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1913: Seeds of Conflict

World  (tags: middle-east, documentary, Seeds of Conflict, Ben Loeterman, Ottoman Empire, Ottomans, palestine, jews, christians, muslims, druze )

- 1449 days ago -
Breaking new ground, a one-hour documentary directed by filmmaker Ben Loeterman, explores the divergent social forces growing in Palestine before World War I, when Arabs & Jews co-existed in harmony as Ottomans, each yearning for a land to call their own.


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Evelyn B (63)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 1:53 am
For those outside the US - we can only see the trailer and a discussion

1913: Seeds of Conflict Trailer
There's also an interesting discussion between historians Conversation between Beshara Doumani, Issam Nassar and Salim Tamari

PBS showed the documentary recently.
PBS - A Closer Look at 1913: Seeds of Conflict

About the Program

It is the overlooked legacy of World War I. 1913: Seeds of Conflict looks at the moment of transformation when Ottoman rule in Palestine was still strong, the identities of Jerusalemites were fluid and few could imagine the conflict that would dominate the region for the next century. Until now, the public and scholars have focused on the British Mandate as the matchstick of the Middle East conflict. Breaking new ground, this film focuses on the moment just before World War I, when Arab and Jewish nationalism first made contact, and the seeds of conflict were first sewn.
More About the Program

Our story’s setting is multi-cultural, multi-lingual Ottoman Palestine, a colorful society being pulled between medieval and modern influences, with community alliances built on personal ties. The district of Jerusalem (later southern Palestine) is sensing growing nationalism and perceived threats to Ottoman sovereignty by European "foreigners." Zionism, the European-based movement for a Jewish homeland, and Arab nationalism — still nascent — are the forces that propel our narrative.

We explore this seminal moment in history through the eyes of those who helped shape it first hand. By constantly shifting the story’s point of view, our audience will be drawn into the promises and challenges of the period.

Through the diaries of our characters and fresh scholarship on the period, we come to better understand and feel Palestine of the early 20th century. There’s a land boom afoot, as Jewish Zionists and Christian pilgrims eagerly buy up property. The outrageous prices they pay fuel absentee landowners’ willingness to sell. The result pulls the land out from under the feet of tenant farmers who work on it just as their ancestors have for generations. They are suddenly thrown off by Jewish Europeans who understand neither their language nor their culture. These fellahin (peasants) are the first Arabs to clash with the Zionist settlers. Their experiences promote a new Arab national consciousness.

Meanwhile, the prosperity of Ottoman Jews is a welcome contrast to the persecution, pogroms and anti-Semitic violence that is driving European Jews in growing numbers to seek refuge in Palestine. Devoted equally to his Ottoman citizenship and his Jewish identity, Albert Antebi is forced by 1913 to choose between the two. The overlapping identities Jews have comfortably held are becoming suddenly mutually exclusive.

1913: Seeds of Conflict is an admittedly arbitrary glimpse that captures the Palestine of a hundred years ago. Scholars are looking at it as the key to understanding what has happened since, and to rethink issues that today seems so mired and intractable.

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 1:59 am
Although outside the US we can't see the full programme, on the PBS page PBS - A Closer Look at 1913: Seeds of Conflict it is possible to see much more than the trailer ....

There are a series of clips from the full documentary (under Watch 1913: Seeds of Conflict 3 / 6 videos):
Clip | Ashkenazi Jews Arrive in Palestine
Clip | Establishing Roots in Palestine 3:04 - 1913: Seeds of Conflict
Clip | A Zionist Slogan 2:36 - 1913: Seeds of Conflict
Clip | A Return to the Land 3:14 - 1913: Seeds of Conflict

Rose B (141)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 3:18 am
I am the same as Karlheinz

Sheryl G (359)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 10:12 am
I live in the USA and just watched the full version. This can be found at the link below.
1913 Seeds of Conflict

A well worth watch and highly recommended by anyone wanting to learn the beginnings of how we got to where we are now.

I suggest this to anyone who thinks they might know, there is mention of film that was lost until the seventies. I think it placed a very fair perspective on things, but at the same time, history IS history, so no matter what one feels is their present take on things in the Middle East this is worthy of a viewing.

