David A. Bell teaches History at Johns Hopkins and is a contributing editor of The New Republic.
Too much “political” playwriting these days is painfully predictable: a textureless mash of piety, platitude and outrage. Peace Warriors, which premieres this weekend at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, and will move to New York next month, is a welcome exception. Written by the Israeli-American historian and playwright Doron Ben-Atar, it is a savagely witty satire of elite American academics, and their attitudes towards the Middle East. Ben-Atar, a former basketball player for Maccabi Tel Aviv who teaches early American history at Fordham, considers himself on the left within the Israeli political spectrum. But he has long lost patience with the unthinking anti-Israeli prejudice he has found at American universities. In Peace Warriors he brilliantly exposes just how unthinking and destructive it can be. The play has already garnered considerable attention in Israel (see this story in Haaretz), but it is on the East Coast that it deserves to have its greatest impact.
--David A. Bell