The Indy, Ben White and charges of Israeli racism towards….Babylonians and Ancient Romans?

“Given all the centuries of hatred toward them, it is a miracle any Jews survived. Consider the historical record and look at the mighty empires, regimes and civilizations the Jewish people have outlasted: Ancient Egypt, the Philistines, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Crusaders, the Spanish Empire, the Soviet Union and the Third Reich. All have crumbled one way or another and none remain today. And yet, against all odds, the Jewish people – a tiny community in the scheme of things – are still here, punching above their weight.” – James Morcan, author of ‘Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories

There’s not much more to say about professional anti-Israel activist Ben White that we haven’t already said.  We hadn’t heard much from White, who was – in years past – published at least twice yearly at the Guardian, in quite a while and assumed he had – much like the ‘eternal’ empires referred to in the quote above – disappeared into the ash-heap of anti-Jewish history.

We were wrong.

Well, sort of.

These days, if you want to propagate toxic, discredited and increasingly marginalized views suggesting that Zionism is racism and therefore Israel – as the living, breathing manifestation of the belief in the moral legitimacy of the only Jewish state – has no right to exist, within the ‘respectable’ British media, you’ll likely have to try the Independent.

White’s recent op-ed at the Indy (‘Israel’s latest propaganda video is offensive – it paints a dark picture of the government’s views’, Oct. 15th) focuses on a light-hearted three and half-minute video that garnered over 1 million views on the Facebook page of Israel’s foreign ministry (MFA).

Here it is:

Here’s the crux of White’s argument:

The concept is straightforward enough: a Jewish couple – Rachel and Jacob – live in a comfortable modern home that represents the “Land of Israel”. The pair then experience a series of “invasions” by the likes of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Crusaders and Ottoman Empire. Finally, the British Empire arrives, to announce that their home is finally theirs – before, right at the end, two Palestinians appear at the door.

The video has been rightly criticised for its historical inaccuracies and racist caricatures: the Jewish couple remain in suburban jeans-ware throughout while, as critics have pointed out, “portraying non-Jews over 3,000 years of history as primitive barbarians” in stereotypical dress.

Though we’re all too used to such radical anti-Israel commentators stretching the definition of the word ‘racism’ to comical lengths, this is the first time we recall this charge in the context of Jewish attitudes towards Crusaders, Babylonians and Romans!


Of course, what likely really annoys White about the film is that – in the context of Palestinian efforts to erase Jewish history and delegitimize Israelis as “colonial” interlopers – it proudly asserts the unbreakable spiritual and historical bond between Jews and Eretz Israel and the fact that the reborn Jewish state represents a return of the land’s indigenous community. 

Beyond the risible charge that Israel is guilty of ‘perpetuating’ racist stereotypes towards ancient communities within extinct empires, the Indy op-ed demonstrates how Jews’ undeniable connection to Israel is seen by activists like White as necessarily undermining the anti-Zionist agitprop which lies at the very core of the pro-Palestinian movement.


5 replies »

  1. They’re just a Jewish couple, y’all. Rachel and Jacob. Two random names, living in an “apartment” of all things.

    Ben Whitesheet isn’t the brightest of bulbs, so to speak. Poor guy just has a headache.

  2. Rewriting history? I’m still waiting for New Testament v2.0 – the one that expunges any references to the Temple that UNESCO says didn’t exist.

  3. Loved the video. Hate Ben White. True to his name, he’s certainly white, in that historical way he likes to decry.