An entertaining way to mark the 55th anniversary of the Six-Day War

A not-very-serious two-act play to mark the 55th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which falls in a week or so….

Dramatis Personae:

Farid                                        Senior Arab Leader #1

Ali                                            Senior Arab Leader #2

Vassily                                     Russian military adviser

Hashem                                   Palestinian councillor in Nablus

SCENE 1

APRIL 1967

Bustling café in Kuneitra, a Syrian town on the Golan Heights. Ali, Farid, Vassily and Hashem are seated around a table drinking coffee and smoking.

FARID: You know these damned Jews are planting their crops right under our noses in the northern Galilee

HASHEM (puzzled): But isn’t the northern Galilee part of Israel?

Ali, Farid and Vassily scowl at him

HASHEM: Sorry, sorry, isn’t the northern Galilee part of the Zionist entity… and therefore planting of crops is allowed?

The three again scowl at him

FARID: We don’t want them anywhere. And they just ignore the bullets and missiles…

HASHEM: What bullets and missiles?

FARID: The ones we rain down on them from this elevated plateau, the Golan Heights. Last week I watched as one of our brave soldiers slayed three of the Zionist enemy with no return fire from these cowards

HASHEM: Wow, that’s pretty impressive. They killed three soldiers and took no casualties.

FARID: Not soldiers, stupid. He killed three Zionist whores daring to pick carrots in sight of Syrian guns. But every dead Zionist is a contribution to victory and to our ultimate goal, right?…

HASHEM: And what is our ultimate goal?

They again scowl at him

ALI: Well, to get rid of the Jews altogether from this region, of course

HASHEM: But don’t they have a right to be here. Just as we do?

They scowl menacingly at him

ALI: You’ve been reading the Zionist press again…

HASHEM: No, I’ve read history books. Jews lived here continuously from Biblical times. They were captured by invading armies or dispersed, but Jerusalem was always their holiest place. And they only have a small part… we Muslims have East Jerusalem; we  have the whole Gaza strip and the whole west bank of the Jordan… And, we  have Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the UAE…

ALI (angrily): A small part. A small part. You call their third of this land a small part? However small it is – and, yes, we have East Jerusalem with their temple and holy sites and they’re not allowed to enter, or those brave Arab League soldiers will shoot them dead PDQ if  they try (chuckles). But however small it is, we don’t want Jews anywhere. Or American influences

VASSILY: Certainly we don’t want American, uh, influences…. Which, my friends, is why there is a plan.

FARID, ALI, HASHEM together: A plan?

VASSILY: Yes, there is a plan, to get rid of the Jews and their uh, American  influences once and for all. Fighter jets, state-of-the-art tanks and Soviet military advisers – sorry, Russian students – are already arriving in great numbers…

FARID: This is, indeed, exciting news… When will this plan be put into action?

VASSILY: We think around the end of May or early June. Then, my friends, you will get back the small piece of Palestine the Jews declared to be their homeland 19 years ago.

SCENE 2

THREE MONTHS LATER, JULY 1967

A bustling café in Damascus. Farid, Ali, Vassily and Hashem are seated around a table drinking coffee and smoking.

FARID (glumly): You said we’d get back the small piece of Palestine the Jews occupy. Instead, three months later, we are in Damascus drinking coffee because they captured my home-town – the Syrian town of Kuneitra where we last drank coffee together…

VASSILY: My friend, do not worry, all is good.

FARID (mockingly): All is good…  all is good. I’d remind you the Zionists also captured East Jerusalem, the whole Gaza strip, northern Sinai and the whole West Bank…

VASSILY: Farid, my friend, you think only short-term. Everything will be fine. We will win in long term…

ALI: How will everything be fine in the long term?

VASSILY: Is easy. World still sympathetic to Jews after damned Holocaust. But won’t last forever. We do best to ensure world lose sympathy. Better even than lose sympathy, we turn tables. We use Left-wing to persuade bleeding-heart liberals that Jews have no right to be in “Palestine.” We activate Palestinian nationalist movement, we tell world story of Palestinians, leaving out a few facts and some details, and use Palestinian Arabs in big marketing campaign. In jiffy, world will  condemn Zionists as  imperialists, colonialists and aggressors. Maybe if we really try – maybe spend much Saudi money – we find way to condemn Zionist state as “apartheid.” Difficult to find pretext as Arabs in Zionist Entity seem integrated and prosperous and even have seats in parliament, but I’m sure with more Palestinian Arabs under their administration, we’ll find a way to change perceptions.

