The filmmaker behind “In the Valley of Elah” acknowledged that he erroneously described the biblical site’s location as “Palestine.”
The admission by writer-director Paul Haggis came in excerpts published Wednesday from an e-mail correspondence with Jerusalem Post commentator Uzi Silber.
Haggis’ critically acclaimed Iraq war drama includes a scene in which a character played by Tommy Lee Jones describes the location of the Elah Valley as “Palestine.”
In fact, the valley is in central Israel. It is mentioned in the Book of Samuel as the place where David slew Goliath, more than a millennium before the term Palestine was coined by the Romans.
“According to Biblical scholars, [the Elah Valley] was in ancient Palestine,” Silber quoted Haggis as telling him when queried about the reference.
Silber responded with the facts and pointed out the risks of wrongly applying terminology that could be misunderstood as a comment on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Haggis responded, “Then our research was just plain wrong. Nothing other than that.”