Bravo to Mike Leigh, the great British film director, for canceling his plans to teach in Israel. In a letter made public last week, Leigh labeled his earlier reluctance to take a stand "cowardice." Now, he says, given everything--given Gaza, given the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, given the loyalty oath legislation--he cannot go to Israel, does not want to go, will not go.
Leigh, who is Jewish (original family name: Lieberman), is now of course taking terrible heat from the Zionist state's supporters. Those for self-determination for Palestine are relieved that he corrected his initial error. I'm of course in the latter group, as well as a great admirer of the work of this artist of the cinema, work that has been unfailingly class-conscious, so I find this welcome news.
Meanwhile, here in the States, this past Saturday Palestinian-American novelist Susan Abulhawa took the stage with rabid Zionist Alan Dershowitz at a Harvard University literary forum. Abulhawa, whose wonderful novel Mornings in Jenin I read and wrote about in early 2009, was sharp and winning while Dershowitz, pushing his new novel The Trials of Zion, was in typical racist bullying form. Bravo to Abulhawa for her guts and grit in speaking truth to power. Watch it here.