Louis Theroux – Ultra Zionists Review: Jew You!

February 3, 2011 by  
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LOUIS THEROUX – ULTRA ZIONISTS: Thursday 3rd February, BBC2, 9pm ALERT ME

If ever there was a troubled subject that could be opened up by Louis Theroux’s brilliant brand of Gonzo journalism, then it is the acrimonious dispute between Jewish settlers and the Palestinian people of the West Bank. Obviously ‘acrimonious’ doesn’t quite cover it, but there’s enough web space devoted to that subject to stop a squadron of Israeli tanks. Louis’ disarming style of reporting might be cleverly confrontational, but as always his goal is to get to the real stories behind all the religious fanaticism – and he’s good at it.

Anyone who has any interest in the incendiary subject matter will be prepared for the spoutings of the Ultra-Zionists mentioned in the title. Some of them are rather sombre, but you can tell that even the most reasonable among them (or those conscious enough to understand the power of a television camera) are quietly steeled by a cold and unshakable determination that God has chosen their people. Of course others work themselves into a frenzy as they talk to Theroux and they seem all the more crazier standing next to Louis as he works his trademark affability to great effect. As questioning methods go, it’s pretty impressive. Not quite as impressive as the arm on some of the Palestinian kids though, one lad picks out Israeli soldiers with ease from at least 50 metres…

As the programme progresses, there are a couple of themes that keep coming up. First of all, there are a staggering amount of American accents to be heard amongst the Zionists that Louis encounters, from both the residents and tourists alike. The intertwining of Jewish and American culture is famous (just ask Mel Gibson’s local bartender) but we see groups of American tourists arriving in trouble hotspots by the bus-load. The pilgrims claim their presence is ideological and not political. They are of course, mistaken..

Another point of interest is the way Louis’s chief Israeli guide refuses to discuss any of the finances involved in bringing the Jewish settlers into the area. He won’t say what they pay in rent, how much he claims the nation of Israel paid the Arab inhabitants for the land (payment which is denied by every Palestinian the camera crew meet) or how much money is spent on security forces. “These people are here for ideological purposes alone..” he claims, but the bloke he is speaking for doesn’t look too happy about the attacks his family are forced to endure. “We are here today, this is the Jewish homeland and there’s never been a Palestinian people..” says Daniel Luria who encourages rich Jewish donors to buy up parts of the West Bank for settlers. “Do you think there’s a chance you might be a religious extremist?” asks Louis. “No!” says an affronted Luria.

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TLDR? sorry says:

Hello all,

There is a point that many of you seem to be missing, probably from lack of information. Most Israelis oppose ‘settling’. It is viewed as a nuisance, a small core of irresponsible fanatics who do this to hinder the peace process. Israelis, who would have nothing to do with these settlements, are forced to protect them during military service. Substantial amounts of tax money are thrown away to build infrastructure for these places, etc.

Why is this the case? Israel is a parliamentary democracy, with many parties catering to small sectors. Because of this, the larger parties depend on these smaller ones to stay in power, and so small sectors of the populace gain considerable power. The current ruling party isn’t the one that received the most votes, but the one which was willing to yield the furthest to the religious parties’ demands.

Regarding the “greater” conflict and the question of Israel’s right to exist: most Israelis would get defensive when confronted with this issue, but can you blame them? The truth is that even if our forefathers made a mistake coming here, going back to whence we came from is not an option for most people. Why, you ask? Well, personally I will have to immigrate to Iraq, a country that will not allow it (not to mention that going there would be a death sentence). Mind you, cases such as this are not the exception. In other cases, where people’s ancestors came from the western world, immigration policies still apply. Lastly, you may not know this, but there has been a substantial population of Jews living in Palestine for hundreds of years.