Sheryl G (359)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 10:17 am
Oh I meant to say, the link I gave is I hope that those who couldn't access it might be able to through the new link.

I recall Evelyn that one of the most vicious campaigns against the American Indian started over a cow. Here we have in this film it's over some grapes. Tensions were there, but as they say is always something that ignites into full bloom hostilities.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 10:18 am

Carol R (11)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 10:23 am
Indeed: the key to understanding what has happened since, and to rethink issues that today seems so mired and intractable.
Looking forward to watching this a little later today. Thanks Evelyn.

fly bird (26)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 12:07 pm
Thanks, Evelyn. Bookmarked!

Angelika R (143)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 12:51 pm
I was looking for the trailor yesterday but couldn't find it on the PBS site, only a 30 second clip and those separate videos you've listed above, thanks Evelyn.
Will have to watch all of this later.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 12:58 pm
I am going to watch this video later. Thanks for sharing Evelyn.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 2:30 pm
And it did come back to haunt them. For the Arabs are not donkeys, they have pride. And they are not "rootless" and not "indistinguishable from a rock, a tree and a sheep"!
As derogative as that sounds, it's still harmless compared to the mind maps of some of today's zionists, including some we get to meet here on frequent occasion.

John De Avalon (36)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 3:11 pm
So Arabs WILLINGLY sold large portions of land to Jews and Christians - though at grossly inflated prices.

Legally sold, legally bought, legally theirs!

John De Avalon (36)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 3:24 pm
If you like films of that period, then Google 'Ravished Armenia' (also known as 'Auction of Souls') The film was made in 1919, the scenes are left to imagination rather than graphic, but it still shocks ...
The inhumanity of man.

The Greek Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide and the Armenian Genocide started in 1914-15. So to make out all was peace and love in the Ottoman Empire is disingenuous. There was a serious undercurrent of religious intolerance and hatred.

Research these genocides and you'll see where ISIS got their inspiration.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 3:44 pm
Arab thief steals grapes. Shomer guard (a Russian Jew) gives a chase and beats up the Arab. That's how the conflict started...

Oh, those Russians!

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 4:17 pm
Land grab in action.

Shirley S (187)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 7:01 pm
A matter of "spoils going to the richest bidder".

Janet B (0)
Sunday July 5, 2015, 7:50 pm

Evelyn B (63)
Monday July 6, 2015, 2:28 am
Thanks, Wolf! Good to see the full documentary - while it is there ... I suspect it will be removed :>(

John - some landowners sold land, especially early on when there was not a distrust based on the way some of the early Jewish immigrants then behaved with the indigenous people living on the land (see, for example, 17m into the film), but this does not mean that there has not been land grabbing. It does not mean that there were no Palestinians on the land ... and the refugees are not the wealthy absentees whose work and business took them elsewhere.

John De Avalon (36)
Monday July 6, 2015, 2:53 am
Tel Aviv was built on bought land. A large area of scrub turned into a thriving metropolis .... You have to hand it to the Israelis.

Winn Adams (179)
Monday July 6, 2015, 6:50 am

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday July 7, 2015, 8:21 am
I'll be happy to check it out if I have a chance, but I am more than a bit concerned by the brief description: People in the area generally did not identify as Ottomans. They were subjects of the empire, but even today maintaining any national identity is far from a universal thing in the Middle East. I'm concerned that the whole thing may be done through too thick a Western lens to properly comprehend the history of the region.

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday July 7, 2015, 8:50 am
I'd suggest you check the documentary out yourself, Stephen. Given the old filmed records, the result is a serious attempt to capture the different perspectives ... and how they came about.

I don't think anyone identifies as "Ottomans" - but as citizens of the Ottoman Empire ...

And you are very correct in pointing out that "national identity" is something not fully integrated in thinking .... in the Middle East and elsewhere. Citizen of ..... yes, but the concept of "nationality" is not really fully integrated. The French hit serious problems with this when establishing "Lebanon" as a geo-political entity ... and the challenges continue to surface. Which doesn't mean that the Lebanese don't have strong ties to the land of their ancesters ... they DO, even with families who have been living in Africa or the Americas for several generations .... but the strong tie is to the family home/ village. Many still seek their brides/ grooms through the family/ village network .... And family/village means patriarchal/ clientist/ religious framework rather than "nationality". History, culture, traditions - those are strong, and source of pride.

