All you Jews (and Palestinians and anyone else) at the Occupy Wall Street protests are hereby urged to take a break tomorrow night. That’s because you have a rare opportunity to see Palestine’s Freedom Theater perform their adaptation of Waiting for Godot, which they call While Waiting (it appears they had to change the name of the play to satisfy objections by the Beckett estate to casting women in the leading and supporting roles) at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. In the event the performance is sold out, there will also be an October 30th performance at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in a benefit for the Theater. Tony Kushner will host the event and David Byrne and other New York cultural/musical luminaries will appear.
The founder of the ensemble, Juliano Mer Khamis, was murdered outside the Theater in Jenin about six months ago in a crime that has never been solved either by Palestinian or Israeli authorities. Instead of investigating, the Israelis arrested the actor playing Pozzo in the performance and held him for a month before releasing him with no charges. They also attacked the Theater and arrested two of the key staff. This was all in some way understood, only by the IDF mind you, as an effort to solve the murder. But certainly not an attempt to harass the company. Certainly not.
You see, official Israel is deeply threatened by Israelis who act in solidarity with Palestinians. The fact that Mer-Khamis was the child of a Jewish-Palestinian marriage must also have enraged official Israel in the same way miscegenation drove Southern white supremacists around the bend in the 1960s.
The actor and director certainly enraged the radical element within the Palestinian community as well by criticizing the narrowness of gender roles in its society. Hamas and the Islamists were none too happy with him. But that only makes Juliano Mer-Khamis a more compelling figure.
New Yorkers, whatever you do–get thyself there.