nothing but the narrative of the Jewish mind disintegrating.

    What Jacqueline Rose seems not to have noticed is that this theory is a perfect illustration of the very Jewish arrogance she decries, assuming to itself responsibility for every deed.

    In an attempt to normalise her position, she cites Primo Levi’s calling the Palestinians the Jews of the Jews – “Everybody is somebody’s Jew, and today the Palestinians are the Jews of the Israelis.” This is the polemic equivalent to arming a nuclear warhead. Whoever Primo Levi sides with must be right. But this is a dishonest misappropriation of his words. Primo Levi inveighed against Israeli militarism, right enough, but he was a long way from saying that there is an ineluctable progress of Jewish mental collapse linking what the Nazis did to the Jews to what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians – a progress which turns the Jews into Nazis themselves. When La Repubblica tried to get Primo Levi to say precisely that, he made a distinction of the profoundest importance, and he made it sharply: “There is no policy to exterminate the Palestinians.”

    I don’t expect Jacqueline Rose to learn from me. But since she values his word, I would wish her to learn from Primo Levi. Cruelty is one thing, but “There is no policy to exterminate the Palestinians.” And there’s an end of the trauma-for-trauma, Nazi analogy.

    Jacqueline Rose accuses me of fuelling antisemitism – as though antisemitism has ever run low on gas – by not acknowledging the “flagrant violations” of another people’s rights. I acknowledge them. I always have acknowledged them. I would tear the settlements down with my own hands had I power enough in them. Short of pursuing means bound to end in Israel’s dissolution – which could be a proviso we stumble over – there might be very little that Jacqueline Rose would do that I wouldn’t. And there is no reason for her to suppose that the dead of Gaza distress her any more than they distress me. Not being a Jew in a Caryl Churchill play, I do not laugh at the destruction of the lives of Palestinian children. The expression of violently anti-Israel sentiments does not give anyone a monopoly on outrage or compassion. Or indeed, on everyday unpitying respect. In my narrative, I honour Palestinians with an influential presence.

    Most English Jews of my acquaintance would welcome the opportunity to take issue with some, if not with all, Israeli policies, to express their own unease, and sometimes their own rage and horror, if only it were possible to do so in an atmosphere of even-handedness, without having to ally oneself with historians who think Israel began with Hitler, with supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah who call for an end to Israel and death to Jews, or with theoreticians of Jewish malignancy – where there is at least a glimmer of comprehension, in short, of the complex existential threats Israel has faced and goes on facing.

    Jacqueline Rose tells me I am out of step with Israel’s “most revered writers”. Who? Yehoshua, the great novelist, peace campaigner and Zionist – yes, such complexities are possible – who believes all Jews belong in Israel, not out of it? Amos Oz, who spoke in London the other day of the necessity for sharp criticism of his country’s policies – as sharp as we dare “without finger-wagging” – but for fellow feeling and “solidarity” with Israel as well, if we want it to survive? What sort of solidarity is it that paints Israeli Jews as Nazified race-supremacists and child murderers, glorying in destruction?

    Of the disorders that she believes to be the consequence of the Holocaust – and I use her language, not mine – here is one that Jacqueline Rose might not have considered: an irresistible, traumatised compulsion to speak ill of your own.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/26/carylchurchill-antisemitism-jacqueline-rose?commentpage=4

  15. ‘sorry, Levi9999 is said Mark Elf, host of this blog:

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/

    Here is one of his “favourite” articles:

    Not the Financial Times?

    Here’s my favourite article from a very convincing mock up of the Financial Times dated April 1, 2020:

    Anti-Semitism on decline since Israel wiped off map

    Anti-Semitic behaviour has dropped off sharply since the new state of Kanaan came into being on 14 May 2018, according to a United Nations study.

    The world’s newest independent country, Kanaan incorporates all of the territory formerly known as Israel, as well as the territories that Israel illegally occupied.

    Although many feared a Middle Eastern Holocaust after the disuniting of the American states, and despite threats of terrorism by the Provisional Stern Gang and the Ariel Sharon Memorial League, the transition of the highly militarised Jewish state into a modern secular democracy has been remarkably smooth.

    Pockets of prejudice persist, the study found, but their influence on popular opinion is now marginal.

    Formal recognition of the right of return of all Palestinians forced into exile, and of Jerusalem’s status as an international city, have together had “a significant positive impact” on the incidence of anti-Jewish feeling around the world, the UN researchers say.

    Kanaan’s new government stoked controversy last year when it admitted to possession of an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

    Successive Israeli administrations had refused to confirm or deny the weapons’ existence, in the interests of maintaining regional stability.

    In a wide-ranging series of proclamations, Kanaan also condemned suicide bombings, and issued a formal acknowledgement of the “many crimes and injustices” which took place during Israel’s birth.

    It also caused indignation in parts of North America by stating that occurrences recounted in scripture “are not considered an appropriate foundation for national policy in the present day”.

    And here’s the home page for the Financial Times 2020 website.
    Posted by Levi9909 @ 8:15 PM
    Labels: antisemitism, history

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2009/03/not-financial-times.html

    And here is one of his prize comments from below said article:

    i think there is a big chance that a war could sweep israel away and many jews will flee and i think that many jews, possible a majority will exercise their own right to return to the places that they have come from in the event of israel having to accept a one state solution because of a combination of armed resistance and BDS.

    but that doesn’t mean that returning refugees will displace existing israelis. most israelis say that they wouldn’t want an arab living in their building and that they believe a jew marrying an arab is national treason. that’s why many israeli jews might not want to stick around for the return of the natives.

    And anyway, the right of return is not the same as return itself. There is no way of knowing how many palestinians would return in the absence of the right of return being established. At the minute, as I think I said before, Israel has an open invitation to far more than 6 million Jews to come and live in the country they don’t come from. How come they have room for them and not for people that do come from there?

    The answer is racism, pure and simple.
    levi9909 | Homepage | 04.01.09 – 8:23 pm | #

  16. And here is Jacobson’s original critique of Churchill. Note how Levi9999/Mark Elf calls Jacobson a “critic”, as though he weren’t really. Jacobson makes his living as a novelist and as a literary critic. He has won prizes and been an academic in both.

    This is what he says about the “criticism” of such as Caryl Churchill and Levi9999/Mark Elf:

    If it is a war crime for one government to fire on civilians, it is a war crime for another. But when a protester joined a demonstration at Sheffield University recently, calling on both sides to desist, her placard was seized and trampled underfoot, while the young in their liberation scarves and embryo compassion looked on and said not one word.

    And Israel? Well, speaking on BBC television at the height of the fighting, Richard Kemp, former commander of British Troops in Afghanistan and a senior military adviser to the British government, said the following: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare where any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of civilians than the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) is doing today in Gaza.” A judgement I can no more corroborate than those who think very differently can disprove.

    Right or wrong, it was a contribution to the argument from someone who is more informed on military matters than most of us, but did it make a blind bit of difference to the tone of popular execration? It did not. When it comes to Israel we hear no good, see no good, speak no good. We turn our backsides to what we do not want to know about and bury it in distaste, like our own ordure. We did it and go on doing it with all official contestation of the mortality figures provided by Hamas. We do it with Hamas’s own private executions and their policy of deploying human shields. We do it with the sotto voce admission by the UN that “a clerical error” caused it to mis-describe the bombing of that UN school which at the time was all the proof we needed of Israel’s savagery. It now turns out that Israel did not bomb the school at all. But there’s no emotional mileage in a correction. The libel sticks, the retraction goes unnoticed.

    But I am not allowed to ascribe any of this to anti-Semitism. It is criticism of Israel, pure and simple.

    A laughably benign locution, “criticism”, for what is in fact – what has in recent years become – a desire to word a country not just out of the commonwealth of nations but out of physical existence altogether. Richard Ingrams daydreams of the time when Israel will no longer be, an after-dinner sleep which is more than an old man’s idle prophesying. It is for him a consummation devoutly to be wished. This week Bruce Anderson also looked to such a time, but in his case with profound regret. Israel has missed and goes on missing chances to be magnanimous, he argued, as no victor has ever been before. That’s a high expectation, but I am in sympathy with it, and it is an expectation in line with what Israel’s greatest writers and peace campaigners – Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman – have been saying for years. Though it is interesting that not a one of those believed such magnanimity included allowing Hamas’s rockets to go on falling unhindered into Israel.

    Was not the original withdrawal from Gaza and the dismantling of the rightly detested settlements a sufficient signal of peaceful intent, and a sufficient opportunity for it to be reciprocated? Magnanimity is by definition unilateral, but it takes two for it to be more than a suicidal gesture. And the question has to be asked whether a Jewish state, however magnanimous and conciliatory, will ever be accepted in the Middle East.

    But my argument is not with the Palestinians or even with Hamas. People in the thick of it pursue their own agenda as best they can. But what’s our agenda? What do we, in the cosy safety of tolerant old England, think we are doing when we call the Israelis Nazis and liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto? Do those who blithely make these comparisons know anything whereof they speak?

    In the early 1940s some 100,000 Jews and Romanis died of engineered starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto, another quarter of a million were transported to the death camps, and when the Ghetto rose up it was liquidated, the last 50,000 residents being either shot on the spot or sent to be murdered more hygienically in Treblinka. Don’t mistake me: every Palestinian killed in Gaza is a Palestinian too many, but there is not the remotest similarity, either in intention or in deed – even in the most grossly mis-reported deed – between Gaza and Warsaw.

    Given the number of besieged and battered cities there have been in however many thousands of years of pitiless warfare there is only one explanation for this invocation of Warsaw before any of those – it is to wound Jews in their recent and most anguished history and to punish them with their own grief. Its aim is a sort of retrospective retribution, cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow. It is as though, by a reversal of the usual laws of cause and effect, Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday.

    Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial, infinitely more subtle than the David Irving version with its clunking body counts and quibbles over gas-chamber capability and chimney sizes. Instead of saying the Holocaust didn’t happen, the modern sophisticated denier accepts the event in all its terrible enormity, only to accuse the Jews of trying to profit from it, either in the form of moral blackmail or downright territorial theft. According to this thinking, the Jews have betrayed the Holocaust and become unworthy of it, the true heirs to their suffering being the Palestinians. Thus, here and there throughout the world this year, Holocaust day was temporarily annulled or boycotted on account of Gaza, dead Jews being found guilty of the sins of live ones.

