UK TV series "The Promise" & false pro-Zionist defamation of anti-racist Jews
by: Dr Gideon Polya
Wednesday January 18, 2012 - 03:19
“The Promise” is a UK TV series based on the experiences of 80 of the 100,000 UK soldiers who served in post-war Palestine in the 1940s. This TV series in four episodes was written and directed by Jewish British writer, director and producer Peter Kosminsky, with music by outstanding Jewish British composer Debbie Wiseman MBE, and premiered on 6 February 2011 on the UK Channel 4.
"The Promise" deals with a young woman going to Israel/Palestine of today, using her visit to investigate her soldier grandfather’s part in the post-war phase of the British Mandate of Palestine. The series drew virulent criticism from pro-Zionists in Britain (see “The Promise (2011 TV serial)”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pr... ) and from Australian pro-Zionists after it was shown in Australia in 2011.
According to the Australian Jewish News (12 January 2012), ““Insidious”, “racist” and “a landmark in the creeping rehabilitation of anti-Semitism in Western culture”. These are just some of the terms used to describe The Promise in a 20-page letter of complaint submitted this week to the SBS ombudsman by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)” (Australian Jewish News, TV series akin to Nazi propaganda”, 12 January 2012: http://www.jewishnews.net.au/tv-ser... ).
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, “Australia’s peak Jewish body is seeking to halt promotion and DVD sales of the SBS series, “The Promise”, a dramatic portrayal set in Israel it has likened to Nazi propaganda. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said the British-made drama, inspired by accounts of British soldiers who served in Palestine during the 1940s, was anti-Semitic and in direct violation of the SBS code covering prejudice, racism and discrimination… The television drama prompted a similar reaction following its screening in Britain last year. The UK’s Office of Communications received 44 complaints about the series, which was not found to be in breach of its code” (see Leesha McKenny, “SBS fields complaints over series set in Israel”, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2012: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment... ” .
Further, the Jewish writer-director of “The Promise” Peter Kosminsky has stated that the 80 British veterans interviewed during research for “The Promise” had arrived in Palestine ’’very pro-Jewish … but by the end of their stay had almost all shifted their allegiance and were feeling a great deal of sympathy for the Arabs’’.
The detailed letter of complaint by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) to the partly taxpayer-funded multicultural TV SBS TV network makes the following key but false and profoundly offensive argument: “ The internationally accepted “Working Definition of Antisemitism”10 includes the following passage: Examples of the ways in which Antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include: • denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour. • drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” and then goes on to consider the reality that the writer-director of the series is Jewish: “The fact that the writer-director of the series, Peter Kosminsky, is Jewish has no bearing on the present complaint, which requires an assessment to be made of the objective effect of the material complained of. Kosminsky’s subjective motives are therefore irrelevant and cannot be known with any certainty. No person’s public statements to explain their motives can simply be accepted at face value. It is in any event false to assume that Jews cannot be the authors of material which is objectively antisemitic. As Howard Jacobsen observed: “It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what’s Jewish in themselves has a long history” .29 In his most recent book, A Lethal Obsession, the acclaimed historian of Antisemitism, Robert Wistrich, devotes an entire chapter to “Jews against Zion.” He summarizes the history of antisemitic Jews starting with the apostates in Christian Spain after the massacres of the Jews in 1391 and concludes:“Self-hating Jews, whatever their motives for betraying their own people and negating its history, have throughout the ages provided invaluable ammunition for the Antisemites. That still remains the bottom line.”30” (for the full text of the letter of complaint see: http://www.australiansforpalestine.... ).
Before dealing with this routine, false, Zionist defamation of anti-racist Jewish critics of Israel as “anti-Semites”, a brief history lesson is required.
Palestine is part of the Fertile Crescent that was a key area of nascent human agrarian civilization (see outstanding Jewish American scholar Professor Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel”) and in the first millennium BC was inhabited by Philistines (whence the name) and a number of Semitic tribes, including genocidal Hebrews/Israelites, the precursors of the Jews, whose horrendous ethnic cleansing crimes are proudly recorded in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.
