The Promise has an 'anti-Israel premise'

Portrayal: Actress Claire Foy as the British teenager Erin in Channel 4’s four-part series, The Promise

Portrayal: Actress Claire Foy as the British teenager Erin in Channel 4’s four-part series, The Promise

A senior Israeli diplomat says that a drama series about British Mandate Palestine is the worst example of anti-Israel propaganda he has ever seen on television.

The final episode of The Promise will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday.

Amir Ofek, press attaché at the Israeli embassy in London, said film-maker Peter Kosminsky's story had "created a new category of hostility towards Israel".

Mr Ofek has viewed the full series and said it was "quite upsetting to see.

"In my 15-year career I have never seen anything like it in the western media. I'm aware of artistic freedom, but nevertheless I feel this is worse than anything I've seen."

But Channel 4 rejected the diplomat's criticism, saying the programme was a "welcome addition to British television's coverage of this tragic conflict".

The Promise features Len, a fictional British soldier serving as part of the Mandate peacekeeping force in 1940s Palestine, and his granddaughter Erin, who retraces his steps in modern-day Israel.

Mr Ofek said the portrayal of key Jewish characters consisted almost entirely of people who lied to each other and could not be trusted.

"You can prove that some scenes are historically accurate, but when you create a profile and show this to the viewers, it's obvious there was a special attempt to demonise Israelis."

He said images of wealthy Israeli families with swimming pools were not representative of Israeli society.

"In my time here, we have never had as many complaints from people as we have had for this programme. When I asked people if they had watched all the episodes they said they had given up because it was so upsetting.

"They used every tool available - visuals especially - to undermine the Israeli perspective."

Noru Tsalic, an Israeli viewer living in Britain, said: "The Promise is nothing but anti-Israel propaganda disguised as art. It seeks to misinform, denigrate and demonise. "

When the series launched, Jewish director Peter Kosminsky said it was made "primarily for and about Britons".

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said the central characters "consistently and sympathetically present a contemporary Israeli perspective," and the Holocaust was "powerfully evoked" to explain the longing for a Jewish homeland. "To do justice to such a complex and sensitive subject, Mr Kosminsky and his team spoke to hundreds of people from all sides in the conflict.

"Nobody escapes scrutiny in this film; different parts of the story reflect well and badly on the Palestinians, the Israelis and the British."

Last updated: 11:06am, April 27 2011