Doug Anderson, the Sydney Morning Herald's resident square eyes, gives Peter Kosminsky's riveting drama, The Promise, the thumbs-up - and me a few laughs:
"The best drama series on television at present is this lacerating story about a feckless British teenager who runs away to Israel when her best friend, Liz, is called up for national service with the Israel Defence Forces - today's equivalent of the Irgun and the Haganah."
You said it, Doug! You should know that no less a Zionist than Churchill called the Irgun "the vilest gangsters." (See my 26/12/09 post A Murky Legacy) So, with your and Winston's blessing, I'll cap this off with a little syllogism: The IDF is today's Irgun. The Irgun were the vilest gangsters. Therefore, the IDF are the vilest gangsters. Neat, eh?
"Erin is 18 and has with her a diary compiled by her grandfather, Len. After serving with Allied forces during the liberation of German concentration camps at the end of World War II, grandad was posted to Palestine where his duties included helping to manage the foundation of Israel."
Managing the foundation of Israel? Oh, really? Churchill again, Doug. The old boy, who referred to the end of the British mandate period as a "Hell-disaster," would've choked on his cigar over your little circumlocution. I would have thought the more modern expression 'clusterfuck' not only more appropriate but more you, as in '... where his duties included mopping up after Britain's clusterfuck in Palestine'.
"His work was fraught with conflicts of every imaginable kind and Erin discovers that contentious issues in 1947 are just as potent 60 odd years later. Division and anger are continuous despite the tranquility and generosity she finds with Liz's family. Erin is just a wafty teenager really but her intuitive sense of conscience and a rapport with her grandad conspire to make the endless conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians very personal."
Endless conflict? Doug, must you keep on putting your foot in it? Seems like only yesterday you were banging on inanely about "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth... in perpetuity," and declaring this an "intractable dispute" for which "neither [side] can claim the high moral ground." (See my 2/7/09 post The Palestinian Golan Heights) Hopefully, The Promise will help dispel this wafty teenage illusion of yours and teach you that the conflict has a recent, colonial, history, thanks first to the Brits, and now to the Yanks, and that even seemingly intractable colonial problems sooner or later undergo, and must undergo, a decolonisation process.
"She isn't sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate the complex politics but morality isn't logical and in following her feelings, Erin finds herself exposed to the same kind of ethical and moral issues that old Len faced in his unenviable role. This is powerful stuff, distilling enormous difficulties to a deeply personal level where conscience alone cannot determine the outcome. Peter Kosminsky's series is manifestly even-handed but it's hard not to feel that the Palestinians have been screwed - just as the European Jews were screwed during the Holocaust."
No, you're right for once, Doug. But you've gotta resist that feeling, OK? Thinking such a thing won't get you anywhere. In fact, you could be called an anti-Semite! True! Thankfully, help is at hand. Just learn the following neat little poem by heart and recite it over and over and over again till that crazy feeling about the Palestinians having been screwed has vanished:
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.
North Korea is the only democracy in Asia.
The moon is made of green cheese.
Benjamin Netanyahu is a man of peace.
Attila the Hun was a man of peace.
My dog speaks 5 languages.
Zionism is not racism.
Apartheid was not racism.
The Earth is flat.
The U.S. is a peace-loving country.
The mafia is a peace-loving organisation.
The sun rises in the west.
Gillard is not Obama's poodle.
Buddy was not Clinton's labrador.
The Pope is not a Catholic.
"This isn't a historical treatise but it invites viewers to arrive at a more informed viewpoint based on facts, matters of expediency and the rather elastic concept of a fair crack of the whip." (9/12/11)
By George, I think he's got it!