2006-08-16 06:46:53 UTC
JOKES about Jews and the Holocaust have become increasingly common at the
Edinburgh Fringe as comedians tackle one of the last taboos.
Some think that controversy over Israeli attacks on Lebanon have made Jewish
history and beliefs worthy topics for stand-up routines. But one comedian
has apologised after his outburst offended Jewish comedians and audience
Steve Hughes, an Australian stand-up, told The Times that he regretted
describing Richard Perle, an advisor to President George Bush, as "that
f***ing Jew Richard Perle". The comment, in his show The Storm, offended
audience members including Jamie Glassman, a Jewish comedy writer.
Glassman writes in today's Times that he was shocked by Hughes's material
and the response of the crowd. When Hughes suggested that children should be
taught to play Nazis and Jews instead of cowboys and indians, an audience
member shouted: "Throw them in the oven."
Hughes said that he was asking why Jews should have more protection than
others. "There is racism and there is anti-Semitism. There doesn't seem to
be a name for other racism. They're not the only people to be in a
Alex Goldberg, the community issues director for the Board of Deputies of
British Jews, said that he was astonished. "For him to negate the Holocaust
seems to be counter to what he wants to achieve," he said.
Doug Stanhope, an American, devotes much of his show to why he hates people
who define themselves by religion or nationality. He said: "You can hate
[the Jews] for the same reason you hate the KKK [Ku Klux Klan]. They believe
they're the chosen people."
The Board of Deputies rejected Stanhope's attempts to justify anti-Semitism.
"Those who have tried to justify race hate have always come up with a
reason. It is unjustifiable."
Simon Brodkin, a Jewish comedian, said that he discussed anti-Semitism with
Hughes. He said: "I would argue that [Hughes's suggestion that Jews are
oversensitive about racism] is rung one on the ladder to anti-Semitism."
Times "comment" here;
"There is only one start you can make, and that is a start toward being
England. A refusal to be a province of Israel, or an outpost of