My point is: should solving the Jew’s problems come at the expense of Palestinians? No. However, there is not much that can be done by this point, short of mass suicide. It is obvious that some people think this solution makes sense, but I’ll let you be the judge of their humanity. A real solution would be gradual normalization with the Arab world, which will serve to curb nationalism, eventually allowing Israel to become a citizen state instead of a nation state.

p.s.
I have not addressed fallacies in the Palestinian narrative not because there are none, but because in those cases I’ve learned that stating this fact or the other is pointless. Written above is simply my account of internal Israeli politics, which people internationally are understandably oblivious to. We should focus on solving issues as they are now, because history ultimately means nothing. The sooner we put history aside, the sooner things in the middle east improve.

Lennon says:

@ ruth

It was a combination of what he said and how he said is what pissed people off. “there’s nothing…. Nothing that you or the world could do about it……nothing”.

People would hate the jewish community if all their mentality was like his. unfortunately that’s what it kinda looks like at the moment having watched this programme, and after reading some of the comments you have posted.

Ruth says:

@Greg, unfortunately you’re probably right. In the US, there’s Hillary Clinton trying to sort things out (I don’t have much faith there…but at least someone’s trying).

Again, I have no problem with people who voice their opinions about the Israeli govt or the IDF. And extremists or “ultra” anything (zionist or Palistinian sympathizers) have to accept the consequences/criticism of their radical actions.

But I DO NOT fall into any of these categories. I’m a Jew. And so many people just posted pure biggoted hatrid toward me!

And these armchair spectators who justify hate-filled comments because they’re “frustrated” after watching a 1-hour tv show that they might even have stumbled upon by accident…

Almost every post here made a giant leap…that Theroux’s Ultra Zionists represent all Jews. (My favorite comment the person who has lost sympathy for holocaust survivors because she saw Jews being mean on tv).

Was WWII really that long ago? Shouldn’t anti-semitism be a non-issue (or at least a seperate issue from the mess in Jerusalem).

You have a very good point, Lennon, about “arrogance sparking anti-Semitism.” I thought the Australian guy was arrogant too. But I don’t hate Jews because I saw one arrogant one on tv.

Just like the rest of the world doesn’t hate black people just because they saw one in The Sun arrested for a crime.

Right?

Lennon says:

@Ruth

I can see how some would see this programme as being biased towards Palestinians.

However most if not all the Jewish settlers that were interviewed carried the same notion. “This is our land, Given to us by God”. these are the type of comments that both sides misinterprets, so obviously if someone says those kind of comments, sometimes in an almost arrogant way then it will spark anti-Semitism.

I’m not condoning racist comments about Jewish people having big noses etc. but you have to understand that some people say these things because they are frustrated.

In my opinion Louis’ programme didn’t spark the anti-semitism you see here, but the answers that the Jewish people (including yourself) have given.

“this is our land”, “we are the chosen people”.
and your comment “But the hatrid in so many posts from people who are neither Jordanian nor Palistinian nor have ever been to that region…frankly, it makes me glad I have a homeland, in case some other European country decideds to try to exterminate us again.”

As “Tiv” says

He could have answered but he chose not to, just as he said nothing when being attacked for being an atheist by the jewish extremist towards the end of the piece. That’s his style – not to impose his own views on his films but to draw his interviewees into expressing theirs, leaving the viewer to make up his/her own mind.

P.S. also the hysterical suicide bomb threats in my opinion wasn’t meant to be a direct threat, to me he was merely tryin to point out cause and effect. e.g. you keep pushing someone they’re bound to retaliate.

Hann Ah says:

Encourage the world by not concerning yourself with the wars of men.

yoyi says:

I am catholic so now jew or muslim or biased towards any of them but I do think that the situation of the palestininas in Israel is unjustified and I just wish that all these extremist jewis pay for the crimes they are comitting. They are doing to Palestininans the same that the Nazis did to them and worse. I used to be very sympathetic to the holocaust victims but now I don’t know what to think. It is a shame.

Steve says:

@Ruth:

Not everyone is anti. Most don’t understand the situation. As for Louis Theroux’s program, whilst being enlightening on some levels, I feel it could have sparked antisemitism in the uninitiated and I’m sad about that. As I said, the issue is Zionism.

