‘NBCUniversal’ pledges not to use occupied Silwan as location for archaeological thriller

Israel/Palestine
on 13 Comments
Palestinian stand in front of a protest tent in Silwan on February 27, 2009. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian stand in front of a protest tent in Silwan on February 27, 2009. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

As we reported here, NBCUniversal and an Israeli company called Keshet are planning to film an Indiana-Jones-style murder mystery called “Dig” that is set in the occupied territories of the Old City of Jerusalem.

While the actual site of the archaeological dig was never announced, we speculated from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat’s involvement in the production and his dedication to digging up biblical sites in the occupied city that the show would find its way to the “City of David” in Silwan, just south of the Old City in East Jerusalem.

The plans led to a civil society initiative to halt the production and generate controversy over NBCUniversal’s plans.

After what it calls “intensive communications” with NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States yesterday received an official statement from NBCUniversal clarifying that NBCUniversal as well as the production company Keshet have no plans to film in Silwan.

According to the statement NBCUniversal provided from Keshet:

“There was no plan made to film the series in the City of David National Park or in the village of Silwan, furthermore, location scouting and planning will not begin until February 2014, and any decisions regarding possible production sites will be made with respect for all concerned parties.”

But the letter is mute on the question of East Jerusalem, which is occupied and the site of other Israeli digs. I have seen the NBCUniversal letter, which includes a promise from the American company:

“NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment reiterates that there are no plans, and there will be no plans, to film “DIG” in the City of David National Park or the village of Silwan,” writes Cory Shields, executive vice president for communications.

 

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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13 Responses

  1. just
    December 21, 2013, 11:39 am

    Well, there is some progress. Perhaps some reality based thought. Thanks for the info.

    I hope for full exposure/disclosure. Otherwise, no more NBCUniversal for me. I guess we’ll just have to see what Keshet has in mind, other than $$$$$$$ at the expense of the Occupied.

    btw– WHOSE archeology are they highlighting????????????

    • just
      December 21, 2013, 11:54 am

      (continued)

      Whose story are they spotlighting? Will they tell the truth or the narrative they want told? Will they be “searching” for the Temple and seek to delegitimize the Dome of the Rock?

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2013, 12:08 pm

        @ just
        You will never see an Indiana Jones movie where’s he being chased by the Stern gang or Irgun. The character hero was designed only to fight various forms of historic Gentile evil. Ditto re any Hollywood hero Brad Pit plays, or Angela’s daddy–gotta be totally pc. As for Angela Jolie, she adopts rainbow kids–does she have an Appalachian adoptee kid? She’s no belated Vanessa Redgrave….More like Jane Fonda?

  2. MHughes976
    December 21, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Let’s hope that it’s a responsible introduction to the uncertainties of Biblical archaeology and the need for balanced judgement, not about diabolical descendants of Amalekites married to strutting Nazis sabotaging discovery of David’s love-letters to Bathsheba.

    • a blah chick
      December 21, 2013, 1:22 pm

      How about this:

      A dewy eyed Jewish American archaeologist comes to Israel to reunite with his Israeli mentor only to discover he’s a right wing nutjob. He discovers that the man is secretly working with a group of settlers and uses his position to plot the destruction of Al Aqsa mosque to herald in the Third Temple era.

      Now I think that would make for a bang up pilot!

      • Krauss
        December 21, 2013, 2:43 pm

        Blah chick, they are trying to do fiction, not pick a scenario which is hard to imagine as fiction.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 21, 2013, 3:53 pm

        you find this hard to imagine:

        the man is secretly working with a group of settlers and uses his position to plot the destruction of Al Aqsa mosque to herald in the Third Temple era.

        please explain. lots of fiction is based on true stories. ever heard of the temple institute? they’d love the destruction of al aqsa.

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2013, 12:18 pm

        @ Krauss
        It’s not hard to imagine as fiction at all. It’s just hard to imagine as a film coming from Hollywood. Don’t you see the difference? The technical skills to make it a romantic, action-filled movie are there.

    • RoHa
      December 21, 2013, 8:56 pm

      “Let’s hope that it’s a responsible introduction to the uncertainties of Biblical archaeology and the need for balanced judgement, not about diabolical descendants of Amalekites married to strutting Nazis sabotaging discovery of David’s love-letters to Bathsheba.”

      Killjoy.

      • MHughes976
        December 22, 2013, 4:10 pm

        Well, I think blah’s storyline is more exciting than mine. I don’t know why Krauss thinks it’s hard to take as fiction – perhaps that it is far too likely to be fact?

    • Citizen
      December 22, 2013, 12:14 pm

      @ MHughes
      LOL

  3. just
    December 21, 2013, 5:22 pm

    From the NYT article:

    “Beyond the premise, which sounds unlike anything else currently on television, and the credentials of the production team, what distinguishes “Dig” is its connection to Israel, which, in recent years, has become a fount of television ideas for American networks. Mr. Nir had been especially aggressive in seeking to bring an American television series to Israel for full production, Mr. Rosen said.

    Toward that end, the production has already enlisted the cooperation of Nir Barkat, recently re-elected as mayor of Jerusalem, who has promised wide access to the historical areas of the Old City and other landmarks.

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: November 21, 2013

    An article on Nov. 13 about the new television series “Dig,” an archaeological thriller set in Old Jerusalem, referred incorrectly to the location of East Jerusalem. It is in an area annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, but it is not internationally recognized as part of Israel.”

    link to nytimes.com

    Yeah, I’m excited all right/ not.

    • Daniel Rich
      December 21, 2013, 7:08 pm

      @ just,

      What can go wrong when you’ve got Micheal Edelstein as part of your team?

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