© Ali Ghandtschi

Reflexes and Reflections

7 October, the war in Gaza and the debate in Germany

4-Day Focus at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, curated by Saba-Nur Cheema and Meron Mendel

German Premiere of the play “House” by Amos Gitai / La Colline – théâtre national, Paris

13 to 16 June 2024
Tickets from 24 April 2024

The attack on Israel by Hamas on 7 October 2023 and Israel’s responding attack on the Gaza strip not only drive Palestinians and Israelis far apart, they also divide Germany. Hardened fronts have developed in both public and private debate. Many people are silent, afraid of saying something that will be seen as wrong. Others are vociferous, particularly on social media, and demand that a stand must be taken. Jewish people have experienced a new level of physical and verbal attacks while at the same time Palestinians and Muslim people are being treated with blanket suspicion. In Germany, terrorism and war are reinforcing old prejudices and creating new ones.

In four days that focus on this topic, the Berliner Festspiele wishes to create a space for nuanced reflection without adopting reflex positions on one of what is assumed to be only two possible sides. 

As an artistic contribution, a guest production will be presented from La Colline – théâtre national Paris: HOUSE, directed by the Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, based on his documentary film trilogy about a house in West Jerusalem and the people who have lived there since the 1980s. The actors and musicians, who come from France, Israel, Palestine and Iran, speak and sing in Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Yiddish, Armenian and Turkish. They expose the many layers of different memories in the Middle East conflict and through their collective polylingual stage appearance raise the question of whether reconciliation might be possible.

The theatre performances are part of interdisciplinary programme curated by Saba-Nur Cheema (political scholar who specialises in the study of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism) and Meron Mendel (historian and author). They invite Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Palestinian and German voices to assess the situation in Israel und Gaza and its effects on society in Germany, to understand the complex backgrounds and traumas on both Jewish and Palestinian sides and to ask how civil society can create the pre-conditions for peace. Participants in the panel discussions will include Eva Illouz, Yassin Musharbash, Sapir Heller, Mira Awad and Per Leo. Representatives of peace initiatives from Israel and Palestine such as Mohammad Darawshe, Director of the Givat Haviva Educational Center, and Avital Benshalom, Principal of a Jewish-Arab school in Israel, will describe their work on the ground. In addition, comedians Abdul Kader Chahin and Shahak Shapira will present a late-night show.

Funded by

Cooperation Partner