THE TRIAL OF SHIRLEY BASSEY FOR THE HEINOUS CRIME
OF ANTI-SEMITISM
IN THE COURT OF WORLD OPINION:
A Play In One Act


[Scene: a large courtroom; no members of the public are present. Present only are a few police officers and court officials and the Home Affairs correspondent of the Jewish Chronicle. The prisoner is brought in and led into the dock in handcuffs and shackles. These are removed by her guards and she sits down.]

Usher: All rise.

[The Court rises and the Judges enter.]

Usher: All those having any business whatsoever concerning Regina versus Bassey pay attention. God save the Queen, and God bless the six million martyred Jews.

Prosecuting Barrister: Oyez.

The Two Judges: Oy vay.

Usher: Be seated.

[Pause.]

Usher: The prisoner in the dock will stand and pay attention.

[The prisoner rises.]

PB: Shirley Bassey, you are charged with the heinous crime of anti-Semitism, the particulars being that contrary to the Protection Of Jews Act, 2001, extended retrospectively ad infinitum, that you did, on or about 1994, somewhere, make abusive and anti-Semitic remarks concerning your Personal Assistant Miss Hilary Levy, a person of the Jewish faith or ancestry, and thereby brought into odium and contempt all such persons of the Jewish faith or ancestry, whether British citizens or not, and throughout the world and in all eras, and that by so doing you stirred up racial hatred, or intended to stir up racial hatred, or were so reckless in your pronouncements that a reasonable person might consider racial hatred liable to be stirred up against persons of the Jewish faith or ancestry whether British citizens or not and at any place and in any era. How say you, are you guilty or not guilty?

Shirley Bassey: Not guilty.

PB: Be seated.

First Judge: Miss Bassey, my name is Gerry Gable.

Second Judge: And my name is Mike Whine.

The Two Judges: Weíre Jews.

Judge Whine: Miss Bassey, do you understand the charge?

SB: Yes, Your Honour.

Judge Gable: And you are defending yourself?

SB: I have no choice; my lawyer refused to act for me.

JW: That is because under Ordinance 576 of the Protection Of Jews Act, 2001, any lawyer who defended a suspected anti-Semite would find himself blacklisted by all respectable people and in the event of his clientís conviction he would be charged with aiding and abetting anti-Semitism.

SB: But Iím not anti-Semitic, Your Honour.

JG: Silence! How dare you speak out of turn?

SB: Yes, Your Honour.

JG: I said silence!

JW: It has yet to be proved that you are not anti-Semitic, Miss Bassey.

JG: Counsel for the prosecution, are you ready?

PB: Yes, Your Honour.

JG: Then you may proceed.

PB: Miss Bassey, what is your occupation?

SB: Iím an entertainer.

PB: And how long have you been an entertainer?

SB: All my life.

PB: And did you, up until about 1994, employ Miss Hilary Levy as your personal assistant?

SB: Yes, I did.

PB: And how long had Miss Levy worked for you when you ignominiously dismissed her?

SB: I didnít ignominiously dismiss her. I...

JW: [Interrupting.] Donít get lippy, Miss Bassey. Youíre in enough trouble as it is. Just answer the question.

SB: I did dismiss her, yes.

PB: And you did, did you not, call her a Jewish bitch?

SB: No.

PB: I suggest that you slapped her and called her a dirty Jewish bitch.

SB: No, I didnít call her a dirty bitch.

PB: But you did call her a Jewish bitch?

SB: No.

PB: But you did refer to yourself as a spoilt Jewish princess?

SB: Yes, but thatís not the same thing.

JG: Why isnít it the same thing, Miss Bassey?

SB: Itís a figure of speech.

PB: A figure of speech, indeed. I suggest Miss Bassey that your use of this phrase was calculated to bring Miss Levy and Jewish women in general into odium and contempt.

SB: No.

PB: I suggest that you are a sympathiser of the British National Party.

SB: [Laughing.] Thatís ridiculous; Iím not even white.

JG: [Shouting.] Playing the race card, just like that evil old man Enoch Powell.

SB: No, Iím not playing the race card. I am not a member of the British National Party.

PB: Why did you say member?

SB: Because you said I was.

PB: No I didnít.

JG: No, he didnít. He only said you were a sympathiser.

SB: It was a slip of the tongue.

JW: Slip of the tongue, indeed.

PB: Then youíre not a member of the British National Party, Miss Bassey?

SB: Of course not; itís a proscribed organisation.

JW: If proscribed organisations didnít have members there wouldnít be any proscribed organisations. Would there?

PB: Are you saying that you would be a member of the British National Party if it were not a proscribed organisation?

SB: No, of course not.

PB: But you are a sympathiser, arenít you?

SB: No.

PB: Then why did you refer to yourself as a spoilt Jewish princess?

SB: Iíve already told you; it was a figure of speech.

PB: Why not a spoilt Nigerian princess, or a spoilt Indian princess?

SB: I donít know.

PB: According to Miss Levy, you called her a Jewish bitch. Is that correct?

SB: I told you, no.

PB: Then youíre saying sheís lying.

SB: Yes.

JG: One moment please, Miss Bassey, let me write this down.

[Pause.]

JG: Proceed.

