The story shared by Israel and Palestine has been told in several stunning films, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it told like this.
Nina Paley created this (extremely brief) animated history of the land that was at one time called Israel, Palestine, Canaan and the Levant. She even created this viewer’s guide to make sense of what’s happening.
(Want to dive in deeper? Check out these excellent films.)
Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide
Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!
What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.
Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…
….Assyria controlled it other times.
The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.
Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.
Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!
No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.
Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)
More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.
Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…
…the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…
….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.
Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.
A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.
The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.
The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…
State of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.