One to watch on BBC Four – or at a PSC event

h/t GB

Readers may remember that back in April the BBC cancelled the broadcast of a scheduled programme then titled ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’.  

“We’re sending this update to everyone who contacted us earlier this year about the programme ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’ which was not shown on 25 April in the BBC Four Archaeology season.

We thought you would like to know that this has now been rescheduled and will be transmitted this weekend on BBC Four as ‘Searching for Exile: Truth or Myth?’, which explores the historical and archaeological evidence for the Exile of the Jews. This will be transmitted on Sunday (3rd November) at 9pm on BBC Four. It will then be followed at 10pm by a debate chaired by Ed Stourton featuring the film maker and leading historians discussing the implications of the film for our understanding of the Exile of the Jews.

We hope this is helpful and thank you for contacting us earlier this year,

BBC Audience Services”

Ilan Ziv film BBC 4

Ilan Ziv film debate BBC 4

On the website of the film’s producer, Ilan Ziv, we find the following press release:

“This authored documentary by Ilan Ziv sets out to explore the historical and archaeological evidence for the Exile of the Jews after their defeat in Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire, and its relevance to today.

Tracing the story of Exile from the contemporary commentator Josephus, to 1960s Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, to the modern city of  Rome and finally to the ruins of a Palestinian village, Ziv asks where the roots of this story lie and what evidence there is for it.

At the centre of the film is the ancient town of Sepphoris (on whose ruins stood the Palestinian village of Saffuriya until 1948) and the lessons its multi-layered history may have to offer.”

On the same website, the film-maker announces a screening of the full-length version of the film in Manchester.

 “I will be showing the original long  version of EXILE A MYTH UNEARTHED in Manchester on Monday  November 4th. Please inquire and RSVP with  LindaClair

Linda Clair is of course a member of the Manchester branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the screening is promoted on that organisation’s website. 

PSC Ziv film

The significance of the BBC electing to screen a version of a film considered by the PSC to be suitable PR material will not be lost on BBC Watch readers.


13 comments on “One to watch on BBC Four – or at a PSC event

  1. Curious that this previously cancelled programme has been revivified after Dr. Eilat Mazar’s unearthing six weeks ago in September of the gold menorah medallion and 36 other Jewish gold coins of the seventh century Byzantine period a few metres from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

    Duvidl doubts the Jewish renegade producer of this freshly-slimmed-down tosh will be making much of Dr. Mazar’s evidence of left-behind treasure as part of his fact-as-myth historical revisionism. Nor, Duvidl supposes, will this Pali-propagandiser be chatting to the distinguished academic members of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, including the curator of the Levantine galleries of the British Museum with its various Jewish-habitation-evidencing exhibits. Nor will arch-beeboid Stourton, Duvidl guesses, be informing listeners of the Society’s monthly lectures and learned journal “Strata.”.

  2. People exist far more than states – especially as we’re all meant to be living in a post-colonial world now.

    This is why all decent people learn to be good to their neighbours not just their tribes.

    Oops – did I say DECENT? lol

  3. ZIONIST WESTERN MEDIA FOR EXAMPLE BBC: In case you don’t know too much about the BBC, BICOM (the UK version of AIPAC) has said it can rely on the BBC for a favourable presentation of Israel. One of the Trustees of the Jewish National Fund was on the BBC Board of Governors, until that was replaced with a more independent Trust, but this has also been infiltrated. The producer of the “impartial” BBC programme on the Mavi Marmara piracy was Mr. Israel Goldvich, and the BBC had to admit to 3 breaches of its Code regarding that film. More recently, the BBC has had to admit that there was “unfotunate wording” in a report on the Rachel Corrie inquiry, when the BBC said Israeli soldiers died in the incident, which they did not. The BBC bleeped out “free Palestine” from a “rap” on one of its radio stations, because is was “too political” but played the full Israel national anthem “To be a free nation in our land, In the land of Zion and Jerusalem” which apparently is not too political. The new Director-General’s first three appointments have been James Purnell as Director of Strategy. (formerly Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel), James Harding, who gave an interview to the Jewish Chronicle, saying “I am pro-Israel, I believe in Israel” and Danny Cohen as Head of everthing shown on BBC television. When Israel released 1,027 Palestinians for one Israeli, Gilad Shalit, BBC TV’s programme on it was called “The Gilad Shalit Exchange”. Clearly, in your case, they thought they were buying yet more Israeli propaganda with your documentary, and pulled it when they found it did not comply with the official zionist line that BICOM promotes. You are wasting your time with the BBC. The Palestinian activist movement has enough media platforms world-wide to ensure enough sales, and it would be intact and not corrupted by the pro-Israel BBC.

  4. This film is well worth a watch to understand the complexities of unpicking ancient history. And also make sure you watch the debate that followed this film. A fascinating discussion on the “exile” narrative and it’s political use.

  5. The entire premise was hogwash and a strawman argument. Nowhere does Orthodox Judaism claim the exile meant every Jew was exiled! Galus means that we were no longer ruling the land in any sense, and that the Temple was destroyed and the manifest divine presence left the site.

    The fact that many (most?) were physically exiled (and many sold into slavery) and many others remained in Israel in their communities is something any Orthodox Jewish 8 year old would know (e.g. the story of Rabbi Akiba takes place in Israel just after the destruction).

    The midrash, mishna/braita make it clear that they were written in Israel not that long after the destruction. The Talmud was not long after that (although only written and codified perhaps around 500CE) and mentions all over the place how many rabbis operated in Israel and how many in Israel and the communication back and forth between the exiles. This should be basic Jewish history from the sources.

  6. Interesting, Ash. So it sounds like this film is not “controversial” at all (indeed the debate afterwards suggested the same), and many Jewish communities lived and thrived in Galilee after the 2nd revolt?

  7. I found both the film and the discussion disappointing. The central historical point made by the film was that there was no significant Jewish exile from Palestine following the two revolts (although there was movement from Jerusalem to neighbouring provinces). The corollary to this is that the whole Zionist argument about Jews returning to the homeland is based on a false premise. Ziv seemed to accept this point but was too polite to make it clearly. His concluding sequence about the destruction of Palestinian Arab villages in 1948 was again left in the air. The whole case could have been made in a few clear statements – but they never emerged from a rather confused film. I understand that the BBC version is edited from a longer film. It is distinctly possible that Ziv was censored in the interests of the BBC’s relationship with the UK Israel lobby, particularly since the film was withdrawn from its original slot and only shown after protest.

    The discussion following was again much too polite. There was no Palestinian contribution and no traditional Zionist. The academics agreed on most issues, including the lack of Jewish exile in any numbers, but were reluctant to draw the obvious conclusion about the invalidity of Zionism.

    The chairing of Ed Stourton didn’t help. He is a notoriously boring consensus seeker and has been removed from regular presentation roles to occasional fill-in jobs and one-off programmes. The discussion needed the incisiveness of a John Humphries or Jeremy Paxman to push the ‘experts’ into expressing clear views.

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