Jewish Israeli historian Shlomo Sand in his book “The Invention of the Jewish People” has made the key points that there is no Egyptian record of the Exodus from Egypt, there was no huge David and Solomon Empire, that there was no Exile from Palestine in 136 AD (only some defeated Jewish rebels and their families were taken as slaves by the victorious Romans) and that the Jewish and non-Jewish Palestinians in the early Christian era variously converted to Christianity and thence to Islam i.e. the direct genetic and cultural descendants of those Jewish and non-Jewish Palestinians of 2,000 years ago are the present day Palestinians whereas the Jewish Israelis largely derive from Berber, Yemeni and Khazar converts to a more universalist Judaism in the first millennium CE.
Political Zionism arose in the late 19th century but was opposed by Orthodox Jews as heretical and blasphemous (Orthodox Judaism posits that Jews can only return to Zion after the Messiah arrives to present the glory of the Lord to all mankind) and was also opposed by secular, assimilated Jews who simply wanted to get on with their lives in the European countries or regions their forebears had inhabited for up to 2 millennia. Indeed in Hungary about half the Jewish population converted to Christianity from the mid-19th century onwards to avoid anti-Semitic restrictions.
Even Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, was not dogmatic about settling Palestine and considered Argentina (recently ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Indians) as a suitable alternative (see Theodor Herzl, “Palestine or Argentine?” in “The Jewish State”, 1896: http://mideastweb.org/jewishstate.pdf ). Indeed there were some 20 possible locations on all continents for a Jewish Colony/Jewish State (see Martin Gilbert, “Jewish History Atlas”, p95) including the plan to settle North West Australia that was finally vetoed by the Australian Labor Government in 1944 (see “An Unpromised Land” by Leon Gettler).
The Allied conquest of much of the Ottoman Empire in WW1 enabled the British to offer Palestine as a Jewish Home (not a Jewish State) through the 1917 Balfour Declaration that was designed to get Russian Zionist support for keeping Russia in the war: “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
In 1880 there were about 0.5 million Indigenous Palestinians and 25,000 Jews in Palestine, half the latter being immigrants. Post-WW1 Jewish immigration brought the Jewish proportion of the population to one third by 1947. Arab resistance to this alienation of their country grew to revolt in the middle 1930s. In 1944 pro-Zionist Churchill got the war cabinet to agree to the eventual Partition of Palestine. At that time ha was also persuaded by the Zionists to veto the Joel Brand plan to save 0.7 million Hungarian Jews from the Nazis (0.4 million died including all but about a dozen of my family) (see “Joel Brand, Exposing Zionist complicity in Nazi mass murder of Hungarian Jews”: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsa... and “Lenni Brenner. Exposing Zionist collaboration and complicity with the Nazis”: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsa... ” ).
US-promoted UN recognition of a race-based State of Israel and British withdrawal left the Arabs at the mercy of Zionist terrorists. 800,000 Palestinians fled Zionist terrorist violence that ethnically cleansed cities, towns and villages that had been inhabited continuously by Palestinians for thousands of years. Apartheid Israel seized all of Palestine and a big chunk of Egypt and Syria in 1967 and occupied a large part of Lebanon in 1982-2000. The Sinai was eventually returned to Egypt but Apartheid Israel almost completely ethnically cleansed the Golan Heights (Syria) and has continued to ethnically cleanse the West Bank.
The human cost to Palestinians of the US-, Canada-, UK-, EU- and Apartheid Australia-backed Zionist enterprise has been horrendous: 0.1 million violent deaths (1936-2012) and 1.9 million avoidable deaths from war-, expulsion- and occupation-imposed deprivation (1950-2012) i.e. 2.0 million war-related deaths. Since 1950 Palestinian under-5 infant deaths inside and outside Palestine have totaled 0.75 million and refugees now total over 7 million.
Of about 12 million Palestinians only the adults of 1.5 million Palestinian Israelis can vote for the government ruling all of Palestine (plus part of Syria), albeit as third class citizens subject to Nazi-style race laws – democracy by genocide. 1.6 million Occupied Palestinians (half of them children ) are abusively confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp, 2.6 million Occupied Palestinians are abusively confined to ever-dwindling West Bank mini-Bantustans and about 6 million Palestinians living outside Palestine are effectively forbidden to even live in the Homeland continuously inhabited by their forebears for thousands of years to the dawn of history. This is an ongoing Palestinian Holocaust and a Palestinian Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (see “Palestinian Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/pales... and the recent multi-author book “The Plight of the Palestinians”: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4... ).