    Anti-Semitism? Absolutely not. It is “criticism” of Israel, pure and simple. A number of variations on the above sophistical nastiness have been fermenting in the more febrile of our campuses for some time. One particularly popular version, pseudo-scientific in tone, understands Zionism as a political form given to a psychological condition – Jews visiting upon others the traumas suffered by themselves, with Israel figuring as the torture room in which they do it. This is is pretty well the thesis of Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, an audacious 10-minute encapsulation of Israel’s moral collapse – the audacity residing in its ignorance or its dishonesty – currently playing at the Royal Court. The play is conceived in the form of a family roundelay, with different voices chiming in with suggestions as to the best way to bring up, protect, inform, and ultimately inflame into animality an unseen child in each of the chosen seven periods of contemporary Jewish history. It begins with the Holocaust, partly to establish the playwright’s sympathetic bona fides (“Tell her not to come out even if she hears shouting”), partly to explain what has befallen Palestine, because no sooner are the Jews out of the hell of Hitler’s Europe than they are constructing a parallel hell for Palestinians.

    Anyone with scant knowledge of the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations – that is to say, judging from what they chant, the majority of anti-Israel demonstrators – would assume from this that Jews descended on the country as from a clear blue sky; that they had no prior association with the land other than in religious fantasy and through some scarce remembered genealogical affiliation: “Tell her it’s the land God gave us/… Tell her her great great great great lots of greats grandad lived there” – the latter line garnering much knowing laughter in the theatre the night I was there, by virtue of the predatiousness lurking behind the childlike vagueness.

    You cannot of course tell the whole story of anywhere in 10 minutes, but then why would you want to unless you conceive it to be simple and one-sided? The staccato form of the piece – every line beginning “Tell her” or “Don’t tell her” – is skilfully contrived to suggest a people not just forever fraught and frightened but forever covert and deceitful. Nothing is true. Boasts are denials and denials are boasts. Everything is mediated through the desire to put the best face, first on fear, then on devious appropriation, and finally on evil.

    That being the case, it is hard to be certain what the playwright knows and what she doesn’t, what she, in her turn, means deliberately to twist or just unthinkingly helps herself to from the poor box of leftist propaganda. The overall impression, nonetheless, is of a narrative slavishly in line with the familiar rhetoric, making little or nothing of the Jews’ unbroken connection with the country going back to the Arab conquest more than a thousand years before, the piety felt for the land, the respect for its non-Jewish inhabitants (their rights must “be guarded and honoured punctiliously,” Ben Gurion wrote in 1918), the waves of idealistic immigration which long predated the post-Holocaust influx with its twisted psychology, and the hopes of peaceful co-existence, for the tragic dashing of which Arab countries in their own obduracy and intolerance bear no less responsibility.

    Quite simply, in this wantonly inflammatory piece, the Jews drop in on somewhere they have no right to be, despise, conquer, and at last revel in the spilling of Palestinian blood. There is a one-line equivocal mention of a suicide bomber, and ditto of rockets, both compromised by the “Tell her” device, otherwise no Arab lifts a finger against a Jew. “Tell her about Jerusalem,” but no one tells her, for example, that the Jewish population of East Jersusalem was expelled at about the time our survivors turn up, that it was cleansed from the city and its sacred places desecrated or destroyed. Only in the crazed brains of Israelis can the motives for any of their subsequent actions be found.

    Thus lie follows lie, omission follows omission, until, in the tenth and final minute, we have a stage populated by monsters who kill babies by design – “Tell her we killed the babies by mistake,” one says, meaning don’t tell her what we really did – who laugh when they see a dead Palestinian policeman (“Tell her they’re animals… Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out”), who consider themselves the “chosen people”, and who admit to feeling happy when they see Palestinian “children covered in blood”.

    Anti-Semitic? No, no. Just criticism of Israel.

    Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.

    Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple – Jew-hating which the haters don’t even recognise in themselves, so acculturated is it – the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation. So for that we are grateful. At last that mystery is solved and that lie finally nailed. No, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to criticise Israel. It just so happens that you are.

    If one could simply leave them to it one would. It’s a hell of its own making, hating Jews for a living. Only think of the company you must keep. But these things are catching. Take Michael Billington’s somnolent review of the play in the Guardian. I would imagine that any accusation of anti-Semitism would horrify Michael Billington. And I certainly don’t make it. But if you wanted an example of how language itself can sleepwalk the most innocent towards racism, then here it is. “Churchill shows us,” he writes, “how Jewish children are bred to believe in the ‘otherness’ of Palestinians…”

    It is not just the adopted elision of Israeli children into Jewish children that is alarming, or the unquestioning acceptance of Caryl Churchill’s offered insider knowledge of Israeli child-rearing, what’s most chilling is that lazy use of the word “bred”, so rich in eugenic and bestial connotations, but inadvertently slipped back into the conversation now, as truth. Fact: Jews breed children in order to deny Palestinians their humanity. Watching another play in the same week, Billington complains about its manipulation of racial stereotypes. He doesn’t, you see, even notice the inconsistency.

    And so it happens. Without one’s being aware of it, it happens. A gradual habituation to the language of loathing. Passed from the culpable to the unwary and back again. And soon, before you know it…

    Not here, though. Not in cosy old lazy old easy-come easy-go England.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/howard-jacobson/howard-jacobson-let8217s-see-the-8216criticism8217-of-israel-for-what-it-really-is-1624827.html

  17. Howard Jacobson’s “criticism” of Churchill’s play was offered by him not as a literary critic but as a zionist hack jumping through hoops to shield Israel from criticism and resorting to the ever more threadbare cliché that such criticism is borne of antisemitism. That of course, doesn’t explain why criticism of Israel increases when Israel’s atrocities increase. Is the Jacobson school arguing that people only find out that Israel is Jewish when it commits war crimes?

    On the subject of Gaza, since the assault by Israel, Israel has received a worse press than ever before, over 20% of exporters asked recently claimed that their business has suffered over Gaza, contracting parties have written to Israeli counterparts to call off the contract because of Gaza and now the election of Netanyahu and Lieberman has led to the postponement of high level diplomatic junkets and all the while, there are zionists complaining that it’s “the olderst hatred” at work. This state of denial suggests to onlookers that Israel and its supporters cannot be reasoned with. It’s one of the only truthful suggestions that zionists make and it’s unintentional!

  18. Michael Levy

    Any comment using the slur “Zionist hack” is as easily ignored as one that rants and raves about someone being an “apologist for terrorism”.

    One need not be supportive on any level of the Israeli actions in Gaza to see the bigotry employed in response to it. And that is the greatest failing of those who seek peace-not that they object, even without force, but that they can’t distinguish objecting from objectifying.

    J Street, by defending such an offensive play, is no better than the ADL’s recent defense of Avigdor Lieberman. In fact, it’s empirically the same thing-paying lip service to a despicable person or piece of art because it placates your ‘side’.

    It’s time for those who seek peace, both Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to wake up and understand that the way forward is not to villfiy Israel and those who defend her. Your beef is with policies, then criticize those policies.

    By turning into useful idiots of the anti-semitic set, which in this case, J Street is guilty of, you fail in the same way those who are reactively defensive anything Israel does fail in making Israel stronger.

  19. Levi9909 is someone who calls himself Mark Elf someone who doesn’t believe that Israel should exist or even that the Jewish people should exist.

    Much of the criticism of Israel is coming from people like that who are not interested in peace but in the destruction of the Jewish State.

    Just as the left in the 40’s and 50’s had to dissociate itself from Communists, because they used the left for their own ends, in order to gain legitimacy so too J street will have to dissociate from people like Mark Elf who have an ideology that works against peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors icluding the Palestinians. Their chief aim is to destroy the Jewish State.

  20. Mark Elf,

    by your speech marks you implied that Howard Jacobson was not a critic. Not only is Jacobson a critic, he offers an excellent definition as to what a critic and criticism is.

    Neither you nor Caryl Churchill qualify.

  21. Here’s what literary critic Howard Jacobson has to say about criticism:

    The other thing that seemed worth saying related to that now classic formulation – “It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of Israel.” I wasn’t concerned to make the no less classical rebuttal – “Of course being critical of Israel doesn’t necessarily mark you out as an anti-Semite, but it doesn’t necessarily mark you out as not one either.” Enough already with who is or who isn’t. What I wanted to address was something different – how the glamour word “anti-Semite” has transfixed both parties to this semantic tussle, when the real issue is what we mean by “critical”.

    Reader, only think about it: was ever a tiny word sent on such a mighty errand, or to put it another way, was ever such a massive job of demolition done by so delicate an instrument. Critical – as though those who accuse Israel of every known crime against humanity, of being more Nazi than the Nazis, more fascist than the fascists, more apartheid than apartheid South Africa, are simply exercising measured argument and fine discrimination.

    I know a bit about being critical. It’s my job. Being “critical” is when you say that such-and-such a book works here but doesn’t work there, good plot, bad characterisation, enjoyed some parts, hated others. What being critical is not, is saying this is the most evil and odious book ever written, worse than all other evil and odious books, should never have been published in the first place, was in fact published in flagrant defiance of international law, must be banned, and in the meantime should not under any circumstances be read. For that we need another word than critical.

    So try replacing it with whatever that word or words might be and have a look at how the statement bears up now. “It is not anti-Semitic to defame or curse or stigmatise or revile or execrate or anathematise or with malice aforethought misrepresent Israel.” You might think that veers a touch too far in the opposite direction, but you take my point. Put back the inordinacy of reprehension hidden behind the pretend even-handedness of fair-seeming little “critical” and you see why those who oppose the boycott and other such traducements smell a rat.

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1263

    And here’s what was Mark Elf’s response:

    Anti-boycotters apologists for Israel

    I didn’t see the Howard Jacobson article that prompted this letter to the Independent and I can’t be bothered to look for it but maybe we can hazard a guess by what this correspondent had to say…

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2007/07/anti-boycotters-apologists-for-israel.html

  22. “Is the Jacobson school arguing that people only find out that Israel is Jewish when it commits war crimes?”

    Mark Elf, you have consistently written that Israel and Zionism are themselves war crimes; that no Jewish state should exist, and only an Israel should exist that abolishes the positive discrimination in favour of Jews that created it, under the Balfour Declaration, League of Nations Mandate and United Nations recommendation of Partition, in the first place.

    Such positive discrimination you have labelled as inherently racist (something you do not say of Palestinian Christian and Muslim nationalism that sought to exclude Jews and any kind of Jewish state a priori).

    Until it does that, you have said, it has no right to defend itself, and any military action it takes to defend or preserve itself is by definition a war crime.

    You have written that Jews in a majority Palestinian Arab Christian and Muslim state would have nothing to fear despite the purging of almost every minority Jewish community in every Arab Islamic state, despite the fact that Palestinian Muslim nationalism is predicated on “revenge” (just read the lyrics to the Palestinian national anthem) against the “Zionists” (hemhem), or that Hamas has said once it has “victory”, it will “persecute the Zionists for all eternity”.

  23. BTW, I’m not saying Theatre J shouldn’t stage Seven Jewish Children. I’m saying J-Street’s defending it before judging its content is a mistake if not immoral.

    Caryl Churchill is a patron of the UK Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Her purporting to accurately and sympathetically portray Israeli and/or Zionist Jewish thoughts and motivations is disingenuous, at best.

