The Zionist Story by Ronen Berelovich (Video and Notes)

I recently watched a documentary called “The Zionist Story” and ended up taking notes while watching it. This film was produced by Ronen Berelovich, a former Israeli soldier, “someone who has spent his entire life in the shadow of Zionism.” There are a couple statements in this 75 minute-film that I would like to verify further, but it was an informative and gripping film. I learned a few new things about the history of pre-1948 Palestine, the formation of Zionism, etc. I’m posting this as a reference for myself, as well as for anyone who may be interested. My notes are below this video, and I did my best to keep my emotional reactions to myself (I had plenty):

In case this video is ever taken down for any reason, it’s also available here, here, and here.

0:48   “For over 1,300 years, since the very beginning of Islam, Jews and Muslims lived together in an unprecedented religious and cultural harmony in Palestine, North Africa, and Spain.”

2:30     Basel, Switzerland was the location of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. “Zionism was a national revival movement that sought to unite all Jews in a national homeland.” Prior to 1897, proposed settings for such a homeland included Uganda, Alaska, and Madagascar. The 1897 Congress decided on Palestine as the setting for a Jewish homeland. 

3:55     Concerning the Arabs already living in Palestine: “Theodor Herzl, considered to be the founder of Zionism, wrote in 1895, ‘We shall try to spirit away the penniless population across the border.’ Leo Motzkin, one of Zionism’s most liberal thinkers, wrote, ‘The colonization of Palestine has to go in two different directions: Jewish settlements in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of Arabs in areas outside the country.’ Chaim Weizmann, the head of the World Zionist Congress and future president of Israel, proclaimed the Palestinians to be ‘the rocks of Judea, obstacles that need to be cleared on a difficult path.'”

6:15    In the early 20th century, Zionists began campaigning for Jews to come to Palestine. Zionists also began buying land from Palestinian absentee landlords, and evicted Palestinians living on that land, in a process called “Judaifying the land.”

7:35     In 1917 the British conquered Palestine from the Turks. The Balfour Declaration came out that same year.

8:50    The Palestinians launched two uprisings against the British, who were aided by the Zionists, in 1929 and in 1936, resulting in thousands of lives lost. “The British also exiled the Palestinians’ leadership and dismantled all Palestinian paramilitary units. The Palestinians were left defenseless and leaderless.”

11:21   “Then in the 1940’s the cards turned. Following a string of British pro-Palestinian policies, the Zionists launched terrorist attacks on British personnel and facilities.” In the bombing of the King David hotel, 88 people were killed and “a good deal of the British high command was wiped out. Their goal was to drive the British out of Palestine. The mastermind of the King David bombing was Menachem Begin. He would become Israel’s Prime Minister. His accomplice, Yitzhak Shamir, would also later become Prime Minister… At this point the British have had enough, and they transfer the matter of Palestine to the United Nations.” 

13:30     In late 1947 the United Nations officially recognized a partition of Palestine into two states. “In 1947 the Jews owned 5.8% of the land. In the UN partition plan, the Jews ended up with 56% of the land, almost 10 times what they actually owned… [The population of the Palestinians] was split into two, half of it living in the Zionist state as a minority.” 

15:48   “David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Zionist movement in Palestine [and who became Israel’s first Prime Minister], wrote in 1937, ‘The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.‘”

17:04   “Towards the end of 1947 the Zionist leadership came together and drew Plan Dalet. Plan Dalet was about securing the borders of Israel by cleansing, expelling, and destroying Palestinian towns, villages, and urban neighborhoods. The plan was implemented by the Zionist armed forces.” Quoting Professor Charles Smith, a historian at Arizona University: “In March [1948] they began a push to ensure their control of areas that would become Israel under the partition, and as that happened you began to get many more Palestinian Arabs fleeing. Particularly after a massacre of a place called Deir Yassin… Begin and the Irgun and the Stern gangs (Yitzhak Shamir was part of that) – there was a combined attack on a Palestinian village that massacred a lot of people (107)… After that you had mobile radio bands that Begin put into play threatening more Deir Yassins if the Arabs didn’t flee – in other words you’ll be massacred just like Deir Yassin.”

18:34   “Between the 30th of March and 15th of May 1948, 200 villages were occupied and their inhabitants expelled. In some villages, such as Deir Yassin and Ain al-Zeitun, horrible massacres were perpetrated. The towns of Tiberias, Haifa, ???, Bayside, Jaffa, and Akra fell into Zionist hands. As a result, more than 250,000 Palestinians were expelled. All of this took place before the 1948 war even started.”

