The saga over the play Seven Jewish Children again highlights the poor quality of debate on issues of anti-Semitism and the Middle East. After several days of intensive media scrutiny, and the usual acrimony between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups, I am still unclear about the content of the play and the reason it is criticised.
In part, this may represent a failure of the detractors to adequately make their case. I understand that anti-Semitism can manifest in subtle and insidious forms that must be confronted and condemned.
However, groups such as the Australian Union of Jewish Students do themselves and the Jewish community a disservice by failing to properly unpack the issues. It is clear that activists on both sides are happy to revert to dumb symbolic acts of partisanship, waving Israeli flags and Palestinian headscarves in each other’s faces, rather than putting their case to the public.
In this intellectual vacuum, everyone gets to huff and puff, media proprietors make a killing, and no one learns a thing.
Eli Court, Richmond