Of course globally the racist Zionist impact is much worse. The Zionist-promoted US War on Muslims has since 1990 been associated with 12 million Muslim deaths from violence or from war- and occupation-imposed deprivation, the breakdown being 4.6 million (Iraq), 5.0 million (Afghanistan ), 2.2 million (Somalia) and 50,000 (Libya) (see “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/musli... ). The Zionist-dominated US dominates Spaceship Earth on which 18 million people die avoidably from deprivation every year (see “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ) . The Zionist-dominated US is hell-bent on climate change inaction and continued disproportionate greenhouse gas pollution, yet it is estimated that 10 billion people – including 3 billion Muslims - will perish this century if man-made climate change is not requisitely addressed (see “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/clima... ).
For anti-racist Jews and indeed all anti-racist humanitarians the core moral messages from the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and from the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone”, “bear witness” and “zero tolerance for lying”. Yet for anti-racist Jews Peter Kosminsky and Debbie Wiseman the reward for their ethical and humane behavior is to be falsely defamed by pro-Zionists as “anti-Semites”.
One must turn to other even more eminent, anti-racist Jews for expert opinions on the genocidal, racist Zionist, Apartheid Israel enterprise. Thus “Jews Against Racist Zionism” (see: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsa... ) is an alphabetically ordered compendium of such anti-racist Jewish opinion. Further, many outstanding Jewish humanitarians have spoken out against Israeli Apartheid that is worse that South African Apartheid according to Jewish and non-Jewish heroes in the fight against Apartheid Israel-backed Apartheid South Africa and indeed back boycotts against Apartheid Israel just as boycotts were successfully applied against Apartheid South Africa (see “Boycott Apartheid Israel”: https://sites.google.com/site/boyco... ).
Below are some opinions of outstanding anti-racist Jewish intellectuals that are relevant to the message of “The Promise”and the pro-Zionist backlash.
Consider the words of outstanding Jewish American scholar Professor Jared Diamond who in his best-selling book "Collapse” (Prologue, p10, Penguin edition) enunciated the "moral principle, namely that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate another people" – an injunction grossly violated by racist Zionist (RZ)-run Apartheid Israel and its racist, genocide-committing and genocide-ignoring US Alliance backers.
Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia (circa 1946) : “The honour of Jews throughout the world demands the renunciation of political Zionism" and "the Zionist movement as a whole...now places its own unwarranted interpretation on the Balfour Declaration, and makes demands that are arousing the antagonism of the Moslem world of nearly 400 millions, thereby menacing the safety of our Empire, endangering world peace and imperiling some of the most sacred associations of the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem faiths. Besides their inherent injustice to others these demands would, I believe, seriously and detrimentally affect the general position of Jews throughout the world."
Jewish Israeli Professor Avi Shlaim ( Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, UK ,and the author of “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World” and of “Lion of Jordan: King Hussein’s Life in War and Peace” (2006): ““The only way to make sense of Israel’s senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians … This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.”
Professor Bertell Ollman (professor of politics at New York University) (2004): “An all out struggle against Zionism by Jews, therefore, is also the most effective way to fight against real anti-Semitism. Furthermore, if Zionism is indeed a particularly virulent form of nationalism and, increasingly, of racism and if Israel is acting toward its captive minority in ways that resemble more and more how the Nazis treated their Jews, then we must also say so. For obvious reasons, the Zionists are very sensitive about being compared to the Nazis (not so sensitive that it has restrained them in their actions but enough to bellow "unfair" and to charge "anti-Semitism" when it happens). Yet, the facts on the ground, when not obscured by one or another Zionist rationalization, show that the Zionists are the worst anti-Semites in the world today, oppressing a Semitic people as no nation has done since the Nazis.”
Decent anti-racist humanitarian Jews and indeed all decent people are obliged to speak out against the genocidal crimes of racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel. The false defamation of anti-racist humanitarian Jews as “anti-Semites” can be seen as anti-Semitism itself as can the utterly false conflation of the genocidal atrocities of Apartheid Israel with decent, anti-racist Jews.
Decent people around the world must (a) defend anti-racist Jews against false defamation by pro-Zionists, (b) inform everyone they can about the genocidal crimes of Apartheid Israel, (c) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against race-based, nuclear terrorist Apartheid Israel and (d) urge everyone to sideline racist Zionists from public life, as has already happened with racists such as Nazis, neo-Nazis, Apartheiders and the KKK.
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