Anti-Semitic? Controversy Over Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children Continues


Debate continues to rage in the British press as to whether or not Caryl Churchill’s new playlet Seven Jewish Children is anti-Semitic or not. The 10-minute piece, which was written is response to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, just concluded its run at London’s Royal Court, where it was met with a range of sometimes impassioned responses.

Writing today in The Guardian, Jacqueline Rose defends the play as “precise and focused in its criticisms of Israeli policies” and not racist. She’s replying to a host of detractors such as Howard Jacobson, who, writing in The Independent last week, called the piece “wantonly inflammatory” and “Jew-hating pure and simple.” Michael Billington, the Guardian‘s longtime theater critic, took a favorable view of the piece in his four-star review, arguing that “what [Churchill] captures, in remarkably condensed poetic form, is the transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter.” The New York Times recently reported that New York Theatre Workshop was possibly looking at mounting the play here in town, where it would no doubt create a local brouhaha. So is Seven Jewish Children anti-Semitic? Check out the script and offer your own opinion.

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