    For the Prosecution to stage the Case for the Defence on its behalf is to intended to poison discussion and debate before it can even begin.

    Indeed it inherently opposes discussion and debate because it assumes the Defence has no case to make and, to quote Edward W. Said’s quotation of Karl Marx:

    “They cannot represent themselves, they must be represented”

    Jacobson later wrote against Jacqueline Rose’s thesis, upon which Churchill’s play is based, that Israel consists in a post-holocaust Jewish nervous breakdown, which article I posted but Theatre J declined to publish.

  24. zkharya – I don’t give a stuff what Howard Jacobson does for a living. By my speech marks I implied that he was not being a critic on that particular occasion. He was being a zionist hack shielding Israel from legitimate critics, that was why I used the quotes. What he said about Caryl Churchill’s play was not literary criticism or indeed genuine criticism of any kind. If it was he might have quoted a section and assessed it on some literary criteria but instead he saw that it was a “play for Gaza” and assessed it on his own perverse notions of what is good for Jews, for which read “the zionist project”. So typically he distorted what was actually said and then criticised that. It’s a familiar pattern. Jacobson’s writing is probably more ridiculed in the letters pages of his paper than any other commentator. That might even be why they keep him on, as an irritant, not as a critic, with or without quotes.

    Jacob – my name is Mark Elf, my screenname is Levi9909. I do not believe that the Jewish people should not exist. I do believe that there should not be a state specifically for Jews because it entails and has entailed ethnic cleansing and the privileging of one ethno-religious identity over others. It has also caused many wars.

    You’re right about one thing though, J-Street will run into problems if it wants open discussions between critics of Israel and those for whom Israel can do no wrong. That will draw in anti-zionists because we are the most sincere critics of Israel using cosmopolitan standards that we apply equally to all. If the argument gets restricted to what’s good for Israel then you have to consider what that means.

    If it means securing a space, a state, where Jews and only Jews get to decide who may come and who may (or has to) go, then you might find that Lieberman has all the answers. On the other hand if you want peace you might realise that that can’t be had so long as Israel insists that Jews from anywhere, no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jews, have more right to Palestine than the native non-Jewish Palestinians.

    And there’s the rub Jacob. J-Street wants to be democratic secularist like me but it might find that it has to run with Jewish supremacists who invent ideologies to project onto others like you just did or people who make mountains out of quotation marks and for hackneyed hacks like Zkharya did or it might want to set itself on the path of on-going criticism of Israel and persuading the US to withdraw support until Israel complies with America’s professed values of liberty, democracy and the rule of law.

  25. “Is the Jacobson school arguing that people only find out that Israel is Jewish when it commits war crimes?”

    That’s the logic of saying that criticism of Israel over Gaza is motivated by antisemitism.

    “Positive Discrimination” is for disadvantaged people not for Jews generally it also doesn’t entail ethnic cleansing. But that was an interesting admission of Israel’s racism, I’ve only ever seen that bogus argument hinted at before, never expressed.

    But let’s respect the thread which is supposed to be about the play, Seven Jewish Children: a play for Gaza and whether it’s ok to present at theatres and of course whether its anti-Jewish or not. That’s it, perhaps posters could say if they think the play is antisemitic and if it is why? And then perhaps posters could say whether or not they think the play should be shown in public places.

    just a thought

  26. Positive discrimination, or affirmative action, is a kind of racism, sure. And I have heard it said many times.

    It is why any kind of Jewish national home exists in the land of Israel.

    Most Jews who became Israeli had not the luxury of being non-Jewish Jewish pseudo-Bundists like you. And Jews have been an historically dispossessed and disadvantaged people for nigh on 2000 years. Which is why the international community decided a Jewish national home was both just and necessary.

    Which fact you have consistently said was the reverse, yet expect Israeli Jews to take seriously your advice as to how much safer they would be in a majority Palestinian Christian and Muslim state.

    How was Jacobson shielding Israel from anything? He was saying what he thought of Churchill’s play. He said he thinks the play is antisemitic, and he said why.

    I’d love to post Jacobson’s Guardian piece dedicated to the play, but Theatre J won’t publish it when I do.

    “That will draw in anti-zionists because we are the most sincere critics of Israel using cosmopolitan standards that we apply equally to all.”

    Except the historical Palestinian Christian and Muslim national movement, inter alia.

  27. ““Is the Jacobson school arguing that people only find out that Israel is Jewish when it commits war crimes?”

    That’s the logic of saying that criticism of Israel over Gaza is motivated by antisemitism. ”

    No, that’s the self-referencing logic of some one who prefers dialoguing with himself.

    Where does Jacobson say that “criticism of Israel over Gaza is motivated by antisemitism. “?

    This is what he actually wrote:

    “The other thing that seemed worth saying related to that now classic formulation – “It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of Israel.” I wasn’t concerned to make the no less classical rebuttal – “Of course being critical of Israel doesn’t necessarily mark you out as an anti-Semite, but it doesn’t necessarily mark you out as not one either.” Enough already with who is or who isn’t. What I wanted to address was something different – how the glamour word “anti-Semite” has transfixed both parties to this semantic tussle, when the real issue is what we mean by “critical”.”

    And this is what Theatre J has allowed me to post of Jacobson’s reasons for thinking Churchill’s play antisemitic:

    “Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.

    Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple – Jew-hating which the haters don’t even recognise in themselves, so acculturated is it – the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation. So for that we are grateful. At last that mystery is solved and that lie finally nailed. No, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to criticise Israel. It just so happens that you are.”

    Churchill’s defence for her use of “chosen people” because George Bush said it seems pretty weak to me as a source for what motivated or motivated real historical and contemporary European, Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews. The fact that she claims she got it from a western Christian like herself itself, in my view, speaks volumes.

    It simply confirms my view that her Jewish characters are cyphers she has created to confirm to her own political agenda, anti-Zionist/Israeli Jewish-pro-Palestinian Christian and Muslim, which she seeks to promulgate and pursue with her propaganda dressed as drama.

  28. sorry,

    CONFORM to her own political agenda

  29. If you are looking for an antisemitic play to with which to start a conversation try this one being staged in Gaza:

    “Theatre in Gaza
    Excerpts from a drama show presented at the Gaza Islamic University, during a festival commemorating Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin. The show aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 3, 2009:

    Jewish father: We Jews hate the Muslims. We love killing Muslims. We Jews love drinking the blood of Muslims and the blood of Arabs. Are you Arabs? Are you Muslims? I hate you. Yes, I hate you. I hate you in order to please God. In order to please God… In order to please God…

    Shimon, his son: Dad, I don’t know how God could possibly be pleased with you when you stink so much. You haven’t taken a shower for two years, yet you talk about pleasing God.

    Father: In order to please God…

    Shimon, my son, I’d like to teach you something. You must hate the Muslims.

    Shimon: Of course I hate them.

    Father: You must drink from the blood of Muslims.

    Shimon: But mix it with soda water.”

    http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2009/04/gaza-theatre.html

    You may also want to read from the Hamas charter as a preamble to the play.

  30. Zkahrya – you do it deliberately this posting overly long comments to confuse the oppo. Just to take one example of your dishonesty, Caryl Churchill did not say that she used the expression “chosen people” because George Bush did, she said that when he used it it didn’t cause an outcry and that you shouldn’t cherry pick when certain expressions are used.

    You are incapable of debate. You do what Jacobson does, invent an argument then “critique” the invention, not the argument.

    By the way, people suffering in history does not amount to historical disadvantage. Historical disadvantage is the disadvantage arising out of history. Israel is not a state for disadvantaged Jews, it is a state for all Jews regardless of whether they are disadvantaged or not.

  31. “By the way, people suffering in history does not amount to historical disadvantage.”

    This is idiotic if not malicious. Tell that to the Jewish victims of Europe and the Middle East throughout the centuries.

    Tell that to the Gypsies in Europe today.

    Moreover, if the foregoing were true than why worry about any people suffering?

    “Israel is not a state for disadvantaged Jews, it is a state for all Jews regardless of whether they are disadvantaged or not.”

    So what is your point?

    Jews have a right to their State just as the Arabs have a right to their State. Do only the disadvantaged Palestinians get their State?

  32. “Tell that to the Jewish victims of Europe and the Middle East throughout the centuries. ”

    Come on Jacob, think it through. I am not denying the suffering of anybody through the centuries. But what has that to do with now? Why should I (or anyone else) enjoy positive discrimination today because of what Jews suffered in the past? Any identity group can point to members of the same group that suffered in the past. They don’t get to claim positive discrimination over it. The Afrikaaners’ leaders told of various sufferings from days gone by to justify the apartheid system that, like Israel, discriminated against people who had nothing to do with the suffering of the ancestors of the apartheid rulers.

    “Tell that to the Gypsies in Europe today.”

    Now there’s a case for affirmative action or positive discrimination but I don’t see a clamour for Roma or Sinti supremacist statehood. You’re undermining your own argument. Also, of course, Roma and Sinti are strictly descent groups. Jews are not strictly so because people can become Jewish through conversion. According to you and zkharya’s logic the happiest wealthiest healthiest Christians and Muslims alive could become disadvantaged by converting to Judaism.

    My point is that when zkharya and now you use the term “positive discrimination” it is a cover expression for racist rule.

    Being a Palestinian does not preclude being a Jew. Being a Jew does preclude being a Christian, Muslim, Baha’i, or any other non-Jewish religion. Jews are not a national people or you could have Jews of other religions.

    The Jewish identity is derived from the Jewish religion. The Palestinian identity is derived from the land they are from, Palestine.

    A state specially for Jews by its nature discriminates against non-Jews. A state for all of the people of the territory it governs, by its nature, does not. There is no reason why Palestine shouldn’t be like that or why Israel shouldn’t, after all, what’s in a name?

    But my point here is that given that Palestinian is a nationality and Jewish is not, to think in terms of Palestinians on the one hand and Jews on the other is a false dichotomy.

    Anyway, all of this is off topic but I don’t like to leave points unanswered. I have a blog that I describe as “an anti-zionist blog, browsing the media” where four of us blog on the question of zionism and Palestine. If the national question comes up then by all means click on my name here and come and participate. I’m the moderator there but as long as you’re on topic, not abusive, not too dishonest, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  33. Mark,

    Caryl Churchill defended her use of “chosen people” because George Bush used it. Which American Jews are going to or did tell their president different? It’s not a normative Israeli Jewish usage when applied to politics or military operations.

    But Churchill was using it in the sense normative among antisemites, and is itself a bastard brother of the western cultural Christian sense in which Bush was using it (deduced from Paul’s epistle to the Romans).

    In any case not even Bush used it in the sense that Israeli or other Jews feel or may feel entitled to do what they please.

    Hurling the epithet “chosen” in the face of Jews has been a common antisemitic motif ever since Christians decided they were chosen and the Jews cursed with rejection, exile and dispossession for their sins.

