WHO WE ARE
Some of us are of Arab descent, some are Jewish. Some neither. Some of us write anonymously, some are named. Some of us have been produced on Broadway, others are just beginning our careers. We are straight, we are queer, we are everything in between; we are Americans, we are Palestinians, we are Israelis, we are citizens of the world.
What we are not is: anti-Semitic, anti-Arab, Anti-Muslim, anti-anything (except anti-racist and anti-war).
Among our ranks are post-Zionists and anti-Zionists, Palestinian Nationalists, Two-Staters, and One-Staters. None of these are outside the realm of our discourse. All of us want nothing less than a sustainable and just peace in Palestine/Israel. And good theatre!
Within the diversity of our ideas about what is to be done, we all believe this: there is dignity and worth in each human life, and whatever solution that is created in Israel/Palestine needs to respect the human rights of all people between the river and the sea.
Because theatre is speech and speech in the U.S. (and elsewhere) on the subject of Israel, Palestine and Zionism is radically constrained by censorship in mainstream media, universities, and the government.
Because theatre is fast, theatre is cheap and theatre is always now.
Because plays can create a space and a context where conversations can be started, taboos can be broken, and action can be taken.
Because theatre lets facts spring from the page to life, to become both accessible and unavoidable, to go from being a record of past injustices to a current, living, breathing demand for change.
Because theatre of protest has a proud heritage – from the Living Newspapers of the 30s, to the Bread and Puppet Theatre of the 60s, ACT UP in the 80s, and countless others, including The Every 28 Hours Plays Project. Radical plays have transformed theatres, sidewalks and campuses into sites of engagement for decades, and Break the Wall aims to continue that tradition.
Because theatre is nonviolent and revolutionary. Not only does theatre have the power to bear moral witness, recover the past and imagine futures, it is also cooler than rockets, planes and guns.
Perhaps the most common strategy for dealing with dissent on this issue is to change the subject. Some supporters of the status quo in Israel/Palestine say there are any number of other issues that could use the passion and dedication we feel towards this issue… so why don’t we focus on them?
We focus on Israel/Palestine because the U.S. and its taxpayers bankroll Israel's abuses of international and human rights law (to the tune of billions of dollars and tons of weaponry) and provide diplomatic cover at the UN and elsewhere. In short, the U.S. is unwilling to deal justly with this issue, so we have to intervene any way we can.
We focus on Israel/Palestine because Israel has one of the longest military occupations in the world today and one of the oldest refugee problems, created as a direct result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 which continues to this day.
We focus on Israel/Palestine because Israel discriminates against the 1.4 million plus Palestinian citizens of Israel, the "permanent residents" of Jerusalem, and rules over millions in the territories with no vote over their future...yet proclaims itself a "democracy".
We focus on Israel/Palestine because Palestinians for nearly 70 years have been a stateless people denied self-determination and freedom. We believe that this is not the way to get to two states or one state living in peace. The fact is, today there is only one state between the (Jordan) river and the (Mediterranean) sea, and that is Israel. It controls borders, airspace, water, resources, etc.
We focus on Israel/Palestine because we believe the discriminatory policies of its colonial-settler ethnocracy does not make anybody safer.
We focus on Israel/Palestine because whether we are favor a one-state or two-state solution, we all insist that apartheid, occupation, and discrimination are never the solution. We stand with the growing number of people around the world who believe that Israel’s policies are not only bad for Palestinians, but for Israelis, Jews and the U.S. And since the American Government has proven incapable of brokering a just peace, it is up to us citizens to do the hard work of changing hearts and minds on the ground. Not through violence or bigotry, but through the hard work of making art.