Friday, October 14, 2005

A man of few words, most of them anti-American and anti-Israel

The Nobel prize for Literature has gone to another Jew -- the British playwright Harold Pinter. Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov. But before anyone brings out the (kosher) champagne, note that, brilliant dramatist though he may be, his politics leave a lot to be desired. My father-in-law Chaim Bermant, alav hashalom, said many years ago that "Harold Pinter is a man of few words, most of them silly." Unfortunately, in the last few years, he's been rather more vocal, and most of his words have been stridently anti-American and anti-Israel (which may explain quite a lot about why he got the prize). Amongst his pearls of wisdom:

  • ‘The USA is intent on controlling the world and the world’s resources.’
  • ‘Bush is on a par with Saddam.’
  • '"Mordechai Vanunu is a man of immense courage and dignity. His sadistic treatment by the Israeli government is a disgrace, an outrage to what is left of civilised values in this world. '
  • 'The atrocity in New York was predictable and inevitable. It was an act of retaliation against constant and systematic manifestations of state terrorism on the part of the United States over many years, in all parts of the world.'
  • "Israel has these [nuclear] weapons and has used them."
  • This poem.
He came from a working class Jewish background and was part of the post-war school of British dramatists and writers known as the 'angry young men,' who wrote about British working class life, in a socially realistic setting, earning them the additional title of 'kitchen-sink' dramatists (although Pinter's working class loyalties did not prevent him from marrying writer/biographer Lady Antonia Fraser). Unlike Arnold Wesker and Bernard Kopps, who drew heavily on their east-end and Hackney Jewish backgrounds, Pinter's Jewish content was marginal if at all. He has been, however, active in several anti-war and nuclear disarmament movements, and according to early press reports, he intends making a heavily political statement at his Nobel award ceremony. So watch this space...

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