Medium and message

A comedy show to coincide with Israel's 60th birthday will highlight the plight of the Palestinians.

The Jewish Socialists' Group will stage a comedy gig next week to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

The show will coincide with a gala celebration at Wembley to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday. Fliers and posters for the event parody the publicity material for the Wembley celebration.

Organisers have recruited Jewish comedians, writers and broadcasters who share their views to take part in the event.

Paul Collins, a member of the national committee of the Jewish Socialists' Group, says: "A comedy gig will appeal to activists who may go to public meetings or read our magazine, but also to those who want a great night out that promotes a fine cause."

Writer and broadcaster Michael Rosen and journalist Mike Marqusee will perform, as will non-Jewish comics Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Shazia Mirza and Reginald D Hunter.

Jewish comedian Ivor Dembina, who will compere the event, says: "The misery and hardship of Palestinians under the occupation gives no cause for celebration."

Many of the entertainers are already known for their views, Collins says. "All our performers favour peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians, and wanted to demonstrate their support. The 60th birthday party for Israel will ignore the Palestinians' suffering, so we're providing an alternative."

60 Years - What a State! will take place on 8 May at Hampstead Town Hall, north London.

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