Please bear in mind that the UK isn’t a ‘christian’ Kingdom per se. We have many cultures and beliefs now and some of those are anti Zionist. Those who have an axe to grind will speak up.

The apostle Paul tells us to love the Jews. I do that. You held the scriptures. I find it amazing that many Christian Zionists worship Jews and ignore their Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ.

My ideal is a state where both can exist with equal rights and with respect for each other. Utopic? Yes. But it depends on those in the land.

You may not want to look into this, but the parable of the good Samaritan speaks volumes. A man lying naked and half dead in the street. No clothes to identify his ethnicity. Unconsious. Not able to be identified by race or creed. Would we help a Jew in need? A muslim? We need to ask ourselves a question.

@Notajew:

I’m not trying to justify anything. I’m fine with scriptures being allegorical, although within those lie the greatest moral teaching ever. So the red sea didn’t part, Noah didn’t put a bunch of animals in a ship, Jesus didn’t turn water into wine.

You are entirely missing the point.

Faith.

G-d bless

Greg says:

……….meant to say, “in avoiding an open display………”!

Notajew says:

@Steve:

Please don’t try to justify anything through your own nonsense interpretation of completely fictional allegory. Only the truly crazy believe in a literal interpretation of the bible. Any other interpretation is just fanciful conjecture.

You can’t prove anything, let alone ownership of land through use of these silly texts you call the bible. What a sad state of affairs that the USA, the most technologically advanced country in the world – a country that owes everything to science and education has so many religious crazies. It’s the most distressing and peculiar anomaly of the modern world.

Greg says:

I have a lot of sympathy for Ruth’s standpoint. Some of the remarks here are certainly approaching bigotry and, as a Northern Ireland Catholic, I certainly recognise bigotry! It’s not a way to win an argument.
I started teaching history in 1974. I had great trouble in not avoiding an open display of admiration for the Israeli people who had made the desert bloom and faced up to so many attempts to dislodge them.
Thirty-five years later, my attitudes have changed dramatically.
I have watched as succeeding Israeli (notice I avoid saying “Jewish”) governments have treated Palestinians in a way that is not very far removed from the way in which Jews were treated in 1930s Europe.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the world is watching, I suspect that many Israelis, and in particular many members of the military-inspired Governments and the IDF, would have taken that treatment to the next stage.
The stage that Hitler reached.

Ruth says:

@Steve I agree with you on all your points! You’re 100% correct about the land of Negev and no one in these disputed areas is being treated correctly (by each other or by the Israeli govt).

It’s a huge mess and I won’t pretend for a second that I have any answer on how to begin to sort it out!

The Bible is a great book for theories, general guidelines, moral teachings, but not so great for modern-day map-making or politics

I really wanted my main point to underscore my shock at the ill-informed and hate-filled comments.

While Theroux’s program was clearly biased toward the Palestinians (freedom of speech, he has ever right to make and air that program), I actually think it did a very good job illustrating the sublime ridiculousness of the sitution. The stupid rock throwing, the dumb cat & mouse ending in tear-gas and even the hysterical suicided bomber threats (which will likely never be backed up) of a sleep-deprived and frustrated father.

I saw a lot of tired, frustrated people on both sides. I saw extremists with wierd plans that don’t seem too effective in addressing the bigger picture (but isn’t that the hallmark of extremism and exactly who Theroux always uses in his programs. It’s to be expected when tuning in…you’re not going to meet any balanced voices of reasons in a Theroux program, ever).

But man, these comments (and comments on other sites) scare the hell out of me. I really was living in a bubble and had no idea that non-arabs, regular ol’ UK citizens, hate me and blame me for the problems in the middle east.

If you’re Jordanian, Palastinian or many other Arabic offspring…we’ve got issues to work out.

But if you’re a regular run-of-the mill UK citizen tuning in for a bit of telly, and you hate Jews… well, I’m shocked and scared. And I want to know who you are. I had no idea my kindly anglo-saxon, Church of England following neighbor might hate me and just hasn’t mentioned it yet.

