A Jew goes to England


Israeli actress Iris Bahr has appeared in American television shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, The King of Queens, and Friends. But she’s perhaps best known for her extraordinary one-woman show "Dai," in which she plays 11 different characters at a Tel Aviv cafe moments before a suicide bomber blows the place to smithereens. She has performed the piece at the United Nations — hardly a friendly venue for Israelis — but in a short piece yesterday in the Huffington Post, Bahr writes about her apprehension over bringing "Dai" to London. 

I’m bracing for the worst. I mean, look at what’s all the rage there these days: Caryl Churchill’s piece SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN, which is being done at the Royal Court Theatre, a piece which demonizes average Jewish parents to an extreme, once again doing the very thing that the world condemns: dehumanizing and depersonalizing an entire nation, as if every person in Israel was rejoicing in the deaths of Palestinian citizens, which could not be farther from the truth. If you are appalled by the government’s military action, focus on that. Don’t make the average Joseph the one dropping the bombs, cuz he’s just lost and doesn’t see a bright future and is starving for a solution. So help him – illuminate, enlighten with your work, don’t give him a pitchfork and spend your artistic energy inciting hatred rather than understanding.

I’m surprised at how surprised I am. I mean if certain so-called intelligent academics call for academic boycotts against their colleagues, why can’t certain artists, the ones that we rely on to explore the common human condition, to bring to light the universal commonalities of all people, to shake people out of their ignorant hebetude (Great word. Hebetude. So apt and pun filled), why can’t certain artists write pieces that engage in the very behavior and mind set it is their job to dispel. The fact that some like Churchill have such respectable bodies of work makes their engaging in these despicable behaviors all the more devastating.

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