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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1,221 thoughts on “This Land Is Mine”

  1. I absolutely love this! I liked the music from “Exodus”, but didn’t hear the song til now. The tragic irony is wonderful. Schadenfreude at its best!

  2. Brilliant stuff, but you left out the Persians — who conquered Palestine twice: first from the Babylonians (freeing the exiles) and then, much later, briefly from the Byzantines.

  3. Oh yeah, Byzantines fought Romans many times, but they thought of it as a civil war — emperors putting down ursurpers, dual emperors seeking to be sole emperors, generalisimos trying to become emperor!

  4. Brava, Nina!

    Like so many others, I was inspired by Uris’ novel “Exodus” and later by the Andy Williams song. I hope your animation takes hold in more peoples’ awareness to refine our adolescent emotionality.

    P.S. Previous commenter Rusty’s “nit” about the M-16 vs. AK-47 would be valid except that the IAI Galil used by the IDF has a lot in common with the Kalash. But I’ll bet Nina was in fact drawing AKs. If so, Rusty is correct. Academic writing and honest journalism are all about nits, but cartoon truth doesn’t have to be so literal.

  5. Islam is religion of peace.We are peacefull people!
    muslims didn’t ever exile jews after conquer jerusalem.
    muslims didn’t ever destroyed temple of solomon p.b.u.h and others of jews and christians.
    muslim didn’t ever bann to visit their holly places.
    First our great caliph omer bin khattab mercy on jews to visit their holly places.
    Then Salah uddin ayubi mercy on both jews and christian!
    Then our ottomon caliphs mercy on right do buisness and support!
    Koran and islam gives us order to behave like this to humanity!
    Islam is religion of peace
    And peace will dominate the world!

  6. Was shown this during the recent Gaza war, in which I had friends in danger on both sides, and it moved me to tears. First media to do that in a very long time. Thank you.

    My only problem with it is: What happened to the Persians???? They should have been after the Babylonians and before Alexander. You could have cut out one of the diadochi (you didn’t need to show all three) to make time for them.

  7. Weird that you chose to show the “jews/zionists” as it confuses the fact that the “haapala” or illegal immigration of jews between 39-47 constituted only a small fracture of the jewish population that already inhabited israel by that point.but heck its just a cartoon aristic impression is much more important than historical facts 😉

  8. Would there be a way to download the video rather than watching it on vimeo (their player doesn’t work with my bad bandwith).
    What can I say, you spoiled us with your magnificent Sita Sings the Blues, get used to it!

  9. So Nina, you’re basically saying that before the British mandate ended and Israel became a state no Jews (ethnic or religious) inhabited Palestine. Isn’t that the common rhetoric used by anti-Zionists who depict the entire Israeli population as mere white European usurpers of a land that is not historically theirs? I loved the video and its overarching message of peace but some inconsistencies could have a very harmful impact if people consider them to be true.

  10. Сколько не смотрю это видео — каждый раз наслаждаюсь! Огромное спасибо.

    Each time I see this video — I enjoy it! Thanks a lot.

  11. Although the events of the clashing cultures in a geographic area is generally historically correct. The perspective presented is rather simplistic and one dimensional. To understand how the Creator of the universe has revealed himself to the Jews and brought salvation to the nations through the Jews, one must understand from a scriptural context the character and nature of G-d and how He is disciplining, correcting and working through the Jewish people. Man is the perpetrator of the worlds evils, G-d lays out his ways to mankind and he accepts or rejects them, the consequences of which can lead to life or unfortunately horrific evil. G-d has entrusted to us to choose. Therefore we will ultimately be held accountable for the outcome. Then again in order to understand this you first have to believe there is a G-d and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Shalom.

  12. There is no proof that Iran is developing Nukes, but they are developing Nuclear Power, which can be used for military AND civilian purposes, a fact completely lost on Israel.

  13. I was surprised to read the first man killed was ” Caveman ” as I thought he was Chalcolithic which is the first known culture in what is today Israel. He does appear Homo Sapien.
    Going back further the caveman that lived there was Neanderthal Man.

  14. Very well done, very creatively written, and you don’t come across as some stuck up scholar! Smiles, Mitch

  15. Congratulations Nina. Compelling animation. An eye opener and powerful tool to help people gain a perspective of all this non-sense violence.

  16. Great animation. I really enjoyed it. But the depiction of the “european” jewish zionists as ultra-orthodox jews (wearing black nd with side-locks) is highly inaccurate. Zionism was at that time still very much a secular and os me would say even anti-religious nationalist movement molded on secular european nationalism of the time. “Ultra”-orthodox jews, being religious, naturally opposed zionism initially, and some still do today.

    A more accurate depiction of the early zionist would be eoropean looking men (and women) in khaki shorts and shirts, but definitely no side-locks and not religios. Perhaps bear this in mind, if you do have a sequel:-).

    Excellent workd though.

  17. You took such a nice song and made it so brutal–though it is true that this land has been fought over. Some errors to note (in case you ever revise this video):
    1) The video skips the Persians — they took over the land after the Babylonians.
    2) The British took the land from the Ottomans — there was never any Arab ownership in between (and both Arab and Jews lived in the land). The land was pretty much a deserted outpost to Syria.
    3)And again, the “Palestinians” at that time were both Arabs and Jews though you only have them as Arabs (large waves of European Jews did come in the 1800’s under the Ottomans, and the early 1900s under the British until the British banned Jewish immigration but left Arab immigration wide open).
    4) Saying that Hezbollah, Hamas and PLO are the people who lived there is not correct. Hezbollah is in Lebanon, and many of the Arabs in Hamas and PLO were also from immigrants to Israel (e.g., Arafat came from Egypt). The building up of Israel attracted Arabs to move to Israel for jobs.
    5) The video makes it sound like Israel was settled by just European Jews– no mention is made of all the Jews who had to flee from Arab and Persian countries – about a million of them. These refugees came to Israel and make up a large portion of the population.

    The history of Jews in Israel is fascinating (they are the only indigenous people who controlled the land). It would be great to show this information in a nicer fashion. I teach and love to show humorous videos to my students for them to learn from — but unfortunately this one is too violent for them.

  18. Hello,

    I’m Yohann Pagnac, the person in charge of the films in a International Films Festival based in France.

    Our programmation comite has really like your short movie “The land is mine” of Nina Paley and we would like select and project this short movie in our festival.

    Do you have a distributor for France? Do you have some support(Fills H264…) in order to project your movie?

    If I am not at the good contact direction, do not hesitate to communicate me the usefull contact.

    Thanks for all and congratulations for your work.

    Yohann PAGNAC
    Chargé des films

    Festival Résistances du 3 au 11 juillet 2015
    24 avenue du Général De Gaulle 09 000 Foix
    05 61 65 44 23 –
    Festival Résistances

  19. to mohammad ali, ibn akhitab built al-aqssa in order to make Jerusalem muslim, trying to destroy Judaism buy demolishing hope for the temple rebuilding. he also expelled the jews to mount zion and banned them to enter the walls of Jerusalem.
    we can not forget but we can forgive. and the other side must learn to forgive to, if we want to think of a solution.

  20. Brilliant. It’s succinct and to the point. Also, I’ve only heard Andy
    Williams as an old man. It’s interesting to hear him when he was
    younger and had a lot more range to his voice.

  21. One misconception: Iran doesn’t have a nuclear bomb and doesn’t intend to have or build a nuclear bomb.

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