    Antisemites have often used it to say that, because of their sense of “chosenness”, Jews feel entitled to do all manner of wrong. That is the sense in which Churchill was applying it to Israeli Jews.

    It tells us more about Caryl Churchill than about what Israeli or any other Jews “think”.

    And you commonly write not under long posts yourself.

  34. “By the way, people suffering in history does not amount to historical disadvantage.”

    Well, easy to say for some one like you who has the luxury to be a non-Jewish Jewish pseudo-Bundist.

    “Historical disadvantage is the disadvantage arising out of history.”

    Well, some would say that historical statelessness and dispossession does constitute historical disadvantage.

    Not Caryl Churchill mind. Which is why her play has little to do with existential historical Jewish experience.

    “Israel is not a state for disadvantaged Jews, it is a state for all Jews regardless of whether they are disadvantaged or not.”

    It’s interesting that you, an alleged anti-Zionist, insist that Israel is for all Jews rather than the Jews who needed or need to become Israeli.

    Herzl certainly didn’t think a Jewish state would comprise all Jews, nor do most Israelis.

    In actual fact, Israel largely comprises Jews, or Jews descended from Jews, who did experience historical disadvantage.

    It does not largely consist in Jews as fortunate as you. Yet you use your good fortune to misrepresent for and to the existential enemies of Israeli Jews as though they did.

    Mark, I admitted positive discrimination, or affirmative action, is a kind of racism. I see no “cover” about it. Jews were historically dispossessed, Palestinian Christians and Muslims the historical beneficiaries of that dispossession, as the latter had believed for most of Christian and Islamic history.

    All they had to do was share the land, allow Jews some modicum of right of return. But the Palestinian Christian and Muslim national movement sought exclude Jews from the land from its inception, nor did it become more tolerant, rather the reverse.

    1947 was only one occasion when the Palestinian national leadership rejected compromise or partition, then sought to dispossess Palestinian Jews, or worse.

    That is what is so fearfully lacking in Churchill’s allegedly sympathetic portrayal of Israeli Jews: the fact that Palestinian and other Arab Christians and Muslims have been no less exclusory or eliminationist in their attitudes or actions towards Israeli, Palestinian or other Jews.

    And for most of Christian and Islamic history, Jews were conceived as a people no less than a “religion”, and, more to the point, a people exiled and dispossessed for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

    And, as you know, this led in no small part to most European and Arab Jews, in the 19th and 20th centuries, being killed or effectively driven out, before 1914 mostly to America, after 1914 mostly to Palestine or what became Israel.

    Of which fact also there is no a shred in Churchill’s purportedly sympathetic portrayal.

  35. “But my point here is that given that Palestinian is a nationality and Jewish is not”

    “Jewish” has been for most of Christian and Islamic history.

    It’s a moot point whether “Palestinian” has, but that would not, in my view, delegitimize Palestinian nationalism.

  36. levi9909 “Come on Jacob, think it through. I am not denying the suffering of anybody through the centuries.”

    You are the one who stupidly said that ““By the way, people suffering in history does not amount to historical disadvantage.”

    This is what I was responding to.

    “But what has that to do with now? Why should I (or anyone else) enjoy positive discrimination today because of what Jews suffered in the past?”

    I don’t accept that Jews are “discriminating” against others today.

    This is your story; it is your hateful fantasy. You need this story because you want to destroy the Jewish State which would mean the death and suffering of millions of Jews.

    “They don’t get to claim positive discrimination over it. The Afrikaaners’ leaders told of various sufferings from days gone by to justify the apartheid system that, like Israel, discriminated against people who had nothing to do with the suffering of the ancestors of the apartheid rulers.”

    More hateful nonsense and lies from Mark Elf.

    The comparison the Afrikaner South Africa is pure bullshit. If you want supremacist and apartheid States look to Arab countries. But this of course doesn’t suit your antisemitic agenda.

  37. zkharya, you are arguing with a full fledged antisemitic fanatic.

  38. “And, as you know, this led in no small part to most European and Arab Jews, in the 19th and 20th centuries, being killed or effectively driven out, before 1914 mostly to America, after 1914 mostly to Palestine or what became Israel.”

    zkharya, You forgot to mention the role the Communists, Mark Elf’s friends, including the Trotskyites, had in all this.

    They too instuted an apartheid like regime on Jews and didn’t allow them even to attend lectures in the sciences at their Univerisities.

    They also disseminated tens of thousands of antisemitic books and pamphlets among the Arabs and in Europe.

  39. Jacob and Zkharya – Just quickly now because I’m rushing. You two seem to be misrepresenting what others have said and changing the meaning of certain words and expressions in order that Israel can be got off the hook of legitimate charges against it and to accuse others of wrong-doings they haven’t done (or said).

    You both seem to have a beef not with me but with reality.

    Anyway, if the thread’s still open I’ll pop back later. In the meantime, Jacob, look up the Law of Return and then look up the word “discrimination”. It’s too late for this thread but you’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment in future.

  40. ” Jacob, look up the Law of Return and then look up the word “discrimination”. ”

    You look up the law of return of most world countries and report back to me. Look up espcially the laws that allows descendants of Russians, Chinese, Greeks, French, Turks, Arabs in various countries to claim citizenship in the countries from which their ancestors came.

    ” It’s too late for this thread but you’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment in future.”

    I don’t think anything will save you from embarrassment since antisemites who claim to be Jews have no shame and no sense of honor.

  41. “You two seem to be misrepresenting what others have said and changing the meaning of certain words and expressions in order that Israel can be got off the hook of legitimate charges against it and to accuse others of wrong-doings they haven’t done (or said).”

    This is more than funny coming from you, someone who can’t stick to an argument.

    Israel doesn’t need to be defended, not to you and not to any antisemite.

    You are as incoherent as you are dishonest, Mark Elf.

  42. You’re way out of your depth here Jacob. I’m still quite busy but since this is an easy one I’ll deal with it then dash out.

    Russians, Chinese, Greeks, French, Turks, Arabs?

    Russians are people from Russia, Chinese are mostly people from China though there are ethnic Chinese living throughout the world, the Greeks are from Greece, the French from France and the Turks from Turkey. There is no such thing as a Russian who does come from Russia and not have immediate ancestry from Russia having more right to live in Russia than any native individual or community. The ethnic Chinese from outside of China do not have more right to live in China than people that do come from there. The are no people from outside of France that have more right to live in France than people that come from there. Like Chinese, there are ethnic Turks who cannot demonstrate their ancestry from Turkey. They do not have more right to live in Turkey than people that come from there. Arabs are a different ball game altogether because there are 18 Arab states plus 4 member states of the Arab League. They all have different rules but the general rule is that if you come from there or your parents and grandparents do, you can live there. That’s the general rule. Perhaps since you’re so on top of these things you could go check the individual cases.

    Israel’s Law of Return has nothing to do with where your ancestors are from. If that was the case the Palestinian Arabs would be allowed to return. The basic position with Israel is that if you are Jewish or if you have a Jewish parent or grandparent, you can live there regardless of when or where you or your ancestors became Jewish. Being Jewish does not mean that you or your ancestors come from Israel. Being Palestinian mostly does. I thought we already discussed that.

    You’re making things up as you go along and you’re then projecting your own dishonesty on to me.

    And did you look up “discrimination”? I’m guessing you didn’t, any more than you looked up the various nationality laws of the countries you pretended to know something about.

    If Israel’s so good, why the lies?

  43. Mark Elf is used to talking to people of his own leftist cell where everything he says is taken as holy writ.

    It won’t work here, Elf. You need to know what you are talking about.

  44. Ok, I’ll dissect your tendentious post.

    First using phrases like “you’re way out of your depth” isn’t an argument it’s more of your attempt at bullying. Save it for your cell.

    Next, I couldn’t care less about how “busy” you pretend to be, or what you have to do or not do.

    Let’s go on,

    “Russians, Chinese, Greeks, French, Turks, Arabs?

    Russians are people from Russia, etc…. I know where you are going with this.

    Let’s get one thing straight. If you don’t accept the premise that Jews originated in the land of Israel then there is nothing to talk about since we don’t speak the same language. Hence when you say,

    “Israel’s Law of Return has nothing to do with where your ancestors are from. If that was the case the Palestinian Arabs would be allowed to return.”

    Is completely false:

    The Palestinians can return to a Palestinian State once they reach an accord with Israel.

    Second, following your premise, Russians can return to Russian because the Russians originated in Russia and the Turks and Greeks to Turkey and Greece for the same reason doesn’t follow since countries like Greece and Turkey are recent creations and experience both ethnic cleansing as well as population transfers. Hence a Greek whose ancestors originated not in modern day Greece but in Turkey or even in Syria can return to Greece. The same is true for Turkey.

    You either don’t know what you are talking about Mark Elf or else you are building another one of your tendentious arguments in order to delegitimize Israel.

    “The basic position with Israel is that if you are Jewish or if you have a Jewish parent or grandparent, you can live there regardless of when or where you or your ancestors became Jewish. Being Jewish does not mean that you or your ancestors come from Israel.”

    False the Jews as a people originated in Israel in the same way that Chinese as a people originated in China. There are many Chinese today who don’t consider themselves Chinese whose ancestors have not lived in China for hundreds of years who are still considered Chinese by the government of that country.

    In any case, you need to make a distinction between individual claims and the claims of a people. The world is a little more complicated than the bigoted little mind of an Elf can process.

    “Being Palestinian mostly does. I thought we already discussed that.”

    No you discussed that. I didn’t discuss the origin of the Palestinian Arabs many of whom did not originate in Palestine because there was no such country and because many of their forebears (not to mention their ancestors) from elsewhere.

    “You’re making things up as you go along and you’re then projecting your own dishonesty on to me.”

    As I just showed it is you who are making things up.

    “And did you look up “discrimination”?

    Did you look it up? Do you know what it means and how it applies in this case? I don’t think so.

    “I’m guessing you didn’t, any more than you looked up the various nationality laws of the countries you pretended to know something about.”

    Sorry but here again you seem to talking to your cell not to me, Jewhater.

    “If Israel’s so good, why the lies?”

    If you are so right about Jews why do you lie so much, Mark Elf?

    You really are out of your depth here, Mark. There are just pulled a mark Elf. Anyone can do it, see.

    In any case, try your bullying tactics on your Commie buddies.

  45. To all my friends at J Street:

    Chag Sameach, happy Passover,

    Bashana Haba’a B’yerushalayim

  46. “You really are out of your depth here, Mark. There are just pulled a mark Elf. Anyone can do it, see. ”

    The above should of course read:

    “You really are out of your depth here, Mark. There, I just pulled a Mark Elf.

    Anyone can do it, see.

  47. Jacob – “stop shouting and join the conversation”. (I read that somewhere this morning) Increasing the volume doesn’t hone the accuracy, evidently.

