Pro-Israeli forces fail to stop Gaza play

Issue 

Friends of Palestine Western Australia performed Seven Jewish Children on November 21, after a scheduled performance was cancelled the week before due to pro-Israel pressure.

The play was written in January by Jewish British playwright Caryl Churchill in response to the massacre then taking place in Gaza. In the play, parents discuss what to tell their children about episodes from Jewish and Israeli history, including the Holocaust, the foundation of Israel, the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) and the Israeli assault on Gaza.

The play was going to be performed at Fremantle's multicultural venue Kulcha on November 14 as part of an Amnesty International youth festival. However, Amnesty cancelled the play in response to pressure from the Jewish Community Council of WA (JCCWA).

According to Perth Indymedia, Churchill said the play was about "the difficulties of explaining violence to children. In the early scenes, it is violence against Jewish people; by the end, it is the violence in Gaza."

The November 14 Fremantle Herald said Steve Lieblich from JCCWA likened the play to Nazi propaganda. He boasted about having a performance cancelled at Hale School this year.

Kulcha's management has also endorsed the censorship. A statement on Kulcha's website says: "Hosting of the play is not consistent with [Kulcha's] focus [on "reconciliation and cultural inclusivity"]."

Friends of Palestine has been at the forefront of speaking out against the censorship, saying people have a right to see the play and make up their own minds. Others to speak out include members of Women in Black, the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, federal Labor MP Melissa Parke and Socialist Alliance Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright.