I remember reading Socialist Organiser (which became Workers’ Liberty) on Perdition at the time. It wasn’t long after Socialist Organiser had dropped their position of a single state as the solution to the Palestine / Israel conflict, changing to a 2 states position. At the time this was a brave decision for a Trotskyist organisation to take in the U.K., with only The Militant Tendency refusing to support the destruction of Israel. Those of us involved in Engage were at the time students and remember how Socialist Organiser was the only group on the left to support Jewish students when they came under attack at NUS Conferences. This led to the SWP refusing to continue publishing Socialist Organiser’s newspaper and Socialist Organiser suffered a fair amount of abuse for their principled opposition to anti-semitism and to absolute anti-zionism.
From Worker’s Liberty
In early 1987 there was a public controversy about “Perdition”, a play by Jim Allen, a radical writer with a Trotskyist background, which was scheduled to be directed by Ken Loach at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Critics claimed that the play, representing Zionists as collaborating with the Nazis in the massacre of Jews in Hungary, was anti-Jewish, and designed primarily to “delegitimise” Israel; defenders argued that it was being banned for highlighting awkward truths.
The Royal Court cancelled the production at a late stage. Later, the play, in an amended version, was published, and in 1999 it was performed at the Gate Theatre in London.
- Sean Matgamna’s critique of “Perdition” in Workers’ Liberty 6, arguing against the cancellation under pressure but contending that the play was indeed anti-Jewish
- Tony Greenstein’s first polemic
- Sean Matgamna’s first reply
- Tony Greenstein’s second polemic
- Sean Matgamna’s second reply