19:33    Professor Salaman H. Abu Sitta, from the Palestinian Land Society in England, tells his story of becoming a refugee in May 1948 when he was 10 years old. Among other things, he tells of Zionist soldiers terrorizing Arab farmers and shooting at them from Jeeps as they were working in the fields. Several weeks after his boarding school was shut down in fear of it being attacked, his home was attacked and blown up by about 24 tanks which came to cut the Gaza Strip in half. The school that his father built in 1920 was also blown up, along with the well that his village used for drinking water and to irrigate their fields. 

25:44   The Zionists declared independence on May 14, 1948 and David Ben-Gurion became the first Prime Minister of Israel. The next day seven Arab countries declared war on Israel and invaded, citing Zionist aggression that had caused more than a quarter million Palestinian Arabs to be made homeless and to seek refuge in neighboring countries. 

29:05  While the war of 1948 was going on, Zionists continued to expel and massacre Palestinian villagers. In one city, more than 50,000 Palestinian Arab villagers were expelled in one day, and 426 men, women, and children were killed. Yitzhak Rabin was the general in charge of this operation, and he later became a Prime Minister of Israel for two terms. In many cases, surviving villagers were systematically stripped of all their belongings and sent off as homeless refugees. The Zionist militias destroyed 531 Palestinian villages, 11 urban neighborhoods and towns, and cleansed approximately 750,000 Palestinians.

34:30    (A discussion of the 1967 War and its aftermath)

35:03    (Interview with Professor Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian at Exeter University) 

43:30   Discussion of two Palestinian uprisings or Intifadas – the first was in 1987 and the second began in 2000: “The first Intifada was put down by the Israeli government with so much brutality that the UN condemned Israel for violating the Geneva Convention. The Intifada succeeded, however, in bringing the Palestinian case to the attention of the world. It also heralded the schizophrenic path that the Palestinian resistance would take from now on. While peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations were conducted, suicide bombers entered Israel and blew up buses packed with people.”

45:36    Elections took place in the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas emerging as the elected victor. Around this time, 10,000 Jewish settlers were evacuated from the Gaza Strip, and Gaza was sealed shut, becoming “the largest prison on the planet. Israel controls all sea, land, and air access to Gaza. It regularly cuts off all food, water, and power supply to the Strip in order to punish the population for their defiance. In response to bombing by F-16 jets, and Apache helicopter gunships and targeted assassinations, Palestinians fire homemade rockets at Israeli settlements.” 

47:36    (Ilan Pappe speaking again)

51:08    Discussion of the security wall enclosing the West Bank and 3.5 million Palestinians, Palestinian Arabs living in Israel as second-class citizens subject to discrimination, illegal settlements, Zionism’s seeming untouchability, more interviews, narrator’s conclusion, etc. 

15 thoughts on “The Zionist Story by Ronen Berelovich (Video and Notes)

  1. Hello Adam,
    Thanks for putting this documentary up to see, I’m sure the historical information is accurate. I was watching John Hagee’s CUFI annual meeting and he stated that until Rome destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Palestine never existed. I did a bit of research and found him to be completely wrong. Would you consider critiquing his message at CUFI gathering?


  2. Hi Jack. You’re welcome. This historical information (some of which I knew, and some that was a bit new to me) is eye-opening for sure.

    Yes, I’d consider critiquing Hagee’s message. So, just to be clear, you’re saying that Hagee claimed that Palestine did not exist prior to 70 AD, but that you found evidence that Palestine did exist before 70 AD. Is that right? I’d like to know more, in any case. Usually what I hear from the Zionist crowd is that Palestinians didn’t exist before Israel became a nation in 1948 and/or that there was never a nation called Palestine (which ignores the fact that there was a territory by that name for many centuries).


    • Hi Adam,
      I know wikipedia is not considered a good source of information by academic standards, but they have what seems to be conclusive evidence that Palestine was mentioned in the fifth century B.C. and also by Aristotle in one of his writings. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you go to school? I have been at Liberty University(online) for five years now and I want to finish up my B.A, but am finding it hard to stay with a school that is so pro-Israel and Christian Zionist. I am thinking of transferring to a college that is more in line with my Amil beliefs, but haven’t been able to find one yet, any suggestions?
      Thanks Adam, bless you bro…


      • Hi Jack,

        That’s interesting about Palestine being mentioned by that name a few centuries before Christ. I did not know that. I’d be interested to know what its borders were said to be at that time.

        I attended Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. It’s a good school in a lot of ways, but it is most definitely Christian Zionist to the core. I also attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’m not sure if they are Christian Zionist-oriented or not. I know my study mentor had a lot of dispensationalist ideas.

        I apologize, but I don’t know of any schools that I can recommend to you, that would be more in line with Amil beliefs. God bless you too.


  3. Hi Adam…at the beginning of the film it said for 1300 years Islam, Jews and Muslims lived together in perfect harmony…what about the Dome of the Rock and Crusades? How did they factor in or did they?


