BBC Documentary About Israel and Palestine

December 14, 2012

My friend Alex Scarpati asked me on this blog to comment on the BBC documentary – Birth of Israel – Birth of a Nation.

I viewed the movie and found out that the BBC has done once again what they are so good at – deception. In a very well produced film that is mostly true they managed to deceive by changing just a few facts.

First, they try to portray Britain in 1947 – 1948 as a benevolent bystander. That is as far from the truth as possible. By the film’s own admission, Israel’s worse enemy in 1948 – the Jordanian Legion, was commanded by British officers. Where is the benevolence in that?

The truth is that the Brits have been fomenting conflict in the Middle East since before World War I. It served their oil interest.  They created a bunch of artificial countries, cutting across familiar and tribal lines, and making sure they were all conflicted with each other.  If one can point to a single major source of the Israeli-Arab conflict, it is definitely the British government. Only in recent years the Arabs themselves started to understand that, and are now slowly uniting and becoming a formidable entity. To believe the BBC’s testimony is like believing a murderer testifying in his own trial. The film claimed that the UK turned the matter to the United Nation General Assembly. That is categorically not true. The UN meeting was forced upon the UK.

Second, let us look at the claim that the Israelis took the country away from the Palestinians. Before the Jewish settlements started in the 19th century, there was no country. There was only a neglected piece of land that was half desert and half swamp. This piece of land was controlled by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Huge lots were given or sold to rich merchants throughout the empire. The land was considered worthless until the Jewish settlement started.  Even as late as late as 1945 is was believed that the country can only support a few hundreds of thousand people. Nothing like the 7.5 million it supports today.

Not only was there no country, there were no people in it.  Areas that did not have Malaria were too arid to sustain life. It is estimated that that there were between 10,000 and 20,000 people in the land when the Jewish settlement started.  Not all of those were Arabs.  The vast majority of the Palestinians came after the Jewish settlements started.  They came looking for work. They came from Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. The BBC’s own admission is that in 1948 there where 800 Arab villages in the country. Considering the fact that a village with 500 people was a big one, this put the Palestinian population at a maximum of 400,000 people.  That is about half of the Jewish population at the time.  Not the majority the film talks about.

The film mentioned massacres by the Israelis in 1948.  I am not justifying these acts.  I view them as war crimes.  However, from the Israeli side these were the exception. From the Arab side this was the rule.  Whenever Arabs (other than the Jordanian Legion) occupied any Jewish settlement they butchered everybody and mutilated the bodies.  Whenever the captures an Israeli soldier he had no chance of staying alive.  That was never mentioned in the film.

I want to make it clear that I do believe the Palestinians have the right to a state. I feel that they did receive the short end of the stick.  I believe Israel made many mistakes in handling the issues.  I will discuss these in future blogs.  I just want to remove all the lies first.  For a solution to occur both side have to recognize the other side right to exist.  Before that there is no place for negotiation.

I am hereby recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to exist as a nation in a state of their own.  I challenge any Palestinian to reciprocate by personally declaring recognition of the right of the Israelis to a state of their own.

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