Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nothing But Trouble: Philistinism in the UK, Part I

Photograph by Richard Millet. Used with permission.

I have a new column at the newly relaunched Clyde Fitch Report entitled "Nothing But Trouble". The CFR bills itself as "the nexus of arts and politics" and "Nothing But Trouble" will be focussing on just that nexus.

My column will open with a two-part series entitled "Philistinism in the UK" which is a follow-up and expansion upon an earlier piece, "Artistic Boycotts in the UK" and focusses on the attempt of British anti-Israeli activists to prevent the Israeli State Theatre, Habima, from performing at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London as part of the 37 play Globe to Globe Festival:
Outside the theatre, one anti-Israel protestor was photographed wearing what any commedia dell’arte enthusiast might see as a Pantalone mask but to most would be seen as the stereotype of the grotesquely long-nosed Jew; somehow it seems unlikely that he was making commentary on Shakespeare’s indebtedness to the Italian comedy.

Though the most vocal protestors were kept out, Habima’s performances were repeatedly disrupted by anti-Israeli activists, who were photographed waving Palestinian flags, and unfurling banners with anti-Israeli slogans, only to be escorted out by security. Reports describe a group standing silently with their mouths covered by either tape or adhesive bandages apparently in protest of the “censorship” of the more disruptive activists. Several sources that during the trial scene in Act IV, a protester shouted “hath not a Palestinian eyes?” echoing signs seen outside the theatre as well as demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the original text (Shylock’s famous “Hath not a Jew eyes…” speech is from Act III, Scene 3.)

Read more at the The Clyde Fitch Report!

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