    • Hi Val. Good question. I had some question about that opening statement as well. It’s been a while since I studied the history of the Crusades, but my understanding is that the conflict was largely between Muslims and Catholics, not Muslims and Jews. Do you know much about Jewish involvement in the Crusades?

      Concerning the Dome of the Rock, I’ve read that Catholic pilgrims to the Dome were being attacked, and that this helped to instigate the Crusades. Then in 1099 Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders and the Dome of the Rock was turned into a church. In 1187 Jerusalem was captured by Muslims and the Dome of the Rock became a Muslim shrine.


      • Ok so, a little more reading on wikipedia and at couple other articles suggest’s what you said about the Crusades and seizing has been done through the Catholic Church and Muslims, Muslims and Muslims and prior, Muslims and Roman, Persian Empires…Interesting, Jews/Israel wasn’t mentioned in regards to the Dome of the Rock or Temple Mount until 1948 other than tenants on the land? That seems to be the starting point of Jewish and Muslim conflict in regards to worshipping in that place. (Note: I am not a researcher..please feel free to correct any errors) 🙂


      • Thanks, Val. I don’t see any errors, as far as I’m aware. I read some interesting things about the Jews praying toward the Temple Mount area from their homes between 1948-1967 when they didn’t have access to the area. I also read that some Rabbis forbid their followers from getting to close to the area, because the location of the original holy of holies was unknown and they might accidentally enter that precise area. That’s kind of wild.


  4. Adam,

    Not even sure where to start since there is so much factually incorrect stuff here, but here goes. Your point #1 in the first 48 seconds. You claim, as you saw in the film, they lived together in harmony in North Africa? That could not be further from the truth.

    There were 200,000 Jews living in Morocco in 1900. There were 2,500 in 2000. You think maybe there was a reason they all left in a hurry? People don’t just run away from their homes like that unless they are threatened.

    Adam, I am sorry to say you have been taken in by this propaganda film. I encourage you start right there with your first point. While you are it, in addition to what happened to Jews in Morocco, see what happened to them in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, and Turkey.



    • Hi Shawn,

      If you’ll notice in my reply to Val (above), I told her that I also had questions about this opening statement made in the film. I also said at the beginning of this post that “[t]here are a couple statements in this 75 minute-film that I would like to verify further.” This was one of them.

      I don’t believe, however, that Jews fled Morocco by the tens of thousands during this last century because they were threatened, at least not in most cases. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, there were about 222,000 Jews in Morocco in 1951, then 159,806 Jews in Morocco in 1960, about 130,000 in 1962, “decreasing to 85,000 in 1964 and about 42,000 in 1968… In 1951 over a third of the Jews lived in small towns and villages, but in 1961, as a result of the mass exodus to Israel, only about a quarter of them still lived there.”


      So the exodus from Morocco didn’t really begin until after Israel became a nation in 1948. Wikipedia ( adds these details:

      “In June 1948, soon after Israel was established and in the midst of the first Arab-Israeli war, riots against Jews broke out in Oujda and Djerada, and in Alcazarquivir killing 44 Jews. In 1948-9, 18,000 Jews left the country for Israel. After this, Jewish emigration continued (to Israel and elsewhere), but slowed to a few thousand a year. Through the early 1950s, Zionist organizations encouraged emigration, particularly in the poorer south of the country, seeing Moroccan Jews as valuable contributors to the Jewish State.

      In 1956, Morocco attained independence. Jews occupied several political positions, including three Members of the Parliament of Morocco and a Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. However, emigration to Israel jumped from 8,171 in 1954 to 24,994 in 1955, increasing further in 1956. Beginning in 1956, emigration to Israel was prohibited until 1963, when it resumed. In 1961, the government informally relaxed the laws on emigration to Israel and when Mohammed V died, Jews joined Muslims in a national day of mourning. But over the next three years, more than 80,000 Moroccan Jews immigrated to Israel. By 1967, only 60,000 Jews remained in Morocco.

      The Six-Day War in 1967 led to increased Arab-Jewish tensions worldwide including in Morocco. By 1971, its Jewish population was down to 35,000; however, most of this new wave of emigration went to Europe and North America rather than Israel.

      Despite their current small numbers, Jews continue to play a notable role in Morocco; the King retains a Jewish senior adviser, André Azoulay; they are well represented in business and even a small number in politics and culture; and Jewish schools and synagogues receive government subsidies. However, Jews were targeted in the Casablanca attacks in May 2003… Meanwhile the State of Israel is home to nearly 1,000,000 Jews of Moroccan descent, around 15% of the nation’s total population. In 2013, it was revealed that there is a rapidly growing trend of Moroccan-Jewish families sending their sons to study at the Jerusalem College of Technology in Israel. Most of these students opt to take up Israeli citizenship and settle in Israel after graduating.”

