British Mandate mini-series The Promise not showing in Ontario

I haven’t watched The Promise yet, the acclaimed UK mini-series about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the British Mandate, but only because I just haven’t had a chance–though now I will. (At least American viewers) can watch it on Hulu.

But apparently viewers of TV Ontario can’t watch it, despite the fact that it was previously on the schedule. It is not clear why they cancelled, but one can surmise from the detailed communication in Citizen Action Monitor that closed door talks must have gone nowhere and TV Ontario folded without, as is often the case, the decency to tell the truth.

That should come as no surprise. In many countries in which The Promise appeared, it was the subject of extensive letter-writing campaigns from Jewish organizations who complained that it was anti-Semitic and trafficked in anti-Jewish stereotypes while making Palestinians overly sympathetic.

I have no judgement to make yet because I haven’t seen it, but these people do:

Christina Patterson,The Independent: “…beautifully shot and extremely well written. It is also extremely balanced…”

Rachel Cooke in the New Statesmen: “…the best thing you are likely to see on TV this year, if not this decade.”

Liel Leibovitz in the Jewish magazine Tablet: “Contrary to these howls of discontent, the show is a rare and riveting example of telling Israel’s story on screen with accuracy, sensitivity, and courage”.

Marcus Dysch, The Jewish Chronicle Online, “A senior Israeli diplomat says that a drama series about British Mandate Palestine is the worst example of anti-Israel propaganda he has ever seen on television.”

The film’s writer and director Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander, Wuthering Heights) is Jewish. And it actually showed in the NY Jewish Community Center as part of their Other Israel festival. It also showed in Israel.
Just not in Ontario.

You can watch the first episode in its entirety here.


-Cecilie Surasky
You can now follow me on Twitter @CecilieSurasky