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This is why I am here, a Jewish filmmaker and the point at issue: Israel

Sundays 11, 18 and 25 June 2017, 23.20 hours, Dutch second public channel (NPO 2)

26 april 2017

Through the trilogy ‘This is why I am here’ documentary filmmaker Marcel Prins envisages the changed perception of Israel in Dutch pubic opinion. Unlike other countries, notions about the Jewish state often evoke strong emotions in the Netherlands. In this series Prins analyses public opinion in accordance with historical developments and interviewing those who are directly involved.

This documentary series covers the struggle of the Dutch public opinion with the Jewish state. There is no country that calls such voiced opinions and vehement emotions as Israel. Opinions and actions considered as unfair, biassed and therefore taboo in other politically similar controversial affairs seems to be permitted in the case of Israel. In addition, the complex mix of objective criticism and anti-Semitic sentiments is hard to separate. To take a stance against this small strip of land as seems to assure moral authority, righteousness and credibility in a world filled with international and military conflicts in which Israel has no role. Just like in some other European countries, in the Netherlands an anti-Israel attitude has become a religious relic.

In the trilogy, former Dutchmen - including Ankie Rechess (journalist), Martin Weyl (former director of the Israeli Museum/Israels National Museum) and Prof. Uri M. Kupferschmidt (Dept. of Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa) talk to Marcel Prins about their motives to exchange their homeland, or the country they grew up in, for Israel and they analyse the changed relationship between the Netherlands and the Jewish state.

Historian Dr Remco Ensel, affiliated with Radboud University Nijmegen, places the fluctuations of public opinion in a broader perspective.
“This is why I am here" was induced by the (upcoming?) anniversary of the Sixth Day War of 1967 which was fought 50 years ago. The solidarity with Israel which during that time was immanent in the Netherlands has increasingly transformed into a much more distanced relationship where criticism and even outrage predominate the Dutch perspective on Israel. Central to this change is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where Jews do not occur as a threatened minority in a hostile region but are seen as a powerful 'white' elite. Especially on the left side of the political spectrum. Despite regular criticism both countries were also close allies.

Episode 1                                Birth of a state

Episode 2                                From Judea and Samaria to West Bank

Episode 3                                Moral point of reference Israel

Scenario and direction         Marcel Prins
Research                                 Karin van Coeverden
Chief editor                             Alfred Edelstein