    “Let’s get one thing straight. If you don’t accept the premise that Jews originated in the land of Israel then there is nothing to talk about since we don’t speak the same language. ”

    You mean you speak the language of mythology except even Jewish mythology does not place the birth of the Jews or of Judaism in what is now called Israel and the occupied territories.

    Even if that was the birthplace of Judaism or of some Jews that does not mean that today’s Jews have ancestry from there. I think the Palestinians are more likely to be descendants of Israelites than most of today’s Jews but no one can be sure.

    Also there have been several Jewish states in the past. Yemen was Jewish twice before going over to Islam. Why assume that Yemeni Jews are descendants of communities in Palestine? Ethiopia too has been Jewish and there have been Jewish Berber tribes and others too. And now you claim or at least imply that all Jews are descendants of a community that took on its Jewish identity in Israel and that that gives them more right to Palestine than Palestinians. Like I said, that’s the language of mythology, not history, not even politics unless we count the most ahistorical of nationalisms.

    Anyway, the general principle adhered to by most countries is that if you or your immediate ancestors are from a country then you have a right to citizenship. That is from a country in your recent ancestry, not in your dreams or in your holy books.

    Whatever the outcome of negotiations, Palestinians by definition are people from what we now call Israel and the occupied territories. You might be right in that the Palestinians may have a settlement imposed on them but Israel will still be in a permanent state of population transfer like no other state on earth. Having said that, I don’t think there will ever be a two state solution but that’s another story and you’ve taken this thread far enough off topic.

    Under Israeli law, Jews from anywhere in the world, no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jewish, will always have more right to live in Israel than non-Jews who are already there. Logically that even counts for non-Jews who are already there via the Law of Return. And of course Jews have more rights in Israel than non-Jews.

    Regarding the countries you site, none of them owe their ethnic majority to the purging of a previous ethnic majority certainly not since the start of the 20th century and none of them mobilise or even invite people from all around the world to come and live in the place of living natives who have been exiled in our time.

    I’ll help you here. Try Ireland. Zionists usually try it on by reference to Ireland’s citizenship law. It’s the diametric opposite of Israel’s but give it a whirl, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

    In the case of Greece, the law is that if you have one parent from what we now call Greece, you can take out citizenship and no native Greeks are barred from there in the way that Palestinians are from Israel. There are no people recognised by the Greek government as Greek for the purpose of citizenship who do not have recent ancestry in Greece. And no living person from Greece is barred from there. Even if that was the case, it still wouldn’t be the same as Israel because you can’t convert to Greekness. You can convert to Judaism and many have done so.

    There are many states that have ethnic cleansing in their backgrounds but Israel’s existence is predicated on it. That is unique.

    Now, going back through the thread, most of the ground has been covered twice or even three times except this ludicrous “Jew hater” allegation. No one takes that smear seriously any more but just for your benefit let me explain. Being opposed to Jewish supremacy is not being opposed to Jews, it is being opposed to supremacy. Many Jews oppose Jewish supremacy in Palestine and many antisemitic Christians, in particular in America, support it. Zionism and Jewishness are not the same nor can they ever be. The latter predates the former by thousands of years and it will outlive it I’m sure.

    Now this really ought to be case closed.

  48. My, my, Mark Elf couldn’t stay away. He came back for more punishment the masochist.

    Here is the language of mythology for the troll Elf:

    “The Jerusalem Talmud or Talmud Yerushalmi (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשָׁלְמִי‎), often the Yerushalmi for short, is a collection of Rabbinic notes about the Jewish Oral tradition as detailed in the 2nd-century Mishnah. Other descriptions are Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael (Talmud of the Land of Israel) or, in some scholarly literature, Palestinian Talmud: these names are considered more accurate by some because, while the work was certainly composed in “the West” (i.e. the Holy Land), it originates from Galilee rather than Jerusalem.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Talmud

    “There are many states that have ethnic cleansing in their backgrounds but Israel’s existence is predicated on it. That is unique. ”

    What foul lies and nonsense.

    The Jews were ethnically cleansed from ancient Judea though they always kept a connection with the land.

    ““Jew hater” allegation. No one takes that smear seriously any more”

    Why would a Jew hater like you think it an insult to be called a Jew hater. You love it.

    “… Being opposed to Jewish supremacy is not being opposed to Jews, it is being opposed to supremacy.”

    Yes, there are other antisemitic Jews. You are one of them, Mark. Just like the insane Norman Finkelstein who has said that he doesn’t consider himself Jewish. And just like the antisemitic Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm who decries “ethnic cleansing” yet supported the Stalinist mass murder system all of his life including Soviet Imperialist action like their bloody invasion of Hungary and Afghanistan.

    These are the kinds of “Jews” show are ant Zionist.

    Now comes this little gem from Mark Troll Elf.

    “many antisemitic Christians, in particular in America, support it. ”

    Many antisemitic Christians support the Palestinians especially in Europe.

    Finally, I have already answered this lie:

    “In the case of Greece, the law is that if you have one parent from what we now call Greece, you can take out citizenship and no native Greeks are barred from there in the way that Palestinians are from Israel.”

    No Palestinian will be barred from a Palestinian State once a final peace accord will be signed.

    Mark Elf isn’t really pro Palestinian. He isn’t working for a two State solution. He is an antisemite who wants Israel destroyed and another supremacist Arab State established in its place.

    It’s the idea of a Jewish State that Elf hates. He wants to commit genocide against the Jews of Israel.

    This is what obsesses him and his Communist friends, and this is what gives life to his miserable life.
    All his other excuses and contrived evidence is just a means to this end.

  49. I note, in terms of anti-semitism, that the title of the play is “7 JEWISH Children”, not “7 Israeli Children.”

  50. Alain Shriber

    “There are many states that have ethnic cleansing in their backgrounds but Israel’s existence is predicated on it. That is unique. ”

    The ignorance invested in this comment is breathtaking.

    Here are some countries founded on ethnic cleansing: The US, Australia, modern Turkey (not to mention its Armenian genocide), modern Greece, Pakistan, and India, there are others but this short list will do.

    What is unique about Israel is that it was founded by people who were ethnically cleansed both from Europe and from Arab lands.

  51. Wow! Your first serious comment and its about the Talmud: the Palestinian Talmud. And what about the Babylonian?

    So a branch of Talmudic Judaism was begun arguably in what scholarly opinion calls Palestine. The problem there is that the Palestinian Talmud does not claim that Judaism itself began in Palestine. It also doesn’t mean that the ancestors of today’s Jews come from there. And the Talmud claims to be an interpretation of Torah and that Torah is the legal basis of Judaism. So returning to my point, which isn’t a political one since no political significance flows from it, according to Jewish mythology neither Judaism nor the Jews started out from Palestine and even if they did, so what? You might as well say that Leon Uris was published in Israel. Don’t tell me, I know he was, and elsewhere too.

    Go on, go to bed Jacob

  52. I hadn’t seen Prof Ethan and Alain Shriber’s comments before posting my previous one.

    Prof Ethan, if you read the play you will see that it is Jewish children being addressed in different places from tsarist Russia or nazi Germany through to Palestine/Israel. Israeli children are a post WWII thing. There were no Israeli children before 1948, hence Jewish children.

    The expression “Jewish children” isn’t antisemitic. I think you’ll find that the allegation of antisemitism has nothing to do with the identity of the children but the fact that the play is “for Gaza”.

    Alain Shriber – you missed the part of the thread where we moved into the 20th century and the issue that many of the victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing are still alive and Israel is the only country with an ethno-religious majority based on the ethnic cleansing of a former ethnic majority. Also, Israel’s colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing are on going, that is, they never stopped.

    “US, Australia, modern Turkey (not to mention its Armenian genocide), modern Greece, Pakistan, and India, there are others but this short list will do.”

    Again, Jacob already tried it on with Russians, Greeks, etc. Modern Turkey has committed genocide against Armenians and it has ethnically cleansed eg Greeks, but its existence is not predicated on it. Same with modern Greece on vice versa. India and Pakistan both carried out ethnic cleansing against those they identified with the other. Again, they were already minorities and the existence of neither India nor Pakistan is predicated on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims or Hindus respectively.
    The ethnic cleansing of America and Australia ended well over 100 years ago and now there are no second class citizens under either countries’ laws. Sorry to be repetitive but this has been explained so many times already,

    To liken Israel whose existence is predicated on the current basis that people from outside have more rights than former or even existing non-Jewish inhabitants to countries that have ethnic cleansing only in their fairly distant past, mostly before the 20th century, and anyway, whose existence is not predicated on it, is misleading.

    Perhaps you need to look up the word “predicated” or maybe I do but Israel stands alone as the only state whose existence is would not happen without an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out (and continuing by other means) in the 20th century. Greece, Turkey, India, Pakistan purged minorities not the majority. That is they would still be Greece, Turkey, India and Pakistan without the ethnic cleansing. Israel would not be Israel without it.

    Go back through the thread. Try word searching. Most of the points have been made 3 or 4 times now. The arguments placed against Israel’s current colonial settler nature are increasingly bogus and repetitive.

    Alan Shriber – your last point is wrong too though of course it scores emotive points. Israel was not founded by Jews from Arab countries and the question of how and why Jews left Arab countries is a little more complex than you make out. What I would like to see is one example of an Arab state that Jews have left so we can consider that individual case. It’s all too easy to say “the Arab states” but I’m sure quite rich and varied histories are being glossed over. Also of course, even the Ashkenazi founders of the State of Israel were voluntary colonial settlers, not refugees or victims in any sense. If you mean the population was predominantly consisting of refugees that may be true, though it wasn’t actually what you said but also that doesn’t give them more right to a place than the native inhabitants.

    But thanks very much Prof Ethan for getting back on topic. I think the two most important sources for the play by Caryl Churchill are the play itself which is available on line and her defence of it in response to Howard Jacobson’s “critique”, which I believe misrepresents her work and, like some comments in this thread, misrepresents the reasoning behind increasing hostility towards the State of Israel and its zionist ideology.

  53. Another long post farrago of lies and nonsense by the Jew obsessed Mark Elf.

    However, since Elf isn’t dealing with the issues both out of ignorance as well as his inability to face the truth but is recycling his comments I shall do the same.

  54. “Wow! Your first serious comment and its about the Talmud: the Palestinian Talmud. And what about the Babylonian?”

    There he goes again.

    The fact that the Talmud which was written in Palestine in the second century means that there were still communities in ancient Israel at the time.

    The claim isn’t controversial and Elf’s reaction showed yet again his ignorance of Jewish history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_history

    The origin of the Jews may be lost to history but the history record shows that they did live in ancient Israel for centuries.

    Notice Elf’s illogical reaction to this:

    “So returning to my point, which isn’t a political one since no political significance flows from it, according to Jewish mythology neither Judaism nor the Jews started out from Palestine and even if they did, so what?”

    So, Jews according to this Jew hating ignoramus Jews didn’t “start from Palestine and even if they did so what?” This is priceless.

