[Marxism] Brecht in the West Bank

David Thorstad binesi at gvtel.com
Thu Aug 26 12:27:24 MDT 2010

There's something not only ironic, but even obscene, about playing 
Brecht in occupied territory, but then again, it's no more obscene than 
playing him in Tel Aviv, since, as the article notes, all of Israeli 
society is implicated in the occupation.
>   Brecht in the West Bank: Israel’s major theaters going to the
>   settlements <http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=3385>
> *Posted:* August 25th, 2010 - http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=3385
> The first major theater hall in a West Bank settlement will open on 
> November 8th. The Ariel Culture Hall, located in the settlement of 
> Ariel (south of Nablus) will host major productions of leading Israeli 
> theaters, including Habima 
> <http://www.habima.co.il/show_item.asp?levelId=64318&itemType=0>, 
> Israel’s national theater, and Tel Aviv’s city theater, The Cameri 
> <http://www.cameri.co.il/index.php?page_id=1&lang_action=change_lang&to_lang=en>.
> According to Haaretz 
> <http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/major-theaters-raise-curtain-across-green-line-1.310040>, 
> The Ariel Culture Hall will have 540 seats, and 40 million NIS (11 
> million USD) were spent on its construction. The Hall will open with 
> the Israeli adaptation of Piaf, a play by British Pem Gems on the life 
> of the famous singer, performed by the Beersheba theatre. Later this 
> year, Ariel will host Tel Aviv’s Cameri theatre’s Caucasian Chalk 
> Circle by Bertolt Brecht
> Some Israelis noticed a cruel irony in hosting a play dealing with 
> concept of justice and fair trial in a place where the majority of the 
> population have no rights, and is tried in military courts, without 
> due process 
> <http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3490698,00.html>. 
> Arab-Israeli actor Yousef Sweid, who plays in “A railroad to 
> Damascus”, also scheduled to show in Ariel, told Haaretz that “I’m 
> opposed to it, but this is the first I heard about it and I’d like to 
> investigate the matter further.”
> Israeli journalist and blogger Ofri Ilani wrote in the leftwing group 
> blog Eretz Haemori <http://haemori.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/brecht/> 
> that this marks a new record in the whitewashing of the occupation’s 
> crimes:
>     To what level of ridicule will the heads of the culture scene
>     degrade (…) we had murders who talk about spiritualism, Arms
>     dealers who play the piano and Military radio stations that play
>     protest songs (…) but to recruit Brecht to legitimize the colonial
>     project of [Ariel's mayor] Ron Nachman?
> But those voices are an exception. Most Israelis are blind to the 
> occupation, and Ariel – which sits literally in the heart of the West 
> bank – is by now an ordinary Israeli town, with a secular population, 
> not that different from the Israelis living in Tel Aviv’s suburbs. The 
> entire idea that one can separate “good” Israel west of the Green Line 
> from “bad” Israel lying to its east is ridiculous. Every aspect of 
> Israeli civilian life, from the economy through real estate to 
> culture, has something to do with the occupation.
> It seems that the heads of the major theaters in Israel were even 
> surprised somebody made a deal out of their recent bookings. A Habima 
> spokeswoman told Haaretz: “Habima is a national theater, and its 
> repertoire is supposed to suit the entire population.” Chairman of 
> Jerusalem’s Chan theater said that “Everybody is invited to watch the 
> shows. We don’t take side in the political question.”
> Bertolt Brecht, I think, would have loved this last one.

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