...There is nothing like the expulsion of the Jews in Fiddler on the Roof to accentuate the tragedy, and to play on the most sensitive heartstrings of the world in general, and of Jews in the U.S. in particular. Here we have one more proof of what Israel is doing to its minorities. Here is one more proof of apartheid, racism, and other accusations from the familiar list. There is, of course, just one problem with the plot of this film. It never happened.
Times of Israel..
29 November '13..
For the past several months a campaign has been under way in Israel and around the world, backed by an endless budget, aimed at aggravating the relationship between the State of Israel and the Bedouins. This campaign included the recent release of a propaganda film portraying the expulsion of Bedouins from their land.
The main star of the film is Theodore Bikel, who was recruited for this role mainly because of his past portrayal of Tevye the Milkman in Fiddler on the Roof. The film, in a propagandized play on words, is called Fiddler with no Roof, and that is nothing compared to the film’s content. The Bedouins are portrayed as the victims of the terrible expulsion decree that was issued against the Jews in the dark days of the anti-Semitic Tsarist regime, as described at the plot of Fiddler on the Roof. And a plot is just what it is. Difficult to believe, but the film was produced by Rabbis for Human Rights.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with this film, as usual, is Haaretz, which provides innumerable articles, all with the same angle, all presenting the same position, about the thieving and oppressing state, and about the expelled Bedouins. Freedom of debate and expression has never looked as neglected as it appears in this uniform, Bolshevist perspective of the newspaper for people who all think the same.
The debate over the proper procedure of the settlement of the Bedouins is an important debate. Some say that the Bedouins are nomads, that their entire claim to land ownership is fictitious, while others claim that the state should recognized their claims of ownership even if these are not consistent with recognized registration methods, from the Ottoman period, then the British, and now, of course, the Israeli.
For years the Israeli authorities have been struggling with this issue. On the one hand, the ownership claims have been rejected outright in legal proceedings. In some of the claims, the assertions of “ownership for hundreds of years” were exposed as fraudulent. Aerial photographs from the last century proved that “a settlement that had existed for centuries” had not even existed for a few decades.
Despite the legal determinations, the state decided on a generous arrangement. Every Bedouin family is entitled to a plot of land in one of the Bedouin towns built in the region where they live, and there are plans for the construction of many more towns. These arrangements attempt to approximate the Bedouin tradition and heritage as much as possible.
For this reason a plot of land in a Bedouin town is nearly one dunam (1/4 acre), which is much larger than the plots in other towns. On the other hand, this is an arrangement that is in line with accepted practices in modern countries, in which land ownership requires registration, and in which human habitations require infrastructure, running water, connection to the electricity grid and paved roads.
This is no simple matter. There is a clash between a nomadic tradition and a modern country. Israel is not the only country that, over the course of its establishment, has had to contend with the claims of population groups with different lifestyles. Australia had issues with its aborigines, in the U.S. it was the Native Americans, in Scandinavian countries it is still the Samis who complain about historical and current deprivation, and many other countries have gypsies.
The propaganda film does not present the tough dilemmas. The film makes life easy for itself. Israel is portrayed as the cruel anti-Semitic ruler, expelling and disinheriting and destroying and robbing, and the poor Bedouins stand helpless in the face of this abysmal cruelty. There is nothing like the expulsion of the Jews in Fiddler on the Roof to accentuate the tragedy, and to play on the most sensitive heartstrings of the world in general, and of Jews in the U.S. in particular. Here we have one more proof of what Israel is doing to its minorities. Here is one more proof of apartheid, racism, and other accusations from the familiar list.
There is, of course, just one problem with the plot of this film. It never happened.
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