    It gets better:

    “It also doesn’t mean that the ancestors of today’s Jews come from there.”

    This is like saying that because the Celtic peoples originated in Central Europe the Irish don’t really belong in Ireland.

    Finally he crowns his ignorance with the following comment:

    “You might as well say that Leon Uris was published in Israel. Don’t tell me, I know he was, and elsewhere too.”

    This is another one of Elf’s priceless comparison’s.

    As if there were printing presses in the second century and the Palestinian Talmud was just printed out in Palestine as well as elsewhere.

    Elf is like one of those old Bolsheviks who keep coming up with more and more arguments no matter how stupid hoping to wear down the opposition.

    Everything you wrote so far is an embarrassment Elf, but I am glad you are doing so. It shows the mentality of the Jew hating antisemite.

    You remind me of Israel Shamir the Russo-Swedish antisemite who adopted a Jewish name in order not to be accused of being an antisemite and writes scurrilous antisemitic screeds.

    No wonder you love Churchill’s Jew hating play.

  55. Because Mark Elf can’t deal with facts I’ll repost this:

    He says:

    “according to Jewish mythology neither Judaism nor the Jews started out from Palestine and even if they did, so what?”

    So they didn’t, and even if they did so what? This is whole substance of this obsessive bigot’s argument.

    He also has no idea about the difference between fact and myth.

    “You might as well say that Leon Uris was published in Israel.”

    Oh, what a comparison. He compares Leon Uris to the history of the history of the publication of the Talmud in Palestine in the second century. The Palestinian Talmud wasn’t just published in the modern sense of the term it was written there:

    Again, from the article:

    “The Jerusalem Talmud predates its counterpart, the Babylonian Talmud, by about 200 years and is written in both Hebrew and Aramaic.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Talmud

    No one has ever accused Uris of writing his potboiler novel in Israel.

    There are, btw, much better accounts of the Exodus ship than Uris’ including one by the Israeli writer:

    Commander of the Exodus: Yoram Kaniuk, but this is a Btw and I don’t expect the illiterate Elf to read it. He doesn’t seem to read anything except blogs, and pamphlets that support his views.

    Notice too his contempt for the use of the name Palestine when it doesn’t suit his argument. Otherwise the phrase “Palestinian people” is a magical formula with which to beat down his opponents.

    Finally his argument about the origin of the Jews (which indeed lost in time and the only historical record we have of them is their dwelling in ancient Israel and later Judea) is like saying that the Celts because they originated in central Europe aren’t really Irish or Welsh, etc.

  56. “Prof Ethan, if you read the play you will see that it is Jewish children being addressed in different places from tsarist Russia or nazi Germany through to Palestine/Israel. Israeli children are a post WWII thing. There were no Israeli children before 1948, hence Jewish children.”

    This makes the play more antisemitic not less.

    The play argues that Jewish mothers teach Jewish children to hate rather being empathetic to the suffering of others. This is both a lie as well as morally obtuse. It makes no such claims of Arab children. It takes a one sided and decidedly anti-Israel point of view this makes the play antisemitic.

  57. “Alain Shriber – you missed the part of the thread where we moved into the 20th century and the issue that many of the victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing are still alive”
    So now he changes the terms of the argument again.
    No, Mark you said that Israel is the only country founded on ethnic cleansing which isn’t true.
    How do you know that all the victims of the Indian Pakistan ethnic cleansing are dead? And how is that relevant anyway?
    “Also, Israel’s colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing are on going, that is, they never stopped.”
    Notice how Elf mixes two separate points as if it were one.
    Wrong again, there was no ethnic cleansing. The Arabs attacked the nascent Jewish State hoping to drive them into the sea and they lost.

    Benny Morris said it best:
    “Lashing Back – Israel’s 1947-1948 Civil War” By Benny Morris
    http://www.historynet.com/lashing-back-israel’s-1947-1948-civil-war.htm/1

    But this is history and Mark Elf’s deals in propaganda not history.

    In any case, since the runt doesn’t argue but keeps repeating is cliché talking points I will just start recycling my posts each time he answers.

    If others want to engage him in debate that is their business.

  58. “Again, Jacob already tried it on with Russians, Greeks, etc. Modern Turkey has committed genocide against Armenians and it has ethnically cleansed eg Greeks, but its existence is not predicated on it. Same with modern Greece on vice versa. India and Pakistan both carried out ethnic cleansing against those they identified with the other. Again, they were already minorities and the existence of neither India nor Pakistan is predicated on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims or Hindus respectively.”
    Oh what bullshit. No facts, no dates just palaver.

    The number of people involved in the ethnic cleansing between Pakistan and India was in the tens of millions, the number involved in the Arab Jewish wars were in the tens so thousands. This includes both Arabs and Jews from Arab lands.
    Moreover Pakistan, Turkey and Greece among other nations have been founded on ethnic cleansing and your denial of this fact makes nonsense of everything you say about Israel

    Your argument that Israel is uniquely evil is antisemitic, Mark Elf. But you already knew that.
    The rest of your post is equally mendacious.

  59. “Alan Shriber – your last point is wrong too though of course it scores emotive points. Israel was not founded by Jews from Arab countries and the question of how and why Jews left Arab countries is a little more complex than you make out.”

    Shriber is right and it is Elf who is wrong:

    Israel was founded by both Jews from Europe and Mizrahi Jews.
    Besides, the treatment of Jews by Arab over the centuries was worse than the treatment of Black people under apartheid. It was like the treatment of the untouchables in India.

    People should read (not Mark Elf it is too late for him to learn anything real about these issues):

    “Une si longue presence: comment le monde arabe a perdu ses juifs 1947-1967”
    by Nathan Weinstock
    http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=219

    also this:

    “Recognising the Jewish ‘Nakba’Acknowledging the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries – written out of history”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/25/middleeast.middleeastthemedia

  60. Jacob – you’re now trolling (if you weren’t before) to stop people from reading any counter-argument to your own.

    Getting back to the topic, the post claims that presentation of the play, 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza, was worthwhile and a contribution to discussion on “how our community can best support Israel”. The only antisemitism I see in the post is the idea that the Jewish community essentially wants to support a state based on on-going colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, racist laws and relentless aggression towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine. Unless by “community” the post meant zionists in particular rather than Jews in general, many of whom reject zionism as a racist ideology and project.

    But this is the cleft stick that J-Street is in. They want to present a zionism with a moderate face but the moderates lost out a long time ago and the field has been left to a ragbag of overt liars, racists and religious or pseudo religious maniacs such that any moderates there might be don’t dare put their heads above the parapet.

    However I did address Prof Ethan and Alain Shriber so if they want a serious discussion I’ll be back but I can’t waste any more time on a serial fantasist like “Jacob”.

  61. Michael Levy

    Levi-You ascribe more power to those you oppose than they actually have and then complain when people point how wrong you are. This is a fine example of building a strawman.

    The play is nothing more than an example Palestinian demonization of Jews and Israel. It’s no better than the old fashioned racist images of blacks that littered our culture in the early part of the 2oth century.

    So, unless you are ok with a play called “Seven Little Niggers”, I’d suggest you concede your wrong and move on. And perhaps learn a thing or two about Israel because you clearly are without a clue.

  62. Alain Shriber

    Michael Levy, I had the misfortune of arguing with Mark Elf aka ‘Levi999999″ at another website a few years. His mode of argument and message hasn’t changed. He has a simple message:

    Zionism is uniquely evil and the Jews should assimilate.

    His words may change depending but the underlying message is the same. It is the old Bolshevik line which he is still parroting as if nothing had happened in the world since 1917 and as if the Communists hadn’t been responsible for the death of millions of people a crime that far surpasses ethnic cleaning.

    To my mind people like Mark Elf should be treated no better than the neo-Nazis. They have a similar criminal mentality no matter how well spoken they appear to be.

  63. Alain Shriber

    “Alain Shriber – you missed the part of the thread where we moved into the 20th century and the issue that many of the victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing are still alive and Israel is the only country with an ethno-religious majority based on the ethnic cleansing of a former ethnic majority. Also, Israel’s colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing are on going, that is, they never stopped.”

    I missed nothing, Elf, and your response is typical and full of evasions.

    There is no ongoing “ethnic cleansing.” It seems that way to you because you need to believe that and because of all the ethnic cleanings in the last fifty years and there were more than a couple of dozens all the refugees have been absorbed into the surrounding communities. The Arabs alone refused to repatriate the refugees from their war on Israel in order to keep the conflict going.

    As is usual with you your responses are filled with half truths which are worse than outright deceptions.

  64. Michael Levy

    Alain, to me, people such as Mark are a different animal than neo-Nazis. Neo-Nazis base their hatred on a philosophy so transparently false that any person of intelligence should be able to easily dismiss them.

    People like Mark are different and in many ways, a more dangerous breed. Unlike a Neo-Nazi, I don’t believe Mark actually believes that Jews are some form of evil incarnate. Rather, Mark and his anti-zionist cohorts are consumed with their arrogant belief that their way is the only way to peace and if you disagree with them, then you must be a racist/warmonger/zionist/republican/whatever insult they choose to use that particular day. His breed are far too common amongst left of center people and that’s a shame. Because deep down, below the levels of nonsense, he probably does want peace and does want a fair resolution to the mideast crisis. Unfortunately, he’s chosen to parrot the Palestinian talking points on this matter and assumes, ironically, that somehow that is the way to peace. He seems to believe that since he feels the adamant pro-Israel views are wrong, the adamant pro-Palestinian views MUST be right.

    Of course, they’re not. Rejectionist approaches to peace do not work whether you are a Jew or a Muslim, an Israeli or a Palestinian. And for those who truly seek peace, such as J Street, to embrace these views speaks to the bankruptcy of the entire mideast peace process. J Street and like minded groups should be in the business of rejected nonsense like this play every bit as passionately as they do the words of Avigdor Lieberman.

    You don’t get to peace by demonizing a side, be it yours, theirs or other.

  65. “Jacob – you’re now trolling (if you weren’t before) to stop people from reading any counter-argument to your own.”

    He is also tries to be humorous.

    “Getting back to the topic,”

    Really, everyone here was on topic which is antisemitism, which means you, Mark Elf. You are the topic.

    “ the post claims that presentation of the play, 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza, was worthwhile and a contribution to discussion on “how our community can best support Israel”.”

    Oh please, what a fibber. You don’t want to “support Israel” you want to disestablish the Jewish State. Mark the fibber is back.

    “The only antisemitism I see in the post is the idea that the Jewish community essentially wants to support a state based on on-going colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, racist laws and relentless aggression towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine.”

    This is how he wants to “support Israel” by condemning her.

    You are wrong, the play is antisemitic because it does intimate that Israel is “a state based on on-going colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, racist laws and relentless aggression towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine,” which is an outright lie.

