One to watch: final part of Schama documentary on BBC 2

A reminder for UK-based readers: the fifth and final episode – titled “Return” – of Simon Schama’s documentary “The Story of the Jews” will be shown on BBC 2 at 21:00 tonight – Sunday, September 29th 2013.

Schama doc 5

“Simon Schama examines how the Holocaust and the creation of Israel have fundamentally changed what it means to be Jewish.

Mixing personal recollection with epic history, Simon tells the story of the remarkable personalities and unprecedented events which turned the Zionist dream of creating a modern state of Israel into reality – and the consequences for the world. With contributions from writer David Grossman, photographer Micha Bar-Am, kibbutz founder Freddie Kahan, West Bank settler Zvi Cooper and Palestinian villager Yacoub Odeh. This film explores the tension between the high ideals and dire necessities that led to the creation of a Jewish homeland and the realities of conflict, dispossession and occupation that have followed in its wake.”

Whether or not this is the same “Palestinian villager Yacoub Odeh” as took the BBC’s former Jerusalem correspondent Wyre Davies on a tour of Lifta in May 2011 remains to be seen, but if it is, readers might like to find out more about Mr Odeh the professional political activist, and his remarkably selective memory, here

For those who may have missed them, the previous four episodes of Simon Schama’s documentary are available to view in the UK on BBC iPlayer. The series will apparently be broadcast in the coming spring in the United States.

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4: (also here.)

Related articles:

So far, so good: BBC 2 series ‘The Story of the Jews’

BBC TV mentions exodus from Egypt

6 comments on “One to watch: final part of Schama documentary on BBC 2

  1. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve cancelled my tv licence. I’m Christian, not Jewish, but I know a sick organisation when I have to fund it.

  2. The series has had glowing reports so far, but the trailer in the Radio Times hints that the final episode might disappoint:

    “Schama once worked in a kibbutz and is, obviously, sympathetic to the Jewish state, which makes his criticisms of recent policies (the settler movement, the security wall, and so on) all the more potent.”

    If he has been taken in by an anti-Zionist ‘activist’ it would probably cast a shadow over the whole lot. Their point that criticisms from “a Zionist” are all the more potent will no doubt be exploited for all it’s worth.
    I suppose the theory that support for Israel from a non-Jew has added potency is the other side of the coin.

  3. Seems a bit of a pity to bash the BBC for ‘biased coverage’ when they’ve just dedicated a prime-time slot to a celebration of the creation of our Jewish state.

  4. Duvidl watched the last part of the last episode, if only to listen to Simon’s concluding piece to camera. It was a somewhat enigmatic and ponderously dry musing on the Talmud, finishing with “the chapter is written but the book is not yet finished.”

    There was no mention at all of Israel’s immense contribution to modern civilisation in every field of endeavour, especially medicine, and particularly set against its tiny eight million population in contrast to other nations and Arabs. But, modern BBC historical miracle of miracles, he did use the word “terrorists” once.

  5. On the whole an interesting account of the development of Ashkenasi Jews, but until he brought up the fact that they were expelled after the formation of Israel, nary a mention of Mizrachi and Sephardi Jews. Still from a Reform/Ashkenasi not surprising I suppose. Simon always upholds Israel when he is on the panel of Question Time (that hotbed of anti Israelism) and he is one of a few who do that. My one disappointment was that he didn’t mention the partition of the Palestinian Mandate by the formation of Jordan which was 70% of it and deliberately made Jew-free. An Arab state existed before the creation of Israel.

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