The Joke is Always in Motion

Morgan Bassichis Stages Anti-Zionism

By Yasmin El-Rifae

Photographs Ángel Añazco

A person sitting in front of a keyboard wearing an orange and pink shirt with both their arms raised theatrically and looking down

“It’s BASSICHIS like MASOCHIST,” they raised their voice loud enough for me to hear. Morgan Bassichis and I were standing to the side of the stage at the Troxy, a 1930s art deco theater in East London. Bassichis was about to go on in front of nearly 2,000 people. I was MCing and wavered over how to pronounce their last name.

The event, called How Empires End, was organized by the Palestine Festival of Literature last December. Bassichis was on after Yara Eid, a journalist from Gaza who spoke about her family and friends who have been killed by Israel and about losing faith in international systems and institutions before rallying the audience into bellowing FREE, FREE PALESTINE. Others in the line-up included Paapa Essiedu, Kamila Shamsie, and Mohammed el-Kurd.

Bassichis began with “I am so honored to be here tonight as one of hundreds of thousands of anti-Zionist Jews” — HUGE applause — “who proudly join the millions of people around the world rising up in solidarity with the people of Gaza, and in solidarity with Palestinians everywhere struggling for freedom.”

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