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.

Canaanite

 

 

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

Ancient Egyptian

 

 

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

Assyrian

 

 

Assyrian
….Assyria controlled it other times.

Israelite

 

 

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

Babylonian

 

 

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

Macedonian/Alexander

 

 

 

Macedonian/Greek
Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!

Greek

 

 

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

Ptolmaic

 

 

Ptolemaic
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.)

Seleucid

 

 

Seleucid
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.

Maccabee

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

 

Roman

 

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

Byzantine

 

 

Byzantine
….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.

 

Caliph

 

 

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

Crusader

 

 

Crusader
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.

Arab

 

 

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

 

British

British
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.

Palestinian

 

 

Palestinian
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…

Hezbollah

 

 

PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah
….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.

1,221 thoughts on “This Land Is Mine”

  1. Another issue is that there is no mention of Persians.

    There are other inaccuracies as well: it was not Arabs who acquired what is now Israel/Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, it was the British, during the WWI. Arabs had almost no role in the British and French success over the Ottomans during the WWI. The overwhelming majority of the Arab armed forces of the WWI fought on the Ottoman side and as regular Ottoman soldiers. The large scale Arab revolt against the Ottomans during the WWI is a post-WWI myth created by both Arab and Turkish nationalists to justify their post-WWI nationalisms in their newly founded nation states.

  2. The large scale Arab revolt against the Ottomans during the WWI is a post-WWI myth created by both Arab and Turkish nationalists to justify their post-WWI nationalisms in their newly founded nation states.

    and, more importantly, to justify the very existence of their nation states

  3. Rachel: “Even in the Qur’an it is said that the land of Israel is the land of the people of Israel.” “…the biblical right of return to the homeland.”

    So basically:

    “This land is miiiiiiine, God gave this land to meeeeeeeeee…”

  4. Hi,

    Great video ! Just a nitpick: the god of the Assyrian guy is actually Ahura Mazda, a Persian divinity. The Persians did actually control/invade the place a couple of times (after the Babylonian exile, and between the Byzantines and Arabs), so you might include them in your list!

  5. This video is amazing! The Angel of Death is so, so sublime (in the Schopenhauerean sense). I keep scrolling back just to watch HIM singing and flapping his wings.

  6. Algunos hechos y personajes que se describen no reflejan la realidad de los hechos desde la perspectiva histórica y religiosa. Se omiten (involuntariamente) acontecimientos restándole credibilidad a esta producción. Para quienes desconocen la historia podría confundirlos. Sugiero mas atención a la historia, pero la intención cuenta.

  7. I am combining all my posts into one post:

    The “Ottoman Turk representation” looks like a South Asian or a significantly Negroid-admixed Arab or Berber in complexion. Only a Gypsy can be so dark in complexion in Anatolia and the Balkans. Several other representation complexions, too, are terribly chosen.

    Another issue is that there is no mention of Persians.

    There are other inaccuracies as well: it was not Arabs who acquired what is now Israel/Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, it was the British, during the WWI. Arabs had almost no role in the British and French success over the Ottomans during the WWI. The overwhelming majority of the Arab armed forces of the WWI fought on the Ottoman side and as regular Ottoman soldiers. The large scale Arab revolt against the Ottomans during the WWI is a post-WWI myth created by both Arab and Turkish nationalists to justify their post-WWI nationalisms in their newly founded nation states and, more importantly, to justify the very existence of their nation states.

  8. Very creative, I love the history especially that you distinguished between Alexander’s empire, Ptolemy’s and the Seluecid’s. But what about Cyrus the Great and the Persian empire that conquered The Land in 539 and held it for nearly 200 years? If you really wanted to go crazy you could add the sea peoples (Philistines) and other peoples who attacked the land but didn’t conquer it. Maybe the Seljuks even.

  9. This was very well done only if to display the conflicts in the area. Of course it would be hard to get a room of people that would agree with the events the way they happened. I agree however with the events depicted, though you made one serious omission: the Persians. The Persians conquered the Babylonians and freed the Jews, restoring and paying for the rebuilding of their temple. The Achaemenid Persians and later Sassanid Persians ruled the region for hundreds of years before Alexander and before the Arab Caliphate respectively.

  10. Senia: “the persians are the Babylonian.” Actually this is entirely incorrect. The Persians (an indo-european peoples) conquered the Babylonians (a semitic peoples) in 539BC, freeing the Jews after nearly a century of slavery (Babylonian captivity). The Persians under Cyrus the Great and his Achaemenid descendants returned the Jews confiscated treasures, paid for the returning of the Jews to Palestine/Israel, paid for the rebuilding and maintenance of their Temple in Jerusalem, and even placed a Jew in as a the governor of the province. So the correct sequence would have been to show the Persians taking down the Babylonians, having the Jewish children run back towards home, then having Alexander take down the Persians. The Persians also conquered it again and were the last pre-Islamic empire to take it before the Arab Caliphate took down the Persian empire.

