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Gilad Atzmon - Seven Hasbara Tricks
Thursday, 21 May 2009 08:58
by Gilad Atzmon

"For me racism is categorically wrong and it is that very realisation that made me into a devoted opponent of Israel and of Zionism. Anyhow, in case you in find an idea or a thought in my writings that may contain a trace of racism please contact me immediately. I will then either clarify my position or amend my text."

Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963, Israel) is an Israeli-born British jazz musician, and is known as an author and activist who is critical of both Zionism and Judaism.His album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003, and he has been described as "one of London's finest saxophonists".[4] Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz". His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East. He has also written two novels, which have been translated into over 20 languages.

I went to see ‘Seven Other Children’, the clumsy production that was set to counter Caryl Churchill’s highly praised ‘Seven Jewish Children’. According to the Jewish press, The seven-minute play was written by a “Goy” named Richard Stirling, who was devastated by the ‘unfair’ and ‘unbalanced’ representation of Churchill’s play. In practice, Stirling created a ‘counter-production’, a one-sided pro-Zionist seven minutes that desperately aims at portraying the Palestinians in a bad light. Yet, unlike Churchill’s thought-provoking phenomenal text, Stirling lacks the talent, the spirit or the depth. Unlike Churchill, who has managed to magically and profoundly elaborate on some very deep layers within the Jewish identity discourse, Stirling is stuck in a banal adaptation of Churchill’s transition of a victimhood/aggression binary into a Palestinian theatrical reality.

Imitating Churchill’s innovative template, Stirling’s Seven Other Children is a brief movement of scenes: it departs in 1948’s Nakba, Israeli brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestine of its indigenous population and it lands eventually in the current Palestinian reality which Sterling foolishly portrays as an ‘indoctrination to hatred’. Following Churchill’s template, the message is delivered in short sentences of adults talking to an imaginary Palestinian child. In practice, Churchill’s plot made of short segments of “Tell her… Don’t tell her that…” is replaced by Stirling into “Ask him… Don’t ask him that…”

There is not much to write about the play, for bad art doesn’t deserve attention. Seemingly, even the Zionist press was confused by its lameness and failed to write much. However, we can regard the play as a further glimpse into tribal ideology and practice. We can learn about the precepts that set the production into an inevitable theatrical failure.

As I explored in a previous paper, Churchill who originated the given theatrical format by locating a young female child at the receiving end of the Israeli metamorphosis from victimhood into collective brutality. Stirling, on the other hand has chosen to set a male child at the receiving end of his play. The difference is rather clear. While Churchill’s representation of the ‘Jewish narrative’ within an effeminate framework is something that may bring to mind a similar equation made by the misogynist philosopher Otto Weininger 100 years ago, for Stirling, the Palestinian identity is represented by a young masculine voice. As much as Churchill’s Jew is submerged with a phantasmic imagery of victimhood, Stirling’s Palestinian boy is an assertive character.

He is just about to become a warrior. May I suggest at this stage that considering the IDF failures in every one of its military campaigns in recent years, and bearing in mind the Israeli Hasbara spreading images of sobbing, traumatized Jews in Sderot, Churchill’s choice to portray the Jew as a female child makes some sense. Yet, we better also remember that the reality on the ground doesn’t leave much room for doubt. It is actually the Israelis who spread death en masse around them. It is actually the Israelis who drop WMDs on civilians.

It is the Israelis who are following a racist national murderous philosophy. It is the Palestinians who are practically seeing their towns and villages being transformed into concentration camps by the Jewish state. Incorporating Churchill and Stirling into a unified reality would leave us with a clear image of a beastly neurotic girl who locks the naive confused boy in a cellar and throws away the key. Thinking about it for a second longer reveals the devastating truth. This is not just a remote theatrical reality, this is actually the true reality of the Jewish state and its brutality. However, in reality, the boy is slowly but surely growing out of his naivety. He is now determined to liberate himself against all odds. And he will.

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It is also important to mention that Stirling’s attempt to set the Palestinian narrative as a transition from Victimhood into aggression is not only unimaginative, it is wrong, it is misleading and probably the outcome of some banal Ziocentric projection.

