Several other bloggers are alarmed at the recent tidal wave of films and documentaries we’re being bombarded with, which subtly or overtly misrepresent Israel. Many have been brought to us by the BBC, but the most seductively beguiling of them all is on Channel Four. On last night’s Newsnight, in a wider discussion on the role of the media, I heard Mark Thompson say that BBC is obliged to “confront people with the other.”
In the light of that, I feel justified in explaining why I find The Promise so disturbing, and why I feel that under the principle of confronting people with “the other”, it’s high time the BBC made and aired a programme that shows Israel in a truer, fairer light.
After Louis Theroux, Michael Morpurgo, and some upcoming radio plays which have clear anti Israel agendas, I suspect that as far as Israel is concerned, the BBC may not even be aware that there is an “other”.
A state of emergency should be declared.
Peter Kosminsky has spent several years, some say eight, some ten, devising and incubating this drama. He uses his considerable cinematographic skills to produce a slick advertising-savvy film with an agenda that subliminally and openly reconfirms what many think they already know about the Israel Palestine conflict. Namely: ‘Rich European Jews are transplanted into Muslim Lands by the British in a blundering attempt to atone for the holocaust, with the unintended consequence of penalising the innocent indigenous Arab population.’
The filmmaker has so far used two cheap tricks to mimic balance. One. Gratuitously and voyeuristically-inserted ‘real’ footage of emaciated concentration camp corpses. Two. A cafe suicide bombing in which two of the characters we’re following are injured. These two devices represent Israel’s case for the defence, while everything else represents the case for the prosecution.
Rich, heartless Jews versus poor, noble Palestinians; the giant key symbolising the right of return; left wing, European-born Israelis; checkpoints, the wall, stolen land, brutal Israeli soldiers, heroic, wronged Palestinian schoolgirls, Jewish terroism, stony-faced settlers.
Peter Kosminsky has even turned reality completely on its head! The stone-throwing children were not Palestinian, but Israeli! The Israeli hostess calls Palestinians ‘animals’ when Kosminsky really ought to have known that it’s Jews that are the desendants of pigs and apes. Ruthless Zionists tarred and feathered the female spy as a bluff to make our hero trust her. And though terrorism is the current method of resistance of the Muslims, it was brought to you first by Jews; and guess who were ‘put into prison camps’ by the Jews.
All this, and still one episode to go. But these things have all been done before, though perhaps less slickly and perhaps less seductively.
The website indicates that Kosminsky hopes to introduce a wider audience to the Palestinian cause. They are to learn the “truth” Kosminsly-style, through drama.
Comments, tweets, and even a liveblog, which Kosminsky himself has graced with his interactive presence, are all provided on the website. The gullible media addicts have tweeted and texted their appreciation in droves. They were captivated, amazed, thrilled, and ever so grateful that the hitherto mystifying Israel / Palestine conflict has been set out in technicolour for easypeasy digestion, painlessly and enchantingly.
What is alarming is that this advertising propaganda masquerades as enlightenment.
Kosminsky, far from trying to warn people that his partisan film isn’t a substitute for a fully comprehensive education, graciously accepts the plaudits. Lindsey (No I am not an anti-Semite) Hilsum provides a handy Potted Political History. Comments pointing to the omissions and obfuscations therein are dismissed by a Channel Four spokesman – because Lindsey Hilsum is an expert, so there.
I know it’s not part of my remit to comment on Channel Four business, so, if only because of the BBC’s obligation to confront people with “the other”, I rest my case.