Directed by Romed Wyder • Documentary • 2018 • 52 minutes
The birth of the modern state of Israel was far from inevitable. As AND THERE WAS ISRAEL compellingly shows, when it comes to Israel and Palestine, the current crisis is rooted choices made in response to 19th century geopolitics, colonial imperatives, and the Holocaust.
Not all Jews were Zionists, and not all early Zionists were Jews, with Christian Zionists split between those who welcomed a Jewish state as a precursor to the End Times and those who saw it as a way to decrease the Jewish population elsewhere. Even the partition of Palestine was far from inevitable, as many instead supported a single, federal state. And in Eastern Europe, working-class, Yiddish-speaking Jews were far less likely to support Zionism than those who were better off.
AND THERE WAS ISRAEL covers the history of Zionism from the writings of Theodore Herzl to the expulsion of Palestinians from hundreds of villages following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. After the liberation of Nazi concentration camp survivors at the end of World War II, calls for a Jewish homeland took on a greater moral urgency. But as AND THERE WAS ISRAEL shows, even then, the outcome was far from certain.
Our guides to this fascinating history are seven academics from the fields of history, sociology, law, and political science, and Middle Eastern studies. AND THERE WAS ISRAEL is an accessible, clearly argued essay on how Israel came to be, and the far-reaching ramifications of colonial projects.