Unlike Jews who keep maintaining their historic suffering institutionally and juridically, Palestinians hardly present themselves as victims. Similarly, the aggression manifested by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people and approved by their institutional supporters cannot be translated into Palestinian reality or Palestinian identity discourse. Palestinians are fighting for their liberation, they legitimately struggle for freedom. By no means freedom fighting can be realised as aggression unless one is a Zionist, a Sabbath Goy or both.

This is enough to establish the fact that the premise of the play was rather frail. However, a few issues to do with the play and the motivation behind it should be raised. The Jewish lobbies and blogs that promote the play insist that Churchill failed to even-handedly represent the conflict. This argument is ludicrous on the verge of pathetic. Since when do artists have to be impartial? Since when does an artist have to present a balanced outlook? Artists are committed to beauty. They are obviously capable of passing a message through beauty. Do we impose a demand of impartiality on Shakespeare or Picasso? But we can take it further, did the Jewish activists who are so devastated by Churchill’s play protested against Spielberg’s for his ‘one sided’ presentation of the political and social conditions in ‘Schindler List’? Clearly, the film failed to bring to light the voice of the Nazis. Obviously, no reasonable being would pose such a demand. However, like in the case of the fight against racism, Jewish ethnic activism falls into the same trap. The Jewish activist is not against racism in general, he is solely against anti-Jewish racism. Similarly, Jewish tribal activists are not trying to promote here a new scheme for ‘balanced reporting in the arts’. Instead, they just insist that Jews look better in a given play.

Apparently, UK Zionist lobbies are now putting some enormous pressure on every theatre that gives stage to Churchill’s play, demanding that their current most beloved Goyish play should be staged alongside it, regardless of its quality or lack thereof. I assume that since I myself play every night and each of my gigs are rallies for Palestine, it won’t be long before the same tribal lobbies will sponsor a Jazz act that would counter mine. They may even teach the lucky saxophonist to play my music back to front.

On the face of it, one thing is rather evident. Years ago, London’s prime stages were reserved for Zionist hasbara projects. The Palestinian cause would be celebrated in some alternative theatres, community centres and churches. This has been officially changed. Churchill’s play was performed at the Royal Court Theatre and successfully attracted the attention of the entire British media. Sterling’s Zionist pastiche is humiliatingly stuck in a tiny theatre in Hampstead. It is performed mainly to a Jewish audience. It would be right to claim that the Palestinian discourse is now successfully claiming the big stage while the Zionist seems to be trailing behind.

In the play Stirling keeps asking the Palestinian boy:

… Why we have no friends… “ask him to name one friend”.

But then at the final scene, the one that reflects on Gaza 2009, Sterling himself realises that the Palestinians now have very many friends:

“Ask him if he knows about our friends

Ask him if he knows they have no friends

Ask him if he knows about our friends in Europe”

Clearly, Caryl Churchill and the Royal Court Theatre are just two of the very many Palestinian friends.

Stirling is not alone either, he has now at least seven Zionist bloggers who claim to be his friends. The notorious Israeli smear campaigner David Hirsh promotes him, the Ziocon cyber noticeboard Harry’s Place gives him space, another Jewish blog named OyVaGoy threatens to libidinally explode. With such good friends, Stirling will realise soon that by the time his Kosher associates finish assaulting every theatre in this country, he may have to consider a career change. Watching his play and seeing what Stirling is capable of, it is not exactly a big loss for British Theatre.

However, someone may want to remind Stirling that a brave historical scrutiny of the Jewish reality of the 20th century will reveal the devastating fact that the Zionist project never had real friends. Indeed, it had power, it has influence, it still has a lot of power. But power and friendship are remote categories.

In the play, the final words addressed to the child are there to leave the Jewish audience devastated.

“Ask him if Hitler had the wrong idea”

As if the Palestinians are motivated by racial hatred against Jews, as if they have ever been. Someone should explain to Mr Richard Stirling that as things stand, it is actually the Jewish state that practices racist laws against Palestinians and others. It is the Jewish state that locks millions of people behind barbed wire. It is the Jewish state that squashes neighbourhoods on its habitants. It is the Jewish state that follows Hitler’s doctrine systematically. They somehow must truly believe that the mustachio-ed man had the right idea.

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