Ilan Ziv: the exile is a myth, and so is Zionism

The Israeli film-maker behind a controversial documentary about the Jewish exile from Israel has told pro-Palestinian campaigners that he believes neither Jews or Palestinians have historical claims to Israel.

Ilan Ziv’s film, Searching for Exile: Truth or Myth, was shown on BBC4 on Sunday.

It claimed that the exile of Jews from Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple was a story created by early Christian theologians, and never happened.

It also portrayed Jewish rituals such as the Passover seder as “exile propaganda” with no biblical roots.

Jews have no historical right to the land of Israel

The documentary was an edited version of Mr Ziv’s original film, which was due to be screened in the summer as part of a series on archaeology, but was withdrawn by the BBC over doubts about its contents.

A panel discussion followed Sunday’s broadcast.

On Monday, Mr Ziv addressed a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign meeting in Manchester, telling his audience that: “The way I look at Zionism is, it was a myth which was created to explain and to organise people at one moment in history and now we are moving on.

“Jews have no historical right [to the land of Israel]. But I would argue that Palestinians also don’t have a historical right. They have civil rights, they have human rights, but have no historical right.”

In a statement issued after the broadcast, the Zionist Federation said that the Mr Ziv’s film had ignored what it described as the “over-abundance of evidence supporting the historical link between the Jewish people and the state of Israel”.

The BBC said it had received only two complaints about the documentary.

Last updated: 8:45pm, November 7 2013