Palestinians and Israelis have one indisputable thing in common: they are all Semites.
Featuring recently gathered testimonies from Palestinians and Israelis, Semites, directed by Daniel Goldman (Thebes Land, You’re not like the Other Girls Chrissy) explores the challenges of living an ordinary life under extraordinary circumstances, of having dialogue with the other, of loss and hope, of staying alive. In a world of echo chambers, fake news and fear, we invite you to leave your preconceptions at the door, and open your eyes, ears and heart.
Semites is the culmination of three years of research and interviews on location in Israel and Palestine. Interviewees included students, farmers, yoga practitioners, lawyers, engineers, journalists, peace activists, settlers and combatants. Creator Ben Nathan heard stories from those who are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, secular, orthodox, settler, ideological, military and political, on both sides of the Green Line. Using family and friends in the region, and his familiarity with life on the ground, Ben gained the commitment and trust of these individuals, groups and organisations.
Ben Nathan comments, Using their words, verbatim, I want to encourage intelligent discourse on the subject. This rarely happens because of our often linear and simplistic view of the conflict. By presenting genuine, human experiences from those living this story, I want to challenge polarised perspectives and encourage audiences to reflect and re- examine what they thought they knew. I also want to explore and challenge how much we can trust a verbatim expression, how messages are transmitted and received.
The production is supported by Bristol-based Muslim-Jewish dialogue charity, Salaam Shalom, and funded by Arts Council England.