DAILY MAIL APRIL ,29th 2013
- BBC criticised for dropping film with ‘severe ramifications’ questioning the mass exodus of Jewish people after fall of Jerusalem in AD70
- Film maker Ilan Ziv accuses the BBC of succumbing to political pressure
- Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story was due to air last Thursday
- BBC claims the documentary was axed because it ‘did not fit editorially’
- Viewers attack the Corporation for dropping the show
- Academic Dr Siam Bhayro says axing of the show is strange, given the BBC’s past record of airing controversial documentaries
By ROB COOPER
PUBLISHED: 06:30 EST, 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:26 EST, 29 April 2013
The one-hour programme, Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story, was due to air on BBC4 last week but was scrapped at the last minute.
Film maker Ilan Ziv accused the BBC of ‘incompetence’ and suggested they succumbed to ‘conscious or subconscious political pressure’ after they decided not to broadcast it.
In a blog post, Mr Ziv said the decision to axe the programme was: ‘Ultimately a sad saga of what I believe is a mixture of incompetence, political naiveté, conscious or subconscious political pressure and, I believe, a lack of courage of broadcasters when they are faced with the complexity of the Middle East issue and the intense emotions, fears and aggression it generates.’
The Jews were expelled from Jerusalem following an uprising against the Romans, with hundreds of thousands killed and many more sent into exile.
After the revolt there were still pockets of Jews left living in Jerusalem, but the centre of gravity for the Jewish people shifted to the Galilee.
A Radio Times preview said the documentary, which questioned the scale of the exile, would have ‘severe ramifications for relations in the region’.
Dr Siam Bhayro, a University of Exeter senior lecturer in Early Jewish Studies, said the decision to axe the programme was ‘strange’, given the BBC’s past record of airing controversial documentaries.
And angry viewers took to the magazine’s website to accuse the corporation of ‘pandering to a small interest group.’
Pat Heath wrote: ‘Furious this has been pulled! After all the fuss last about how “Public interest Arguments” for showing flagship documentary on North Korea will be vehemently defended, but why is this quietly removed?’
And samd11 added: ‘Ridiculous pandering to a small interest group! The BBC used to ask the tough questions…..now they cower in fear due to some fundamentalist Zionists whose world vision is as warped as any other fundamentalist religious group.’
The BBC denied that the film had been dropped because it was controversial and said it ‘did not fit editorially’ with a series of historical archeology films.
However, Israeli-born Mr Ziv claimed a ‘mini political storm was brewing’ at the Corporation in the days before the documentary was due to broadcast.
He claims he was told that the programme was ‘delayed’ in going out because he had not had enough time to review the final cut of his longer 104-minute film.
ANGER FROM VIEWERS AFTER DOCUMENTARY IS AXED BY BBC
Television viewers were angry after the BBC scrapped the documentary which was one of the Radio Times’ picks of the day.
Viewers accused the Corporation of pandering to small interest groups.
They wrote on the Radio Times website:
samd11 wrote: ‘Ridiculous pandering to a small interest group! The BBC used to ask the tough questions…..now they cower in fear due to some fundamentalist Zionists whose world vision is as warped as any other fundamentalist religious group.’
Liam Loftus said: ‘I agree with these comments, it looks like this show was pulled at the last minute to please some unnamed pressure group. How come unnamed groups get to dictate who and what we watch??????’
Joseph Boulas added: ‘Andy Marr said that, when joining the BBC, one has the “organs of opinion formally removed”. Now I wonder if he got right what organs are removed…’
Pat Heath said: ‘Furious this has been pulled! After all the fuss last about how “Public interest Arguments” for showing flagship documentary on North Korea will be vehemently defended, but why is this quietly removed?’
Meg Howarth wrote: ‘The pulling of this programme reeks of censorship.’
He described the situation as: ‘A saga of well meaning programming executives who acquired the “courageous“ film they claim to love, believing that they can sneak it by with a “neutral title”.
‘When they were “caught”, rather than face the criticism and be helped by the mountains of documents and dates I was ready to send them, they panicked like deer in the headlights not knowing what to do and eventually raised their hands in resignation.’
Dr Bhayro said he was surprised that the BBC had decided to axe the show.
‘Although I have not seen the film, it would appear that the maker is not saying anything new – everyone knows that Jews continued to live in the Holy Land after AD70,’ he said.
‘But if the film maker is trying to argue that today’s Palestinians are directly descended from the first century Jewish inhabitants of Judea, then his argument is deeply flawed and far too simplistic.
‘Having said that, given their past record, it is precisely the sort of argument I would have expected the BBC to broadcast, so their decision is strange either way.
‘After all, it is not like the BBC hasn’t broadcast documentaries showing controversial points of view before.
‘Indeed, it often seems like, to get a documentary on the BBC, you have to be saying something a bit bizarre or controversial – they are not really interested in the more solid, mundane or rigorous aspects of scholarship.’
A Radio Times review of the programme said ‘archeology is politics in the Middle East’.
The reviewer added: ‘The precarious balance of Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites in the ancient heart of Jerusalem is informed as much by what’s below ground as what’s above.
‘Which is why evidence revealed here, suggesting that the Jewish exile from Jerusalem in AD 70 may never have actually happened, has such severe ramifications for relations in the region.’
The BBC showed a repeat of a documentary about Egyptologist Flinders Petrie last Thursday evening instead.
A spokesman for the BBC today said they may show Mr Ziv’s programme in the future.
‘We originally acquired Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story to supplement BBC Four’s season exploring the history of archaeology,’ he said.
‘However, it was decided that it did not fit editorially so we did not show the programme as part of the season. Any future transmissions are under review.’
JEWS EXILED AFTER A FAILED UPRISING AGAINST THE ROMANS IN AD70
ANALYSIS by Dr Siam Bhayro, Senior Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies, Exeter University
The ‘First Jewish War’ was a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in the Holy Land. It lasted around four years from AD66 to AD70, culminating with the conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple.
Initially, the Romans suffered incredible losses, among the most costly the Empire ever experienced, which explains the level of retribution they meted out.
It is estimated that Roman losses were at least 20,000, while Jewish losses numbered in the hundreds of thousands, with many more sold into slavery.
After this war, the centre of gravity for the Jewish nation moved steadily further away from Jerusalem, ending up to the north in the Galilee.
The historicity of these events is not disputed and is agreed upon by the three main monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The theological interpretations of these events may differ, but there’s no argument about the events themselves.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316492/BBC-criticised-dropping-film-severe-ramifications-questioning-mass-exodus-Jewish-people-fall-Jerusalem-AD70.html#ixzz2RtgDUQhq
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