    “Unless by “community” the post meant zionists in particular rather than Jews in general, many of whom reject zionism as a racist ideology and project.”

    Half the Jews in the world live in Israel and more than half of the Jews in the Galut support Israel. This means that an overwhelming majority of Jews in the world are either Zionists or pro Zionists. (Though they may disagree among themselves on many political issues.)

    You are in the minority, and you don’t speak for the Jewish community and J Street is right to say our community when speaking of the Jewish community in general.

    “But this is the cleft stick that J-Street is in. They want to present a zionism with a moderate face but the moderates lost out a long time ago and the field has been left to a ragbag of overt liars, racists and religious or pseudo religious maniacs such that any moderates there might be don’t dare put their heads above the parapet.”

    This is typical Mark Elf. Here is he at his antisemitic best.

    “However I did address Prof Ethan and Alain Shriber so if they want a serious discussion I’ll be back but I can’t waste any more time on a serial fantasist like “Jacob”.”

    The Jew hater and loser declares victory and leaves with his tail between his legs.

    I don’t mind. I can’t waste my time arguing with an illiterate bigot like Mark Elf. Oh yes, don’t let the door hit your pathetic ass on the way out.

  66. Alain Shriber

    Michael Levy here is a website that has brought together some choice quotes from Mark Elf:

    http://www.paulbogdanor.com/antisemitism/elf.html

    I used to argue with him on Engage a British website devoted to fighting both antisemitism and for a two State solution before Mark was banned from the site for making antisemitic comments. I am therefore very familiar with the outpourings of Jew hatred from his keyboard.

    He has been on his best behavior here until he was confronted by some posters.

  67. Mark Elf has called me and any one who disagree with him a fantasist yet while I offered links and references to issues I raised, Mark Elf to provide on reference to anything he said. There is no data accompanying his libelous accusations against Israel and there statistics of any kind that prove that Israel is uniquely evil.

    This is typical of the way he argues as others have also shown.

  68. Michael Levy – I don’t think your preamble connects with anything I have said or done. It is simple abuse and nothing more.

    The play is not Palestinian, it is by an English woman as far as I know, unless you are saying that the Palestinian identity only exists in opposition to Jews, which can’t be right because a) Palestinians are so called because they come from the place formerly known as Palestine and b) there are Palestinian Jews. It’s also a very racist assumption but then to be fair, it’s not clear what you can mean by what you said.

    Saying “Seven little niggers” is not the same as saying “7 Jewish children” because “nigger” is always a put-down when coming from non-Blacks and “Jewish” is descriptive, sometimes insulting and sometimes complimentary.

    As for demonization of Jews, that’s not so and can’t be so. The play takes the form of parents talking, occasionally arguing. I mention that because Howard Jacobson makes out that the play presents Jews as all having the same kind of behaviours and opinions, ie, a monolith. The play shows diversity of situations and of opinions and some of the talkers are clearly upset about the war and don’t know how to tell their children about it. Some want to lie, some want to tell the truth.

    You have the correct notion that it is a criticism of Israel but that doesn’t mean demonization of Jews and in this instance it’s not even demonising Israel. It amounts to criticism, nothing more.

    You say I haven’t a clue about Israel. Now that’s a straw man. What, for example, are you saying I got wrong about Israel?

    Alain Shriber – I don’t recognise your name. I recognise your style but then it’s surprisingly common. Did you use an alias? Do you have a link to the site where we argued before? Certainly I don’t remember saying that Jews should assimilate because it’s never been my position. If Jews want to assimilate they can and if they don’t want to they don’t have to. I’m neutral on the question of assimilation. Try and remember for if we encounter each other on another site.

    Regarding zionism being a unique evil, I do think Israel is a bad state in ways that are unique to itself, in fact I am on record saying a few times that “Israel is uniquely despised because Israel is uniquely despicable” but that’s not what you said I said. Maybe you were paraphrasing.

    If you didn’t miss anything, then you’ve misunderstood something. No other state exists with its current national character thanks to the twin impact of colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing both copper-fastened by racist laws and relentless aggression and all in and/or since the 20th century.

    Put another way, there is no other state that exists today because in the twentieth century the majority of the natives were removed from that country and the majority of the population taking their place came from abroad. Repeat it a few times to yourself. Go to any country. Consider the people that may have been there but are no more. Then look at the people who are there. Consider their ethnic and religious identities. Have they been the majority since time immemorial? Or did they come in the late 19th century, drive out the existing majority and declare statehood for themselves? I think you will find that Israel stands out for standing on three pillars or what you might call a triad of political impairments, colonial settlement ethnic cleansing and racist laws.

    Some Arab states have absorbed Palestinians but the Palestinians appear to want the right to return. Morally and legally under international law they have that right. It is Israel’s racist law that denies them that right. Not only that but many of the refugees from Israel still live in Palestine, either the West Bank, Gaza or Jerusalem. Are you suggesting that they should be ethnically cleansed into existing Arab states? And also, there are even Palestinian refugees living within the pre-67 boundaries of Israel. Israel calls them Present-Absentees. They were out of their homes when Israel was declared. But do you think they should be removed? If you do, I’m sure Israel is doing all it can get away with given it relies on support from the democratic west.

    I’m not at all clear on what you meant by this:
    “The Arabs alone refused to repatriate the refugees.” I don’t get it. The refugees come from Palestine and in many cases they still are. What do you mean by “repatriate”? Repatriate means to go back to the country that you are from. How can the Arabs or anyone else repatriate Palestinians to a Palestine ruled by zionists who won’t let them return.? See you’ve accused me of “evasions” and I’m careful not to leave myself open to that bogus allegation so please explain yourself on that one. Perhaps you’ve misunderstood the word “repatriate”.

    But you claim there is no on-going ethnic cleansing. Yes there is. The whole thrust of Israeli policy towards the Arab minority in Israel is aimed at making them consider leaving and there are also evictions of Arabs in circumstances where the evictions would not happen to Jews. Arabs are being evicted from their homes in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Gaza is being subjected to what Israel has called a “diet”. When they said the Palestinians would get a “whole lot thinner” do you think they meant each Gaza would weigh less? They meant the population would decline as people found life there intolerable.

    Further, a judge ruled last year (maybe the year before) that if an Israeli Arab marries a West Bank Arab they have to live in the West Bank. If an Israeli Jew marries a West Bank Jews, picture it, if Livni married Lieberman, the new Mrs Lieberman would not have to live abroad with Israel’s foreign minister, though she could. The foreign minister could live in Israel with his new spouse. And of course he comes from neither Israel or the West Bank. That is both discriminatory and a form of ethnic cleansing. In fact in that case alone I’ve demonstrated the colonial nature of Israel, the ethnic cleansing and the racist laws. So I’m glad you brought that up.

    Now to be fair, the ethnic cleansing isn’t happening at the shocking rate at which it brought Israel its Jewish majority back in the 1940s but it is happening and Livni seemed to be promising more in the event of a Palestinian state coming into being. I did see a zionist once discussing how the Arab population could be clipped to 18% of the population for the foreseeable future without more ethnic cleansing but the general thrust is that ethnic cleansing together with colonial settlement does lie at the heart of the zionist project. And insisting that a society must maintain a certain ratio of this community to that is racist and a recipe for ethnic cleansing if the subject community is described (constantly) as a demographic threat.

    Anyway, like Jacob, Alain Shriber and Michael Levy have simply refused to debate in good faith. Again, this is a problem for J-Street. They want a nice honest zionism and yet look what their post has generated or degenerated into.

    I am totally sincere in my beliefs. I can be accused of ignorance and of naivete, even stupidity at times but not dishonesty in debate. I don’t misrepresent what others have said though I may make genuine mistakes as to their meaning. But I have never known apologists for Israel argue in good faith. I say on my blog that there is no such thing as an honest zionist and nothing in this whole thread leads me to think I was either ignorant, mistaken or stupid in saying so. It might of course be a tad undiplomatic.

    So, I’ve asked a few questions that Michael and Alain might like to answer but really we ought to stay on topic and the topic is the play, 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza.

    I started writing this a couple of hours ago, went out and came back to it and so I just checked the thread and both Michael and Alain have posted more comments since I wrote it this. I was responding to the comments of Michael Levy and Alain Shriber’s ones here and here. I’ll read the others in due course and if they need a response I’ll reply.

  69. Michael Levy

    Mr. Elf, having seen your words, there’s no point in debating someone so profane. I stand corrected with my claim that you are merely misguided. You are actually a hater and more to the point, a massive fool.

  70. Elf said that he won’t be back any more but this too was a lie no doubt.

    His posts just repeats all the lies and nonsense he posted before here and in the links provided by other posters.

  71. Since Levy99999999999 keeps recycling his posts I’ll do the same till he learns to differentiate between history and propaganda.

    Ok, I’ll dissect your tendentious post.

    First using phrases like “you’re way out of your depth” isn’t an argument it’s more of your attempt at bullying. Save it for your cell.

    Next, I couldn’t care less about how “busy” you pretend to be, or what you have to do or not do.

    Let’s go on,

    “Russians, Chinese, Greeks, French, Turks, Arabs?

    Russians are people from Russia, etc…. I know where you are going with this.

    Let’s get one thing straight. If you don’t accept the premise that Jews originated in the land of Israel then there is nothing to talk about since we don’t speak the same language. Hence when you say,

    “Israel’s Law of Return has nothing to do with where your ancestors are from. If that was the case the Palestinian Arabs would be allowed to return.”

    Is completely false:

    The Palestinians can return to a Palestinian State once they reach an accord with Israel.

    Second, following your premise, Russians can return to Russian because the Russians originated in Russia and the Turks and Greeks to Turkey and Greece for the same reason doesn’t follow since countries like Greece and Turkey are recent creations and experience both ethnic cleansing as well as population transfers. Hence a Greek whose ancestors originated not in modern day Greece but in Turkey or even in Syria can return to Greece. The same is true for Turkey.

    You either don’t know what you are talking about Mark Elf or else you are building another one of your tendentious arguments in order to delegitimize Israel.

    “The basic position with Israel is that if you are Jewish or if you have a Jewish parent or grandparent, you can live there regardless of when or where you or your ancestors became Jewish. Being Jewish does not mean that you or your ancestors come from Israel.”

    False the Jews as a people originated in Israel in the same way that Chinese as a people originated in China. There are many Chinese today who don’t consider themselves Chinese whose ancestors have not lived in China for hundreds of years who are still considered Chinese by the government of that country.

    In any case, you need to make a distinction between individual claims and the claims of a people. The world is a little more complicated than the bigoted little mind of an Elf can process.

    “Being Palestinian mostly does. I thought we already discussed that.”

    No you discussed that. I didn’t discuss the origin of the Palestinian Arabs many of whom did not originate in Palestine because there was no such country and because many of their forebears (not to mention their ancestors) from elsewhere.

    “You’re making things up as you go along and you’re then projecting your own dishonesty on to me.”