  11. This is quite beautiful, and evocative. And it strikes a wonderful chord: yes, in all parts of the world we must learn to stop killing each other, and to share and cooperate.

    I can’t participate in the debates about historical details and accuracy (as in the various viewers’ comments), but I do want to raise the general matter of reducing everyone to the same blame-worthy plane. Do we really want to *equate* Arab settlers in Palestine with the British? Israeli occupiers with Palestinian resistance? Sadly, the history of the region is a history of bloodshed, but the native vs. occupier and oppressed vs. oppressor dimensions are still crucial. Even as, for example, we decry anti-Jewish hatred and individual-terrorist violence, these things are still quite different from state-terrorist oppression and imperialist colonization.

  12. What a great video. Hope it will restore some sanity to the people who are contesting this useless piece of land.
    Thanks for a great art and great insight.

  13. I love the internet… an entertaining piece , fairly informative in a broad sense closely followed by comments from the unlimited experts picking faults with all aspects of something they could only dream of creating…maybe the world will be a better place when all the keyboard critics will say something like….. I DON’T AGREE WITH THAT BUT IT WAS ENTERTAINING

  14. The Achaemenid Persians and later Sassanid Persians ruled the region for hundreds of years before Alexander and before the Arab Caliphate respectively.

    The Persians also conquered it again and were the last pre-Islamic empire to take it before the Arab Caliphate took down the Persian empire.

    sfoch,

    What you say about the Sassanid Persians is completely wrong. The Sassanids controled the Israel/Palestine region and Greater Syria in general only very briefly in their history. That was during the early years of the 7th century after a successful Sassanid invasion of the Byzantine Syria, Egypt and Armenia until the Byzantines recovered all those territories very shortly thereafter through a successful Byzantine counter-attack against the Sassanids. So, when the Arabs set forth to launch the Islamic conquest of those territories (including what is now Israel/Palestine), those territories were under Byzantine rule, not under Sassanid rule. Hence, there is absolutely no reason to include the Sassanid Persians in this video.

    What you say about the Achaemenid Persians is completely true. So they certainly should have been included in this video.

  15. A huge mistake: jews never ever built anything. There is no evidence also of any material culture created by them. And that is so for thousands of years. Their neighbours created marvels of civilization, but jews never had any, period. I repeat: nothing created by jews was ever unearthed.
    Second: jews were always the conquerors in Palestine, never the legal owners. They killed and robbed, robbed and killed.
    I suggest that you better look at what was the only jewish profession: human relations and relationships. That was the only source of living, the only hobby and sole interest. That’s why the 20-th century, the jewish century by all accounts, was just wars, revolutions, “change”, gender, porn.
    At the same time Arabs, Persians had no interest in social problems and never had any revolutions. Their interest was in creating material culture, science, beauty… For that human interest, they now are being killed.

  16. Suggestion: It might be cool to see how many authentic war and victory songs you can dig up for the sound track. An in their words kinda thing.

  17. Thank you, Nina Paley! This clip is going viral here in Israel right now, to your acknowledgement. I hope it takes effect on people’s resolution to get real for a change and get a life….

  18. @ Michael Pyshnov:

    OK so stop using facbook, computers, medicine ect’. they all were developed by Jews!
    160 NOBEL prize winners are jews! much more then from any other nation in the world! (there are only 15 milion jews=160 nobel prizes, there are 1.5 bilion muslims=6 prizes).

    and you dear should worry more about your dictator PUTIN…who is the real theaf, robbing and stealing, robbing and killing.

  19. Very smart video which gives a basic idea about the history of this area, though some don´t agree with the details of the history. I have been to Israel/Palestine and found it said to see this tension over this tiny land.

  20. Well my dear Ms. Paley, you certainly earned the title:
    “Wertvolle Jude”. Look it up.
    In any case, after Gertrude Stein (the prominent american intellectual) that campaigned in 1939 for Peace Nobel Prize for Hitler, nothing will surprise me. This vommit enducing “art” says a lot about Jewish collaborators.

  21. @Randy:

    The idea in short: the State of Israel was reestablished NOT BECAUSE but IN SPITE OF the genocide of European Jews.

    The State of Israel was reestablished in 1948 after 100 years of efforts by Jews to return to their homeland in greater numbers. The first neighborhoods outside the Old City were built by the Jews as soon as 1850. A century before the genocide. Those efforts had a strong diplomatic front which led to the UN (SDN at the time) to recognize the right of self determination of the Jewish nation in its homeland (Then “Palestine”) at the San Remo Conference in 1924. That’s 9 years before the Nazis seized power in German.