Again, if you saw this program and you hate Jews, please come tell us how you feel in person.

Steve says:

@ruth:

First of all, I don’t believe the people living today in Israel are not G-d’s chosen people. I’m a christian anti zionist. I am not a racist and I am not anti jew or Israel or against their right to a sovereign nation. However, I am against the Zionist regime and against those Christians who follow the poor theology that believes modern day Israel is a result of G-d’s promises.

However, from a strictly Hebrew perspective:

Read Genesis 17. There is the covenant of circumcision. The act of physical circumcision was a sign of faithfulness to G-d. this is explained later in Leviticus. Faithfulness to God is the key. Are the people of Israel faithful to G-d?

With regard to the land: Israel currently occupies the land in the area of Negev. In the scripture’s G-d forbade the people of Israel from settling in this land as it was promised to Esau and his decendants. They are currently in disobediance to G-d from a land perspective, but made their own claims based on Divine mandate.

The scriptures also say that Israelites should treat non Israelites with equal rights and apportion land equally with non believers. Is this happpening?

The whole theme of scripture is faithfulness to G-d. Paradise: Adam and Eve fell and were cast out. The 1st captivity: Israel worshipped idols and were cast out to serve as slaves in Egypt. The second captivity: They fell again and were held captive in Babylon.

Do you see a pattern? There are conditions for the Jewish people. faithfulness and you can live in the land, but rebel and you’re out.

The way I see it, if we are talking from a purely Hebrew perspective, the nation of Israel are seriously at odds with G-d.

G-d bless you.

Steve

Ruth says:

Hey everyone, when the Bible says that Jews are the “chosen people” do you realize what that means? They weren’t chosen as God’s favorites who deserve a free piece of land 2000 years later. Jews don’t believe in heaven or that sort of afterlife. They made a “contract” with God to carry out his work on Earth. They were the group He chose (or technically, they didn’t have much of a choice, because according to scripture, he was holding a mountain over their head when He asked).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_as_a_chosen_people

Also, does no one realize the difference between “Jews” (people) and the IDF (a government/army).

Who among us (Jew or not) in any country is 100% happy with the decisions and tactics of their government? I doubt anyone. And what can one person do? Not a lot? What can a small group do? Maybe a little more.

I doubt you’ll find anyone (Jewish or otherwise) who will stand up and say “I just love the Isreali government and their way of handling things!” But to blame me (a Jew) for the actions of a government in a country that I’ve never visited or lived in? That’s pretty big hateful leap.

Do the Jews deserve war reparations after their genocide? Absolutely. Do the Rawandans. Absolutely yes. But the UK/UN isn’t doing anything about that now are they? So why did they work to establish Isreal (10 years after WWII was over).

Read about it here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Israel

Wikipedia being the most simplistic and unscholarly source of info online….but these comments! They just show ignorance. So here’s a quick look-up for your. Inform yourselves!

And Mr. NotAJew, before you make anymore purile comments about “big Jew noses” remember someone might just pop you in yours. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Or have the courage to walk up to a Jew with a big nose and tell them you don’t like them. Then see what happens. It’s easy to spout hate rhetoric behind the anonymity of your keyboard, isn’t it?

Come out anti-Semites! I’d like to see who you are. Come tell me you hate me to my face, please!

Notajew says:

The real issue at hand which you are all ignoring is religion. The Israeli jew justifies the unjustifiable via a belief in bronze age myth and superstition. Until we all grow out of this childish delusion you’ll have religious nonsense being a catalyst to grotesque abuses of human rights. I pity the jew, with his delusions of grandeur living in the sweaty squalor of Palestine, and being forced to live next door to the very people they hate. What a wonderful sanctuary the Jews have found for themselves. Talk about cutting off your big jewish nose to spite your jew face!

walt kovacs says:

“an irrational paranoia”

as israel is surrounded by those that wish to destroy her and her people, and that “arab lad” has absolutely no problem saying that it wasnt just the west bank that they want, but the whole of israel, i dare say their paranoia is far from irrational.

and generalizing the comments of a few onto an entire population is pure bigotry…no matter how you slice it

Anonymous says:

“It’s either this or back to the ovens of Auschwitz?

