This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

1,292 thoughts on “This Land Is Mine”

  1. @Patricio

    How are the “canaanite” previous version of “hebrews” if bloodlines can’t be tracked any individuals who traveled to the land? Why would the have claim of the land in modern times?

    “it doesn’t matter what the bible says, what I’m telling you is what archaeologists agree on.”

    Do you have sources for that? Sounds like a bit of an attempt to appeal to authority, without actually providing evidence.

    “Every other people shown in this video are foreigners trying to control the native people.”

    What native people?

  2. Between the Romans and bizantine you can use the people from Palmyra Empire, ruled by Queen Zenobia. They conquered the region and de bizantines recovered it.

  3. ‘The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon…’

    Not a bad guess… they did. Constantly. The second the empire was partitioned they were wailing on each other. Stunning cartoon by the way.

  4. In response to Ahmed – One Rabbi said “the Maccabbees were considered the suicide terrorists of their day”. Every “terrorist” believes themselves to be freedom fighters/liberators/on GOD’s side/etc. They’re ALL terrorists, except for Mr Loincloth, of course.

  5. My people are liberators/freedom fighters/on God’s side/etc.

    Your people are terrorists/infidels/jihadists/God’s enemies/etc.

    But the only difference is the uniforms. My people ARE your people.

  6. There are families in Israel/Hebrew Jewish families/who never left the land when the Romans conquered all of Israel and destroyed the temple. Many of the Jewish/Hebrew people were deported and dispersed but there were families who never left the land. For example there’s the Zinatti family in the north of Israel in Pequi ‘in. The Romans changed the name of the land from Israel to Palestine/Philistine for Israel ancient conquered enemies.

  7. Here we go… again!
    POV massacre vids from both side included.
    For more hate, for more blood.
    My pray for all innocent victims
    of all wars on the Earth.

  8. It’s not just a cartoon, it’s a very playful and pedagogical way to teach some history. Great animation and music job!

  9. Its the best didactic vídeo of that Land and so ppl who invaded and conquered It… For Just a while

  10. Roll on The Great Mother!, (and none too soon). This film is brilliant and should be compulsive viewing, being the story of all lands for all time, (or at least the last 6,000 of The Terrible Father, (The Patriarchy).

  11. Did the Palestinians who are currently being killed for the land actually kill anyone else for it though? Didn’t they just move in after the Romans expelled the Jews?

  12. Did you not mention the Sasanid Empire on purpose?
    During the siege of Jerusalem by the Sassanid imperial army in 614, the city was captured after 21 days. According to Byzantine traditions, tens of thousands of Christians were killed by the Sassanid army and Jews

  13. i wanted to share this animation on my social media to give a good example of an option for children to learn about the current genocide that is happening in Gaza. But after giving it a second look after many years, and reading Nina.s commentary on the characters, I find it deceptionally de politicized and gratuitous, there has always been conflict in this region, as the animation shows, even ten years ago when she created it. Right now I cannot see this as a “nice, simple, light and funny” approach to the reality of the massacre. Sad. Will have to go back to look at the news…..

  14. What an effective way of calming things down, Nina!

    Your historial reconstruction might not be fully accurate – but who cares?
    Wars are paved with plain lies – why peace actions should be slowed down by full accuracy?
    We’re nearly to the point in which we won’t be able to distinguish truth from false anyway.
    And what’s important here and now is that they simply stop it.

    Please do go on and finish your Seder-Masochism film – I’m looking forward viewing it ????

  15. There is one part missing, the Babylonians were defeated by Medo-persians who restore the land for the jews.

  16. Your cartoon is even more relevant today, unfortunately. Is this the most blood-soaked land in the world? When will we ever learn?
    I’m so saddened & enraged. It seems the innocent always suffer the most?
    Please just make them stop!!

  17. >Did the Palestinians who are currently being killed for the land actually kill anyone else for it though? Didn’t they just move in after the Romans expelled* the Jews?

    It’s complicated. There were massacres of Jews, yes – 1929 in Hebron and Jerusalem, for example. In the War of Independence at the birth of the nation 1% of the nascent Israeli population. And many deaths during the Intifada. There’s also a lot of lineage in common – people native to the land who were once Jews or Samaritans had converted to Islam during the Arab conquests and to Christianity during the Crusades. But also a lot of Arabs migrated from Arabia and also a lot of Egyptians in the south (particularly Gaza) did migrate in.
    *not merely expelled. A large number were sent to Rome as slaves.

  18. Crusades: I think it was more against Islamic aggression rather than “in the name of Jesus christ”

  19. From someone from the region: only problem I have with this video is the inaccuracies at 2:38 forward – Palm trees are displayed on one side while on the other its deciduous trees, when in fact both have both palm and deciduous, The dressware is also inaccurate and misleading; Hezballah does NOT dress like this but perhaps its just theatrical effect to help people understand the difference, as is the same with skin colour/race. The Zionists are generally the same skin colour and race as hezballah members.

  20. Some guy who made a funny dog animation like a decade ago on Youtube just shared this video so now I am here

  21. Wow, reading these comments is like watching the video all over again! People never change.

  22. A succinct summary of the long, complex history of this narrow and arid strip of land that’s always been the most contested piece of real estate in the world.

  23. The Pious Microbes
    an Underfable

    Once upon a time, two microbes argued over which one owned the corner of a grain of sand.
    One microbe said, “God gave me this corner of this grain of sand.”
    The other said, “No. God gave me this corner of this grain of sand.”
    The first microbe said, “May God regret your existence.”
    The second microbe said, “No. May God regret your existence.”
    An angel flying by overheard this dispute. The angel said to God, “Who owns that corner of that grain of sand?”
    And God said, “Microbes.”
    The angel said, “But they’re both microbes.”
    And God said, “Good!”
    The angel said, “You praise them, but they do not praise each other.”
    And God said, “I am not them.”

    Moral: Speak for yourself!

    Comment: I, the ironic author of this fable, practice the same God-puppetry that I ridicule.
    I was moved to write this by witnessing the spectacle of Middle Eastern politics.

  24. You may love the land, but the land does not love you back.

    My crackpot theory is that when Homo Sapiens came out of Africa, a Neanderthal shaman said, “If we can’t keep this land, then nobody can,” and nobody has ever since.

  25. An exceptional piece of meaningful art, so ahead of it’s time!
    Art that becomes even more meaningful 12 years after it was created!

    I’d love to share this, adding some subtitles in different languages to it. Hope that’s fine.

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