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Where are the pro-Israel plays? More important, where are British plays which treat this conflict in an even-handed way or which create interesting Israeli characters?

This month’s other play about Israel is Oslo, at the National Theatre, on the talks that led to the Oslo agreements in the 1990s. It is by an American playwright, J.T. Rogers, and is transferring from Broadway. It was hailed by the New York Times for featuring “a vast cast of characters, of widely varied temperaments and ideological stripes”. It is inconceivable that it would have been commissioned by a British theatre or written by a well-known British playwright. Why? Because the cultural Left has been consistently critical of Israel for more than 30 years, singling it out for unique opprobrium. 

The other contrast is with television drama. In recent years there have been acclaimed drama series about the Middle East, above all, Homeland and Hugo Blick’s The Honourable Woman, where the emphasis has been on complexity and ambiguity, with unforgettable Israeli and Arab characters. Why have even-handed TV dramas on Israel been possible, when British theatre can only produce shrill agitprop? The answer, sadly, is that British theatres think it is better to be self-righteous than carefully to explore both sides of complex conflicts.

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