Churchill defends ‘anti-Semitic’ play
Saturday 21 February 2009
Caryl Churchill has defended herself against accusations of anti-Semitism after her play Seven Jewish Children caused uproar among Jews.
The play, on stage at the Royal Court Theatre, is billed as a 10-minute history of Israel. Through seven scenes – from the Holocaust to the Gaza bombing – adults debate how much a child should be told of events.
It drew criticism from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and from the author and Independent columnist Howard Jacobson. Mark Frazier, a Board of Deputies spokesman, said the play went beyond the boundaries of reasonable political discourse: “We knew the play was going to be horrifically anti-Israel because Caryl Churchill is a patron of the PSC [Palestine Solidarity Campaign].”
In The Independent, Jacobson said the work was anti-Semitic because it suggested the Middle East conflict was brewed up in the minds of Jews, depicting them as glorying in their separateness and superiority and revelling in child murder.
Churchill responded in a letter to The Independent today: “Howard Jacobson 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 … But we should be able to disagree without accusations of anti-Semitism.”
The play was about the difficulties of explaining violence to children. Its length meant favourable and unfavourable information about Israel had been omitted, she said. “Jacobson seems to see the play from a very particular perspective so that everything is twisted … I don’t recognise the play from [his] description.”
Arts & Ents blogs
Dennis Hopper's lost sixties photo album found
Top Gear makes Saudis look liberal, Kirsty Wark tells Independent Bath Literature Festival
Ruin Lust at Tate Britain, art review
Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Jenny Collier row: Comedy promoter apologises after dropping female comic 'because venue did not want too many women on the bill'
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Exclusive: UK banks in row over Yulia Tymoshenko 'millions'