This issue of "nationality" is discussed in the film.

I think you'll find the documentary well worth watching.

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday July 14, 2015, 4:02 pm
Wolf kindly shared a link to a youtube version, accessible more widely ... but his comment has vanished - and the youtube access also, sadly

Darren Woolsey (218)
Wednesday July 15, 2015, 12:09 am
You might be able to watch this version; I can't because of region restrictions:

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday July 15, 2015, 3:28 am
As you already suspected it would be, Evelyn... what conclusions should/could we now draw from that?
(also concerning the removal of Wolf's post from thread!)
It's not that the YT *access* has vanished but the user who uploaded it has removed it. (assumingly forced to do so)

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday July 15, 2015, 3:51 am
Can no one watch the full documentary other than myself on the live link I left in my comment above of Sunday July 5, 2015, 10:12 am?

Evelyn B (63)
Wednesday July 15, 2015, 5:38 am
Exactly the same problem, Darryl! Those in the US can see either, I believe -
Dandelion - the pbs site link you posted has geographic access restrictions
And those outside the US may just have to watch the trailer ... or buy the DVD!
OR - monitor Vimeo & youtube for uploadings (and watch ASAP before it vanishes again!)

I was able to see it on youtube before it was removed again. Powerful & thought-provoking.

By the way - the link to the trailer is at the bottom of the page I posted .... which takes you to
1913: Seeds of Conflict Trailer / Videos

And it can be fn Vimeo directly
Trailer on Vimeo
Where there is also another short clip : PBS 1913: Seeds of Conflict Promo

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday July 15, 2015, 7:04 am
Well the documentary should be able to been seen I think at least in the USA that I left. It is the full documentary not just excerpts or the trailer. I think it was done in a fair and balanced way.

History is history, and sorry if the history doesn't match with what one's preconceived mind set is today.

That is why I think history is important for everyone to really learn and pay attention to......for it explains the "today".....and can also be used as a tool to unravel and help all parties to come to a solution that can settle differences.

But for too many it's easier to continue on in a tit for tat mentality and what is worse, to keep pushing for a goal that was set before they were even born, that has led to the death and destruction of far too many people. The same thing that the Manifest Destiny did to other people in North America.

Bryan S (105)
Thursday July 16, 2015, 2:32 pm
Thanks Evelyn for this very interesting documentary. I just watched in on youtube - and can access the links you and Dandelion posted.

It is certainly a tragedy that things did not progress more in a manner advocated by Albert Antebi who was Jew with roots in Palestine. Chaos, ignorance, fear, and ambition always seem to shap things instead. I don't think the documentary was trying to say that everything was fine and peaceful in the Ottoman Empire, but rather to point out how Jews, Muslims, and Christians did in fact coexist peacefully in the region. I would certainly love to hang out at the coffee shops of Jerusalem in the early 1900's.

And just read this quote when looking up Albert Antebi on wiki:

'I desire to achieve the conquest of Zion by economic means, not politically; the Jerusalem I would cherish is the Jerusalem of history and the spirit, not the modern temporal Jerusalem. I want to be a Jewish deputy in an Ottoman parliament, and not in the Jewish temple of Mount Moriah. Ottoman Jews should have the same rights, responsibilities and hopes as the Jews of England, Germany and France. I wish to create powerful Jewish economic centres embedded in universal democracies. I do not wish to be a subject of a Judean autocracy.'[5]

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday July 16, 2015, 11:32 pm
Thanks, Brian, for the youtube link!

Unfortunely, still got geographical restrictions :>(
"This video contains content from TF1 Antennes, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. "

That's a great quote - But a mindset much more of the Jews whose families had remained in the land between the Med and the Jordan River ("Palestinian Jews") than of those who moved in from Russia & Eastern Europe .. who wanted the land that their religious predecessors had left in the diaspora, but were little interested in blending with the indigenous people. If only there had been a concerted effort to integrate rather than a "separatist" mentality .... water under the bridge, but with repercussions escalating over time. The film is well titled ....

Sheryl G (359)
Friday July 17, 2015, 4:47 am
Yes film is aptly titled. Wish those who continue to push the hatred would of watched, or at least read yours and Bryans last comments here.
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