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BBC cancels Jerusalem documentary citing "editorial" misfit

The BBC as "quietly removed" a documentary questioning the ancient Jewish exile from Jerusalem

by The Commentator on 26 April 2013 13:11

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A BBC documentary set to air last night has been mysteriously pulled from the broadcaster's line-up and has so far failed to appear on its online iPlayer service.

The programme, entitled, "Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story" was set to air on BBC Four last night at 9pm but was sharply pulled from the line-up in lieu of a programme called, "The Man Who Discovered Egypt" - a repeat of documentary about the British Egyptologist, Flinders Petrie.

The Jerusalem programme was noted by the Guardian's Martin Skegg as, "likely [to] ruffle some feathers" as it deals with the sensitive subject of Jewish exile from Jerusalem in 70AD. The Radio Times website maintains a description of the documentary by Israeli filmmaker Ilan Ziv: 

"The exile of the Jewish people has played a central role in Christian and Jewish theology for nearly 2,000 years, even being mentioned in Israel's national anthem and its declaration of independence. But what if the exile never actually happened?

"This documentary by Ilan Ziv looks at new evidence that suggests the majority of the Jewish people may not have been exiled following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem and the catacombs of Rome, the film invites us to review and rethink our ideas around the exile, raising important ethical questions about its impact on present-day Middle Eastern issues along the way."

The documentary is closely linked to Ziv's feature film, "Exile" which holds a similar description

The BBC told The Commentator over its audience participation telephone service that the film was initially brought in to "supplement" the BBC Four series on archaeology and history but that the station's planning department decided at the last minute that the documentary would not "fit editorially".

The BBC insisted that it "plans to show the programme in the future".

Audiences were left confused by the decision, with some leaving comments on the Radio Times website. "Very angry that this programme has been pulled. What is going on?" wrote one, while another said, "Furious this has been pulled! After all the fuss last about how 'Public interest Arguments' for showing flagship documentary on North Korea will be vehemently defended, but why is this quietly removed?"

Read more on: ilan ziv, Jerusalem, bbc, and Jewish
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