PB: So youíre saying that Hilary Levy lied. Is that what youíre saying, Miss Bassey?

SB: Yes.

PB: Why should she lie?

SB: She has her reasons.

PB: In other words sheís a Jew and everybody knows all Jews are liars, donít they, Miss Bassey?

SB: No, I didnít say that.

PB: But youíve just accused Miss Levy of lying.

SB: She did lie.

JW: One moment please, Miss Bassey; let me write this down. The Jewess lied; I didnít call her a Jewish bitch. Is that what youíre saying, Miss Bassey: the Jewess lied?

SB: No, Your Honour.

PB: You mean that she didnít lie? But youíve just told the court she did lie.

JG: Please make your mind up, Miss Bassey. Did the Jewess lie or didnít she?

SB: I didnít say the Jewess lied; I said she lied.

PB: Are you saying that Miss Levy isnít a Jewess?

SB: No, of course not.

PB: Then youíre saying the Jewess lied. Arenít you?

SB: [Hesitating.] Yes, but...

PB: [Interrupting.] What do you mean, yes, but? Either the Jewess lied or she didnít.

JG: [Leaning forward and grinning.] If you say the Jewess lied, Miss Bassey, you are making an anti-Semitic statement.

JW: And if you admit that she didnít lie, youíve committed perjury because first you said she did and then you said she didnít.

JG: Which are you, Miss Bassey: an anti-Semite...

JW: Or a perjurer...

PB: Or both?

SB: [Tearing at her hair.] This is insane. How can I be an anti-Semite; Iíve got Jewish friends.

PB: [Sarcastically.] So what youíre saying, Miss Bassey, is that some of your best friends are Jewish. Is that what youíre saying?

SB: [Innocently.] Yes.

JG: Just like Herman Goering?

SB: Herman who?

PB: Come now, Miss Bassey, donít play the innocent with us; itís common knowledge that the leading Nazi Herman Goering promoted Erhard Milch to general knowing full well that he was Jewish.

SB: Did he? Whatís that got to do with me?

PB: Itís got everything to do with you. Besides, how do we know youíve got Jewish friends?

SB: [Pulling at her hair.] This is insane. My manager is Jewish. If I were anti-Semitic why would I have a Jewish manager?

JW: [Banging his gavel.] Playing the race card! Thatís the second time.

PB: What makes you think youíre so special, Miss Bassey?

SB: Special, I never said I was special.

PB: Just because youíre a world famous entertainer doesnít give you the right to make disparaging remarks about your fellow Jewish citizens and to incite pogroms.

SB: [Screaming.] I didnít call her a lying Jewish bitch. Itís all lies.

PB: I see, Miss Bassey; the Jewess lied. No further questions.

JW: Sit down, Miss Bassey.

[The Defendant sits down; the Judges confer.]

JG: Is that the case for the prosecution?

PB: Yes, Your Honour.

JW: Then we will proceed to judgment.

SB: [Standing up and shouting.] Your Honour, I havenít had a chance to defend myself yet.

JG: [Banging his gavel.] Sit down, Miss Bassey, and donít speak out of turn.

SB: But please, Your Honour, I must be allowed to defend myself.

PB: Defend yourself, against a charge of anti-Semitism?

JW: Weíve been over this already, Miss Bassey; Miss Levy accused you of calling her a Jewish bitch and slapping her.

JG: [Sneering.] And if you accuse the Jews of lying you can only be anti-Semitic.

JW: [Sneering.] And if you donít accuse the Jews of lying youíve admitted your guilt.

PB: Oyez.

The Two Judges: Oy vay.

[The Defendant sits down; the Judges confer. Judge Gable nods to the usher.]

Usher: All rise.

[The court rises; the Defendant is pulled to her feet.]

Judge Whine: Shirley Bassey, you have been found guilty of the heinous crime of anti-Semitism, namely that on or about 1994, you did, somewhere, make abusive and anti-Semitic remarks to your Personal Assistant Miss Hilary Levy, a person of the Jewish faith or ancestry, and thereby brought into odium and contempt all such persons of the Jewish faith or ancestry, whether British citizens or not, and throughout the world and in all eras, and that by so doing you stirred up racial hatred. We are satisfied that not only did you stir up racial hatred but that you intended to stir up racial hatred against persons of the Jewish faith or ancestry whether British citizens or not. You have been convicted on the clearest possible evidence.

Furthermore, you have not only continued to protest your innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but you have continued quite blatantly to express anti-Semitic views in this very courtroom by accusing the Jews of lying. You have also quite cynically played the race card in a calculated attempt to win the sympathy of this court and to evade the inevitable consequences of your evil actions. You have shown not the slightest remorse, and you deserve no mercy.

[Donning the black cap.]

Shirley Bassey, it is the sentence of this court that you be taken from here to a lawful place of imprisonment, and that after a period of three Sundays have passed, you be taken to a place of lawful execution, and that there you be hanged by the neck until you are dead.

Judge Gable: Have you anything to say before you are taken down, Miss Bassey?

SB: I think Iíve just shit my knickers.

Judge Whine: Take her down. And may God have mercy on your soul.

[Curtain.]


Back To Plays Index
Back To Site Index