“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it…” (Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels, Jan. 9, 1928. Goebbels in 1929 was put in charge of the Nazi Party propaganda machine. Lies and demonization of the Jewish people played a major role in the subsequent slaughter of six million in the Holocaust).
ABC describes the premise of the melodrama as: “A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11.”
That’s politically thrilling. But an odious message, in highly charged verbiage – with big lies about Israel – emerges from the drama’s mishmash of recurring flashbacks and flashforwards. In this supposedly ripped-from-the-headlines work from executive producer and series creator, Josh Safran, the script calls for one or more terrorists to be embedded among the recruits. The drama’s cast of several diverse characters includes two Muslims and two Jews. So, who turns out initially to be the terrorists? Of course it’s the two Jews. The cast of characters engages with each other in an increasingly volatile environment involving paranoia and distrust. FBI Academy recruit Simon Asher (a Jewish character played by Tate Ellington) is a conflicted individual who has struggled mightily with his conscience. Initially bragging to a fellow recruit about his exploits in the Gaza Strip as a do-gooder, Asher eventually confesses to being haunted by his evil acts there as an Israeli soldier while following orders (thus suggesting the image of post-war Nazis excusing their crimes on the grounds they were just obeying orders). Asher is confronted with the specter of his and Israel’s (alleged) crimes by recruit Nimah Amin (a Muslim character played by Yasmine al-Massri a Lebanese actress of Palestinian Arab descent).
Israel did not bomb Gaza greenhouses before or after evacuating the Gaza Strip in 2005 or in connection with the 2014 war initiated by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. In fact, immediately after Gaza’s Jewish residents were evicted by Israel’s military in 2005, Palestinian looters destroyed the greenhouses. The World Bank reported that 90 percent of the greenhouses were intact when the Israelis left. An Associated Press (AP) Sept. 14, 2005 article said, “Palestinian looters took irrigation hoses, pumps and plastic sheeting from dozens of greenhouses Tuesday, a month after Jewish American donors bought more than 3,000 of the structures from Israeli settlers and transferred them to the Palestinian Authority. Police commanders complained that they did not have enough manpower to protect the prized equipment in several abandoned settlements. In some instances, police joined the looters, witnesses said.”
• In episode five (Oct. 25, 2015), Asher tells Harper, “I was in the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF]. They sent me into Gaza. I didn’t just see things. I did things. Things that haunt me every single day of my life. After I got back, living undercover was the only way that I could cope with what I did. So I made myself a lie. I don’t wear glasses. I don’t even like coffee. [sighs] and I’m not… [Voice breaking] I’m – I’m – I’m not… [sniffles] I’d understand if you hate me.” This lie that Israel committed atrocities in the Gaza Strip is repeated in a Jan. 17, 2016 rerun.
The inflammatory message presented here teaches that it is “understandable” to hate Israelis because, by their own admission, they (allegedly) did terrible things in Gaza. The facts are that the military operation launched by Israel (Operation Protective Edge) against Hamas in July 2014 – like similar conflicts in December 2008-January 2009 and December 2012 – was in response to repeated mortar and rocket attacks against Israel and infiltration tunnels intended to facilitate kidnapings and massacres of Israeli citizens. Gen. Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified in November 2014 that Israel had gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. “No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] in order to minimize damage. The U.S. and the U.K. are careful, but not as much as Israel.” Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge, and basically reiterated his testimony about a previous such operation before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: “During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war.” It’s not surprising that former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, testifying to Congress, characterized the relationship with Israel as “absolutely critical” to U.S. national security.
As for Palestinian deaths related to the conflict in Gaza in 2014, Israeli analyses of figures from Palestinian sources, tracking each casualty by name, age, sex, place of death, affiliation when applicable with terrorist organizations showed approximately half either were affiliated with terrorist organizations or males of prime combat age. In fact, the number of children and adult women among the fatalities was disproportionately low compared to their presence in the general population.
Muslim character denounces Israel; Jewish character admits to bombing involvement
Nimah Amin confronts Asher, “You didn’t hurt anyone? Really? Then who did? Who killed those unarmed civilians, shot at ambulances, targeted hospitals and schools?”
Asher replies, “Hamas hides in schools. They use civilians as human shields.”
Amin accuses Asher, “And even if they did this, what you have done is as wrong. War is wrong. I learned that firsthand in hostile territory when everyone around me was trying to kill me. You have no idea what that is like. We [Nimah and twin sister Raina] were born in Lebanon in a civil war, and that’s all we knew for the first eight years of our lives before we came here. So don’t you tell me what I know. There’s no way you were just a translator. We have seen your skills with firearms. We’ve seen you invent a whole persona. What did you do? What did they make you do?”
“They didn’t make me do anything. I volunteered. I was a translator. Okay? That’s all. Until one day, my platoon leader told me that they couldn’t find who they were looking for. He asked me to help.”
Amin persists, “How did you help them?” Asher (remorseful, crying), “By getting close to [the Gaza Arab] women, to lure them to interrogations on the whereabouts of their husbands. I thought that they were just gonna ask questions like they always did. [breathing shakily and voice breaking] I didn’t know that they… I didn’t find out until later that my platoon leader had gone rogue. He’d snapped from he’s seen over there. I was just following orders, okay? I was just doing what I was told. But I knew it was wrong. I wanted to do good. I really wanted to be good. [crying] I’m so sorry.”
cials deserve to hear from the public – ABC TV network programming contact form, Ben Sherwood, president of ABC TV network ([email protected]). Channing Dungey ([email protected]) is president of the ABC Entertainment Group having moved up to that position in February 2016 from the position of ABC’s executive vice president for drama development, movies and miniseries where according to ABC she “shepherded” hits including Quantico. The ABC public relations specialists for Quantico are Bridgette Maney and Patrick Preblick ([email protected] 212-456-1429) ([email protected] 212-456-7819). ABC’s demonization of Israel and Jews in Quantico must be exposed.