-A textbook example of horrific past events used in an attempt to sway current sympathy for those who, when we get down to the basics of the matter, are engaged in a petty numbers game driven by the ideological sense of entitlement.

To quote “Ruth”, and to bring into question her views, should anyone be silenced for criticising Jewish Israeli tactics of illegal butchery and barbarism, or even worse, simply ignored as one of the “anti-semites out of the woodwork”?

Many suffered during the Second World War, but the holocaust was not solely a Jewish extermination, nor should it be cheapened as a bartering chip or a macabre “Get out of Blame Free” card to exonerate present and future crimes.

john says:

As Ruth demonstrates most Jews cannot tell the difference between anti-semitism and the legitimate outrage caused by the outrageous actions of the Jewish supremecists in Palestine. Those people are no better than the Nazi’s; they have a grotesquely arrogant sense of entitlement and an irrational paranoia that causes them to dehumanise innocent people. The very concept of a “chosen people” is racist, and it inspires racism from these backwards brainwashed idiots

Tiv says:

“he couldn’t answer because he would do the same thing as what the palestinians who are being oppressed are doing.”

He could have answered but he chose not to, just as he said nothing when being attacked for being an atheist by the jewish extremist towards the end of the piece. That’s his style – not to impose his own views on his films but to draw his interviewees into expressing theirs, leaving the viewer to make up his/her own mind. I applaud him for that.

anti-israel says:

‘there is nothing,nothing that you or the world can do about it’. bigheaded,arrogant jew. time will come and you will regret those words. time shall come.

Ruth says:

Wow. These comments are shocking. It’s good to know that antisemitism is rife and the ill-informed don’t hesitate to post online.

Theroux has never been known for being unbiased. His “schtick” is to affably interview extremists (indeed, these are “ultra zionists”). He stuck to his formula and the results were interesting.

But the comments on this blog are shocking.

I am a Jew, American-born, a Zionist and I think it’s perfectly reasonable for any thinking person to have empathy for anyone living in squalor, under curfews or Kafka-esque sterile zones (yes, even Arabs & Palestinians). But to blame Jews, as so many people are doing in their comments. Wow.

Many comments indicate unawareness about Isreal’s genisis (or that the British headed the committee to decide where the new Jewish State Homeland should be located). Did such basic and recent history really needed to be included in this program? Apparently so.

But the hatrid in so many posts from people who are neither Jordanian nor Palistinian nor have ever been to that region…frankly, it makes me glad I have a homeland, in case some other European country decideds to try to exterminate us again.

Thank you for BBC for bringing the anti-semites out of the woodwork. I really thought Jew-hating went out with WWII in the UK. I see I’m naïve.

mohammed says:

as the palestinian lad said at the beginning of the programme if you friends family and children are being killed by the idf what would you do, to louis theroux, he couldn’t answer because he would do the same thing as what the palestinians who are being oppressed are doing. the un resolution counts for nothing as does the actions of the west who so openly preach freedom of rights, democracy and human rights but cannot tell their foe israel to comply with this, so as i see it no end to this conflict as long as israel, usa and the west treat the palestinians as humans with respect and as equals, seems to me that the west want this to go on for whatever twisted reasons they’ve got which is beyond our understanding

Adam Sparks says:

“It’s either this or back to the ovens of Auschwitz?
“The christians have come to serve us”

These jews think they are unstoppable. I dont understand why the chrisitans are seving them. They are not even permitted to enter simple food production sites.
“The christians have come to serve us”. Just shows who are the ones trying to take over the world.

AntiZionist says:

“It’s either this or back to the ovens of Auschwitz?
“The christians have come to serve us”