Was Simon Schama’s History of the Jews censored?

Was Simon Schama’s History of the Jews censored?

Simon Schama
Simon Schama

Was the fifth episode of Simon Sharma’s wonderful series ‘History of the Jews’ censored? asks Nomi Benari.

Story of the JewsWhile so much of it was fair and balanced, the numerous small omissions went a long way towards consolidating the views of those who deny Israel’s right to exist.  For example:

1. The Balfour Declaration was a result not only of Weizmann’s invention, but because Churchill and others saw that only the Jews were making the land habitable – ‘making the desert bloom.’

2. The Balfour Declaration was endorsed unanimously by the international community (the League of Nations), which recognised ‘the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstructing their national home’.

3. While Palestine was promised to the Jews, other parts of the Arab world were promised to other Arabs, and many states were established as a result.

4. 78% of the British Mandate was allotted to Transjordan (later Jordan). When the remaining 22% was partitioned by the UN in 1947, the Jews received 11% of Palestine, 65% of which was desert.

5. The UN voted not only in favour of partition but for the creation of two states, one for the Jews and one for the Arabs of Palestine. Only the Jews accepted.

6. Sharma made no mention of the fact that, according to statements by the British Mandate and those of the Arabs themselves, many of the Arabs living in Palestine at the time were not indigenous.

7. After the Six Day War, Israel offered ‘Land for Peace’. Only when this was rejected by the Arab League did the ‘settler movement’ start.

8. Professor Sharma spent several minutes talking about the separation barrier, in front of the 5% which is concrete. The 95% which is made of wire fencing was barely seen, if at all.

9. No mention was made of the fact that, while 1.2 million Arabs live in Israel with equal rights, Mahmoud Abbas made it clear on 20/8/2013 that ‘In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli  –  civilian or soldier  –  on our land’.

While the four preceding programmes made an excellent case for the historical connection of the Jews to the land, in the fifth episode Professor Sharma failed to adequately make the legal and moral case for Israel’s existence. This is a pity, as it was a great series.

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