ROME (May. 22)
The first installment of the American television series “Holocaust” was broadcast on national television’s Channel One here last night. It was followed immediately on Channel two by the airing of a documentary series entitled “Palestinians of the Diaspora.” The juxtaposition of the two; hardly coincidental, was an attempt by the media to equate the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II and the plight of the Palestinian Arabs today. In the announcements that preceded and followed each telecast, the Palestinian people were described as “The new Jews of history.”
“Holocaust,” produced by NBC-TV as a four-part mini-series, is being broadcast in Italy as an eight-part series. While it is a fictionalized treatment of the Holocaust’s effect on a German-Jewish family, the documentary on the Palestinians consisted of a series of interviews with prominent Palestinians in the U.S. and in Damascus, Kuwait, Algeria and Lebanon. It included shots of a Palestinian refugee camp and clearly sought to blame Israel for the sufferings of the Palestinians.
Those interviewed spoke of “Zionist influence” on the American mass media, about the impossibility of Palestinians being able to visit their relatives in Jerusalem and the difficulties of their obtaining American citizenship because of “FBI suspicions that we are terrorists.” They accused Israel of using napalm against Palestinian camps where “children are often born prematurely because of their mothers’ fright during Israeli air attacks.” Other statements stressed the longing “to return to Palestine.” One speaker said, “Despite attempts to cancel out the identity of the Palestinian people, the Palestinians are still there, to show us that the holocaust of the Jewish people cannot be solved with another holocaust of the Palestinians.”
The linkage of the Palestinians and the Holocaust was not confined to television. The prominent Rome daily, II Messaggero, published summaries of “Holocaust” Part One and of the Palestinian documentary on its television page last Sunday.
It described the latter as “a documentary which not by chance elicits reflections very similar to those elicited by ‘Holocaust.’ The theme concerns another tragedy, that of the Palestinians who live in the hopes of being able to return one day to their land, occupied — by what coincidence — by the Jewish people themselves: Two parallel tragedies. Has nothing been learned by history?”