ALI: You said you’d use Palestinian Arabs in a big marketing campaign? How does that work…

VASSILY: No, my friend, I not discuss details or it will sound like conspiracy theory. (Musing to self) …though that worked well for us in past using excellent ‘Protocols of Elders of Zion.’ Maybe we look at using that again…In meantime, we have United Nations and British Foreign Office on-side… Sorry, obviously, I mean you have British Foreign Office on-side. They like you Arab types; Soviet Union not so much…

ALI: But they like Soviets, too. Oh, no,  that’s the British intelligence services who like Soviet Union and Communism (slaps forehead). Sorry, I mix them up.

VASSILY: Also we have big plans to train you to use terrorism against Jews

HASHEM: But won’t that increase sympathy for Jews and decrease sympathy for Palestinians if we use terrorism?

Vassily pinches Hashem’s cheek affectionately

VASSILY: You might think so, Hashem, but no. We again use left-wingers and bleeding- heart liberals oh, and a few anti-Israel influencers, such as Michael Hirst at The Times in London and excellent loyal Labour MP Christopher Mayhew. They will readily “justify” terror on grounds of Jewish “aggression;” Jews dispossessing Palestinians, etc. And when terror is bad and the Jews defend their citizens – as they surely will because they value lives…

HASHEM (interrupting): …shouldn’t we value lives, too.

Vassily again pinches Hashem’s cheek, a little less affectionately

VASSILY: Don’t interrupt me Hashem. We, of course, value lives, but if a few Palestinian Arabs die or blow themselves up, they will be revered as martyrs and their families will benefit from the special bonuses they’ll be paid through schemes we’ll help to set up…Now, what was I saying? Ah yes, when the Jews put in place measures to prevent these terrorist attacks, these measure will easily be portrayed as  harassment and as infringement of human rights, and will ultimately aid our cause.

ALI: But people are not stupid. They will not believe that the Jews are being aggressive if they are defending themselves against terror attacks

VASSILY: Nyet. Or rather, Da. People are stupid. Or not so much stupid – though many are stupid and gullible – but have short memories. If enough people say over and over Jews are aggressive and harassing poor, innocent Palestinians, people forget original reasons for measures – if they ever knew them. They will just see that Jews appear to be harassing ‘poor, dispossessed Palestinians.’ Also, we have on our side antisemitism…

FARID: I don’t understand. Didn’t Nazis and Nuremberg Trials put an end to antisemitism

VASSILY: (chuckling) Don’t be silly, Farid. Remember Farid, Ali, Hashem, that antisemitism doesn’t go away. It was a valuable weapon in the Soviet Union and before that, in Russia. Also in Poland, Austria, obvs, Germany. In fact, any time you want to find a minority to blame for war, disease, poverty, whatever, blame the Jews – all over Europe, America, South America… And thanks to the Church, that won’t stop soon.

HASHEM: I thought Christians stopped blaming  Jews for killing of Christ

VASSILY: (chuckling) Yes, stopped officially, but is too deep in Christian doctrine and culture… Scratch the surface of most civilised people –  never mind (laughing) uncivilised ones – and you find little bit of antisemitism, maybe a lot of antisemitism. So, if we want to “justify” terrorism against Israel, we feed antisemitic stereotypes; portray Jews as land-grabbers, aggressors, merciless killers, evil conspirators. Easy-peasy. We – that is Soviet Union and Arabs together – we get ball rolling. Left-wingers, academics, students, media, join in, and in no time whole world is hating Israel… As I say, no worries. All good. All fine in long term…

FIN

About the Author
Jan Shure held senior editorial roles at the Jewish Chronicle for three decades. and previously served as deputy editor of the Jewish Observer. She is an author and freelance writer and wrote regularly for the Huffington Post until 2018. In 2012 she took a break from journalism to be a web entrepreneur.
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