    As I just showed it is you who are making things up.

    “And did you look up “discrimination”?

    Did you look it up? Do you know what it means and how it applies in this case? I don’t think so.

    “I’m guessing you didn’t, any more than you looked up the various nationality laws of the countries you pretended to know something about.”

    Sorry but here again you seem to talking to your cell not to me, Jewhater.

    “If Israel’s so good, why the lies?”

    If you are so right about Jews why do you lie so much, Mark Elf?

    You really are out of your depth here, Mark. There are just pulled a mark Elf. Anyone can do it, see.

    In any case, try your bullying tactics on your Commie buddies.

  72. “The play is not Palestinian, it is by an English woman as far as I know, unless you are saying that the Palestinian identity only exists in opposition to Jews, which can’t be right because a) Palestinians are so called because they come from the place formerly known as Palestine and b) there are Palestinian Jews. It’s also a very racist assumption but then to be fair, it’s not clear what you can mean by what you said.”

    Everything said above about Palestinians is false.

    Before WW1 the people in the region were Ottoman subjects and after WW1 they became British subjects. There never was a Palestinian people! The Arabs of the region didn’t start calling themselves Palestinians till the 60’s, and yes they did in opposition to Jews. Their whole identity is a counter identity. (In any case, people can call themselves whatever they choose and if they want to call themselves “Palestinians,” then they are Palestinians, just as Elf can call himself Elf or Levy99999999 or whatever else he chooses. He is still an evil Jew-hater.)

    The lies multiply, “unless you are saying that the Palestinian identity only exists in opposition to Jews, which can’t be right because a) Palestinians are so called because they come from the place formerly known as Palestine and b) there are Palestinian Jews.”

    Jews under the mandate did indeed consider themselves Palestinian but not the Muslims. Moreover, the region has had many names and Palestine (given by the Romans after they expelled the Jews) has been used only in recent times. It was a name revived by European Christians because of its ancient association with Christianity.

    Elf is monumentally ignorant as well as a liar.

  73. “I am totally sincere in my beliefs. I can be accused of ignorance and of naivete, even stupidity at times but not dishonesty in debate. ”

    This another one of Elf’s jokes.

    he is all of the above: ignorant, a lier, and dishonest to the point of insanity.

    I have never met an anti-Zionist Jew (as opposed to a non Zionist) who wasn’t touched with insanity.

    True of Norman Finkelstein the king of ant Zionists to Eric Hobsbawm the evil Stalinist who supported that dictator’s murder of millions of people as well as the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Afghanistan in the post Stalinist period. Now he wants us to believe that he is concerned about the plight of the Palestinians, but not about the plight of anyone else.

    This is the caliber of people who call themselves anti-Zionists.

  74. Jacob – you’re cluttering up the thread so badly I’m finding it hard to keep up with the wit and wisdom of Alain and Michael. Ok, since you were so hurt about your stupid links, I actually already read Lyn Julius. She suggests that there should be trade offs between the victims of ethnic cleansing. If it’s ok to ethnically cleanse Arabs, it’s ok to do it to Jews and vice versa runs her logic. So she says that since Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab states, Arabs ethnically cleansed from Palestine should simply replace them or otherwise be traded off against them. Two problems. If I was thrown out of my home by a WASP in the UK it would give me no comfort to know that a WASP was being thrown out of their home by a Jew. The other is that she offers no evidence of any individual Arab state where the ethnic cleansing of Jews took place. Woops, there’s another. The Arab states have had predominantly Arab populations since time immemorial. Ethnic cleansing in recent times has not been a feature of Arab or Islamic societies.

    Michael – You are so consumed with fear and hatred of people who oppose Israel you say the most ridiculous things. I’m not talking about anything you’ve said about Israel, in fact I’m not sure you have said anything about Israel. But you are now on record as saying that someone who “probably does want peace and does want a fair resolution to the mideast crisis” is actually “a more dangerous breed” than “a Neo-Nazi”. This suggests bizarre political priorities on your part. But really you only have one political priority and that’s to defend Israel from criticism by attacking, not the criticism, but the critic.

    Incidentally, don’t go accusing me of quoting out of context. There was no context. The quote actually links to the idea that because I believe that zionism is wrong I therefore believe that “the adamant pro-Palestinian views MUST be right”. That’s what makes me more dangerous a breed than neo-nazis. Except there are many positions that you might describe as pro-Palestinian. There are supporters of one and two state solutions who could be described as pro-Palestinian. There are islamists, liberals, socialists and so on who are described as pro-Palestinian. As it happens I don’t actually think of myself as pro-Palestinian but anti-zionist. Like on South Africa, I wasn’t pro-Black, I was anti-apartheid.

    If you were truly concerned about antisemitism you would fight it where it is, not invent it where it isn’t. Try the Christian zionists.

    Now then, too much time wasted on you but I must pull you up on your insistence that 7 Jewish children demonises Jews or Israel. It doesn’t. I can’t be bothered with you any more so don’t bother telling me what you’ve found but you really ought to read it before, er, demonising it. Perhaps we need a mutual non-demonisation pact.

    Oh no, I’ve just seen your follow up comment about me being “profane”. Wonderful from someone who compares unfavourably someone he claims to believe probably wants peace etc to neo-nazis. I don’t even want to know what you’re talking about but I think you have just realised that even with outside help from Alain and Jacob, you’re hopelessly out of your depth complaining about a play you only know the title but not the content of.

    Alain – I only remember having two comments barred from Engage. The first was to ask what George Galloway had ever said that was antisemitic and the second was to say that it didn’t matter how many states form the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is how they are constituted that counts. Nothing even anti-zionist there. I remember one thread where I thought he had barred me so I did a post on it but it turned out that the moderating was a bit slow. Perhaps you could link to the post concerned.

    Hirsh may have banned me now but since I never post there I wouldn’t know. I know he has recently said that my blog is antisemitic so he doesn’t allow links to it but I think that’s because I humiliated him over his use of a pseudonym to troll my blog. He used the name Alf Green several times from the same IP address as his own.

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2006/09/alexandra-simonon-apology.html

    And I looked at that nutty Paul Bogdanor’s page “on” me. The first quote says it all:

    “This Mark Elf complains that “Jews are untouchable for political critique and humour”.

    He very helpfully linked to the source which says:
    “A few weeks ago one of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s (ie Borat’s) writers wrote about antisemitism at the Edinburgh festival in the Times. I can’t be bothered to dig it up now but it was yet another tiresome “don’t even go there” sort of piece. The Jews are untouchable for political critique and humour. The Kazakhs or anyone else however, they’re fair game.”

    A guy who helps Sacha Baron Cohen lampoon various national and ethnic groups was complaining about jokes about Jews. I was saying that he is that “Jews are untouchable for political critique and humour”. The rest appears to revolve around comments that appeared on my blog before I learned how to moderate and screen and he accuses me of approving of things I don’t approve of.

    I believe that states should be democratic and secular and I believe that states should be for all of their people, like the USA or the UK.

    Now if all you are going to do from now on is smear me I think that’s very rude to the owners of the site so please desist now. You can insult me by email or on other blogs that do smears as a rule but this seems like a more respectable affair so go to Engage or Harrys Place or Paul Bogdanor’s site. Or start your own blogs. It’s easy peasy, even I’ve got one.

    But back to the topic, please both of you, read the play – 7 Jewish children: a play for Gaza – and then say what it is you think amounts to demonisation. Enough “about” me guys. You know I’m not a liar or any kind of racist. The state the two of you are jumping through hoops to defend is the last of the colonial settler states. Its existence is predicated on its human rights abuses and it seems to see extreme violence as an end in itself.

    So, enough of the smear tactics already! and go read the play or go see it if it hasn’t been banned in your area.

  75. He said he wouldn’t be back, yet here heeeeeeeeeee is agaiiiiiiiiiiin.

    You can’t keep your word on anything, can you?

    “Now if all you are going to do from now on is smear me I think that’s very rude to the owners of the site so please desist now.”

    No one is smearing you. You smear yourself everytime you open you mouth or use a keyboard.

  76. Here is an example of the way, Mark Elf argues.

    At one point in our discussion he had said:

    “If Israel’s so good, why the lies?”

    But no one had said anything about Israel until that point.

    I was thinking about that when I relaized that he isn’t really arguing against me or against any person he is merely posting set phrases.

    He is lilke one of those insane people in public places who walk around muttering to themselves.

    Go through each of his boring long screed and you will find the same phrases repeated over and over again aboout Israel, about Zionists, about Palestinians.

    The man is demented.

  77. Here is the plays’ ending:

    “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 their 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 sorry for them,
    tell her I’m not 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 we won’t stop killing them till we’re safe, 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.
    Don’t tell her that.
    Tell her we love her.
    Don’t frighten her.”

    Nothing about firing of rockets into Israel. Nothing about suicide bombers killing Jewish and other civilians in Israel. Nothing about the Hamas charter which quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Nothing about their view that Jews are responsible for all the evils in the world and that the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax.

    This is what Churchill’s play is about. A one sided play of an antisemite who along with Galloway takes the side of Hamas.

  78. Her play is not that different from this one except that it’s more dishonest:

    “Theatre in Gaza
    Excerpts from a drama show presented at the Gaza Islamic University, during a festival commemorating Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin. The show aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 3, 2009:

    Jewish father: We Jews hate the Muslims. We love killing Muslims. We Jews love drinking the blood of Muslims and the blood of Arabs. Are you Arabs? Are you Muslims? I hate you. Yes, I hate you. I hate you in order to please God. In order to please God… In order to please God…

    Shimon, his son: Dad, I don’t know how God could possibly be pleased with you when you stink so much. You haven’t taken a shower for two years, yet you talk about pleasing God.

    Father: In order to please God…

    Shimon, my son, I’d like to teach you something. You must hate the Muslims.

    Shimon: Of course I hate them.

    Father: You must drink from the blood of Muslims.

    Shimon: But mix it with soda water.”

    http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2009/04/gaza-theatre.html

    You may also want to read from the Hamas charter as a preamble to the play.

  79. Churchill’s own defense of the play is as fantastic adn short sighted as the play itself:

    “My play, Seven Jewish Children, to which Howard Jacobson referred, shows the difficulty of explaining violence to children. In the early scenes, it is violence against Jewish people; by the end, it is the violence in Gaza. ”

    This is from her letter to Howards Jacobson whose insightful description of antisemitism among the upper and intellectuals classes in Great Britain has maddened lots of antisemites.

    Her claim that the play is about the “difficulty of describing violence to children” is a lie since it is not children in general. Her play is about one set of children Jewish children. There is no attempt to talk about say Rwandan or Kurdish children and especially not Palestinian children which is odd since the play deals with Gaza.

    When interlocutors are mendacious then it’s impossible to have conversation with them. Churchill’s response in her letter shows why it is a waste of time talking to her about her play.