Playwright Caryl Churchill during a rehearsal, 2014
The Royal Court Theater is putting on a play that skewers the left’s anti-Semitism. Controversial playwright and BDS supporter Caryl Churchill is outraged. But the performance is correct.
Dhe number of migrants who have managed to get to England in rubber dinghies in just the past few days has once again shown the British how narrow the Strait of Dover is. However, when it comes to the perception of cultural-political debates on the European mainland, the English Channel has a wider effect than any ocean. In any case, the news of Caryl Churchill’s withdrawal of the “European Playwrights Prize” has not yet reached the British media because of her affinity with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This is all the more surprising given that the prominent playwright recently found herself in the crossfire again in her homeland because of her polemic “Seven Jewish Children”, which premiered at London’s Royal Court Theater in 2009 and which she wrote as a reaction to the death of “more than two hundred” Palestinian children at the bombing of Gaza.
At the end of September, as he had often done in connection with Israel, Churchill wrote an outraged letter to the editor of the Guardian against the left-liberal newspaper’s accusation that its play “performed, produced and staged by Jews” was anti-Semitic. Churchill complained that many of these allegations were based on the “absurd notion” that the 10-minute play reactivated the medieval blood libel legend that Jews murdered Christian children for their blood. In the letter, co-signed with Dominic Cooke – then director of the Royal Court Theater and director of the short play – she protested the outrageousness of linking the actual deaths of children to an anti-Semitic tract.