In good faith I sat down to watch "The Doomsday Code" on Britain's Channel Four on 16 September, touted as a two-hour primetime special, thinking it would be an insight into Da Vinci Code issues. Instead, what ensued was a cruelly biased and distorted view of the State of Israel and of Ugandan Christians.
Tony Robinson, the host, spent a good portion of the show’s two hours sneering in Israel as various extremist groups were filmed. At the end he said it would be an unthinkable disaster if 'Jews and only Jews' eventually lived in the Holy Land, 'not to mention their obscenity, the separation wall.' This is an appalling slur. Had he said this about Muslims exclusively inhabiting a country, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Public Affairs Council UK would have been on Channel Four’s back like a shot. C4 is fortunate that the Anglo-Jewish community is small and decorous, and has dignified, non-violent spokespersons like Lord Janner and Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks.
Why did Robinson not show the Gay Pride March that is held in Jerusalem every year without incident, where thousands of gays from all over the globe gather in peace? Would this be allowed if Israel is some freaky Evangelical country? Would this occur in any Muslim country? Israel is 85% secular and most Israelis despise religious extremists. This was not explained at all.
Israel is filled with innovative theatre and dance companies, art galleries, symphony orchestras and opera groups. If it was an outpost of extreme Christianity and Judaism would the original and often daring work of the Habima, Gesher and Cameri Theatres be allowed? Why did Robinson not visit these great secular centres of Israeli culture?
He said the State was created in 1948 because of the desires of the End Timers/Evangelicals in the USA. He never mentioned the Holocaust or the UN resolution. This is a pernicious slander on the many Jews who have inhabited the Holy Land since the time of Jesus and the tiny remnant of Jews who survived the Nazi torture and death camps. The Zionist Movement evolved from the Emile Zola ‘J’accuse’ period in France when the disgraceful Dreyfus Case convinced secular European Jews like Herzl that anti-Semitism was a disease that could not be eliminated and that Jews needed a small homeland of their own.
Robinson made it clear that the Iraq war was pushed into action by the End Timers in the USA and that Israel will next nuke its Arab neighbours at the whim of the American Christian Right. This is pernicious nonsense and should never have been allowed into a primetime script.
The programme went into a bizarre sideshow about global warming, with the usual mantra every expatriate American gets in the course of the day just walking around London; ‘You Americans are responsible for 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases!’ When is someone going to produce a programme or write an article about the evils of the other 75% and the emissions from the former Soviet Union, India and China?
In a wickedly out-of-context clip Robinson showed a small group of painfully young Israeli soldiers dancing in a circle and singing about the rebuilding of the Temple. If the producers and writers had taken the time to properly research their production they would find that Jewish families for centuries, mostly in walled ghettoes, slums and concentration camps, have sung a song about ‘next year in Jerusalem.’ This does not mean that Jews across the world, including Israeli soldiers, are about to ram their cars into mosques and churches and demand the building of new Temples wherever they live. I doubt Mr Robinson, Miss Khan or Mr Quinn of the production company bothered to look at a Passover Haggadah -- the book of the holiday that goes back long before Jesus and long before Evangelical Americans set out -- according to the programme makers -- to conquer the Holy Land.
Robinson also said that Abraham sacrificed Isaac on the Temple Mount, This is not correct. Abraham did not sacrifice Isaac. Instead Abraham sacrificed a ram. Robinson implied that centuries of bloodletting have ensued because of events like this. The producer and director, Mr Quinn and Ms Khan, should have got their Bible right before allowing these falsehoods to be recorded. ‘Bloodletting and violence’ have not been the legacy of world Jewry, ever. He did not explain that the Jews have lived in peace across the globe in the Diaspora for two-thousand years and have tried to live in peace in Israel since 1948 but have unceasingly suffered attacks and terror from the violent neighbouring Arab and Muslim nations.
He said people were arriving with 'parcels of money' for illegal settlers and said, with a sad voice, that houses where he was filming had once belonged to Arabs but were now occupied by Jews; he kept emphasising that their money was from America. Jews have legitimately purchased land and homes from Arabs for centuries. Would Channel Four next like to go to Golders Green and Stanmore and have Tony Robinson stand with indignant fury outside houses that Anglo-Jews wrested from hapless Christian Britons?
What was so pernicious about this programme was his use of Jews', not 'Zionists,' to defame the activities of olim and native Israelis. Near the end of the special he moved on to Africa and attempted to depict Christian fervour in Uganda as some sort of threat to the world. Anyone who has followed the tortuous history of the African continent and Uganda in particular will note that Christian devotion is perhaps an improvement over the cruelties of the world of Idi Amin.
This programme defamed Israel and the Jews and ridiculed passionately religious Christian black Africans. In the scary tradition of secularism that has overtaken British society, in which religion is ridiculed but teen pregnancies, foul language, street aggression, ’knife culture’ and alcoholism run rampant, this is yet another a shameful episode in British television history.
I am speechless.
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