  22. Not only did the genocide weakened the zionist project between 1944/45 and 1948 by wiping out the most dynamic demographic pool for leadership and population transfer to Israel, it still weakens the demographic balance today. One only has to look at how beneficial the intake of one million Jews from Russia has been for Israel to imagine how Israel would be today with the influx of millions of Jews from Europe.

  23. The Persians did actually control/invade the place a couple of times (after the Babylonian exile, and between the Byzantines and Arabs), so you might include them in your list!

    As I said, the Persians did not control the region between the Byzantines and Arabs, the Arabs acquired the region from the Byzantines. The Sassanid Persians had controled the region – by acquiring it from the Byzantines – only very briefly, during the early years of the 7th century and very soon had lost it to the Byzantines, its previous and long-time rulers. So when the Arabs came to conquer few years later, there were Byzantines as rulers, not Persians. The Battle of Yarmouk was between the Byzantines and Arabs.

    The Achaemenid should certainly have been included in the video, but the Sassanid Persians should not.

  24. The Persians did actually control/invade the place a couple of times (after the Babylonian exile, and between the Byzantines and Arabs), so you might include them in your list!

    As I said, the Persians did not control the region between the Byzantines and Arabs, the Arabs acquired the region from the Byzantines. The Sassanid Persians had controled the region – by acquiring it from the Byzantines – only very briefly, during the early years of the 7th century and very soon had lost it to the Byzantines, its previous and long-time rulers. So when the Arabs came to conquer few years later, there were Byzantines as rulers, not Persians. The Battle of Yarmouk was between the Byzantines and Arabs.

    The Achaemenid Persians should certainly have been included in the video, but the Sassanid Persians should not.

  25. I love how some comments are still keen on backing up sides…did you not get this is a none accurate, none political CARTOON with only one simple point – blood is being shed over a piece of land, that all claim is beauty. There are no winners here nor are there loosers, no right nor wrong. Yes Jews lived in this land long ago, yes Jews suffered from anti-semitism AND yes, Arabs lived in this land and yes they have great Hummus – the point is, everyone is right or everyone is wrong – eventually, the real owner of this land is Death! Thats is what the cartoon is about. – Written from a Jew living in the State of Israel.

  26. oh and @ Michael Pyshnov – You are clearly an anti-semite, but sadly you are not a challange. Archeology, history and present day academic literature and arts ALL contradict all that you have typed in your dumb comment

  27. Just a heads up, people. This page and the youtube version both popped up on the JIDF “take action” pages. And Nina is already called out as an “anti-semite”.
    So expect a large influx of zionist propagandism and shit-flinging. 🙁

    Keep up your good Work Nina. You’re great!

  28. Nina,
    Take it from a Goy,
    You are a very talented lady, and I loved the video.

    I am a supporter of Israel, although I don’t agree with everything she does.. But the years I spent there were some of my happiest.
    May I wish you lots of success for the future

  29. Rachel:

    ” Didn’t _you_ just make multiple posts denying the existence of the Palestinian people, or indeed the right of any Arab to call the territory their homeland?”

    “NO I DIDN’T.”

    Actually, you did. You went so far as to say it again in your reply.

    “have you ever seen the ME map? the arabs have soooo much land (22 arab countries, 50 muslim). and no they don’t have a conection to the holey land, since they are nomads brought here at the middle of 19th century, from all around the arab world, under the ottoman and then the GB occupation.”

    Tu quoque.

  30. I’m an Ancient History major, with a particular interest in the Ancient Near East and the Levant. I think you pretty much nailed it as far as the general history and vibe of the area. It has always bothered me that a land considered holy to so many people is so drenched in century upon century of blood and violence. Just doesn’t seem like the right way to treat something sacred, you know?

  31. Nina, I have always liked your art, which is why I am so disappointed by the grievous errors in your new film. First, God says this land belongs to me, but you suggest everyone claims that, without prioritizing my legitimate inheritance. Please refer to my religious texts for confirmation, and don’t believe what any of the heretics say. Second, you left out several minor AND major skirmishes, not to mention changes in weaving and metal-smithing, over the 10,000 years you attempted to depict in a 3.5-minute film, and you seem to have reduced both natives and occupiers to–how shall I say this so you can understand–mere semiotic representations–stand-ins, if you will, for hundreds of thousands of real people. Third, my people exist in three dimensions, and you drew us in only two. Plus, the way you drew things, it looks like our clothes are the same texture as our skin, but our religious texts (not to mention if you had ever met one of us you’d know) say otherwise. Do your research! Finally, the angel of death has scaly wings, not feathered ones. You must really hate your own wings to have depicted the angel that way. I hope my comments have helped you see things more clearly, since I really do love your work.

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