A number of friends have pointed out a slightly-unsettling-in-a-way-you-can't-put-your-finger-on-it aspect of the 60 Minutes piece last Sunday night on occupied East Jerusalem: the affable spokesman for the religious occupiers, with an American accent, is one Doron Spielman.
And Doron Spielman is also featured in the documentary Budrus, as a spokesman for the Israeli government as it builds its wall on Palestinian lands. The same guy, a few years earlier.
Different roles. But in both cases, Spielman is smoothly defending human rights violations. In the first case, stealing people's land so as to make Jews safe, he says; too bad if Palestinians lose their land, we are saving Israelis' lives. Then, as international director of development for the City of David, he crows to Lesley Stahl about the "return of the Jewish people to Israel after thousands of years..."
Stahl lets him bleat nationalist cant about King David, Abraham, and the Jewish people. "This tunnel is 3850 years old. This is exactly original... This is the original old flooring.. The whole beginning of life in ancient Jerusalem happened from this little spring which is nestled in this little cave..."
As Matt Duss wrote in a note he shared:
Doron Spielman's essentially taking the same approach in both. In Budrus, it's Israeli security -- as arbitrarily defined by Israel, of course -- that's paramount, and there can be no questioning of it, even by the end, when the route of the wall has somehow magically been changed without compromising that security. In the 60 mins segment, it's Jewish history that's paramount, and there can be no questioning of the rights of Jews to excavate and establish their historic claim. In both cases, the rights of actual living human beings are treated as, at best, collateral damage.
Oh and here he is on Al-Jazeera as an IDF spokesman during the Gaza onslaught.
I don't know why I find it so unsettling. Because the story changes so completely from one line of crap to another... Because neither Budrus nor 60 makes an effort to interrogate Spielman's personal investment, his privileged emigration to this neocolonialist project... Or because he reminds me of those other cold American shapeshifters, Daniel Gordis, Ron Dermer, Dore Gold, Michael Oren, and Benjamin Netanyahu, who go from suburban privilege to militaristic religious nationalism in a New York second...
Or maybe it's just the feeling of being lied to...
Yes and what are Spielman's archaelolgical bona fides for his stretchers about Abraham and David walking those stones. Does he have any training besides nationalist indoctrination? Does anyone even care? Where is Shlomo Sand, who was derided as "political" when his book was published here? As if his political values are not different from Spielman's, and eminently superior.