      OK, I focused on your point for a while. Now I want to say that “The Zionist Story” by Ronen Berelovich has a whole lot more to say than just this opening point, and I believe it presents a lot of valuable information worth paying attention to.


  5. Adam, The land constituting Israel, West Bank and Gaza has been historically (since written history began) a Jewish homeland irrespective of what it was called. It was defined as the area between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea. “Palestine” or Palaestina in latin was first to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt in the 5th century. It was also commonly used by the Romans gave to the area also referring to it as Syria Palestenia. The Jews were the first and true “Palestinians” although they never took the name. Arafat himself admitted there was no such thing as a Palestinian prior to his “tenure”, only Arabs as part of a Pan Arab whole. Arafat created the Palestinian cause and focused his terrorist efforts on Israel only AFTER his attempt to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy with help from Syria failed. Arafat rightly recognized that Jordan or Trans Jordan was created as the Arab/Palestinian homeland.


    • Neil, I don’t believe your first statement is all that accurate. When written history began, Israelites (later called Jews) were not in the land which is today known as Israel.

      A Jewish homeland is one thing, if it means that Jews are free to live there. Jews were indeed a minority living in Palestine for a long time before 1948. A Jewish state is another thing as it seems to be defined by many Zionists and Christian Zionists. The definition they tend to use is one that says that non-Jews don’t belong there, they never should have been there, and it’s not an injustice to bulldoze their homes and use any means necessary to chase them away or drive them into a small corner.

      Do you have any interest in the video featured in this post, or in the notes I took on it?


  6. May I say this? I don’t understand why there is such a hang up on the word Palestinian…isn’t Palestine at least a named region? And if so, can we call them “people who lived for generations, owning property and businesses in the Palestinian Region” and be over this argument? We all know there is no” Palestinian People” . I am a novice on this topic (and perhaps this shows how much) but this has been driving me nuts 😇


    • Thank you, Val. I basically agree with that. This splitting of hairs over the name “Palestinians” ignores the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of people living, working, and owning property in the region of Palestine long before Israel became a nation in 1948.

      Saying that “there was no such thing as a Palestinian” before 1948 is like saying “there was no such thing as a Native American” before the white people came to this continent because they didn’t call themselves by that name. Therefore, whatever happened to them is of no consequence.

      At the same time, I’m aware of pre-1948 writings which indicate that people in Palestine did indeed refer to themselves as Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews.



    Once the Arabs of Palestine took that as their self-designation, use of the name “Palestine” became a red-flag (a “shibboleth”!) for Jewish and -Christian Zionists, who insist that the ONLY correct designation for the geographic entity has ever and always been “Israel”, and that the name “Palestine” had only been imposed by the Romans after 135 A.D. to punish the Jews, by blotting out all memory of them, and that anyone who ever refers to the region as “Palestine” is an anti-Semite and a shill for terrorists, — and is denying God’s revelation in the Bible!

    In fact, throughout the Mandate period (1922-1948), the Jews themselves referred to the country as “Palestine”; the right-wing Jewish newspaper (now known as) “The Jerusalem Post” was named “The Palestine Post” when it was founded in 1932; the name wasn’t changed until 1950; the Israeli bank, “Bank Leumi” was originally founded in 1902 as the “Anglo-Palestine Bank”; The Jewish Agency’s posters trying to recruit tourists, and settlers, and financial support in the 1920s and the 1930s urged people to: “Come visit Palestine”; and “Help Him Build Palestine”; and proclaim that: “Palestine Produces Aromatic Tobacco”! (You can find plenty of images of these posters on the internet!); etc. etc.

    Neil’s comments (on 11-Nov-2014 above) are utter rubbish! –Abraham came from what is now Iraq(!), and sojourned (as did his sons and grandsons), in what was then primarily known as “the land of Canaan”, but which was majority-inhabited at the time by numerous OTHER peoples! God instructed him that, in another 350 years’ time, when the measure of the sins of some of those other inhabitants had caused the cup to overflow, that God would then use Abraham’s descendants to execute God’s judgement upon certain of those peoples — Under Moses and Joshua, they were to drive out / exterminate (originally, – to Abraham) ten specific Canaanite peoples or nations (later, to Moses and Joshua – only six or seven!), but which DID NOT include several other peoples, who ALSO dwelt there, and whose lands God expressly FORBADE the Israelites to in any way molest; (the Philistines and the Midianites and the Edomites, for example. even though they caused Israel much grief, were never among those peoples whom the Israelites were originally supposed to wipe out!) But that was a ONCE ONLY genocidal imperative, to execute God’s judgement, and when the Israelites were initially unfaithful in carrying out the command, God then rescinded it! And no similar command of conquest & dispossession has ever again been re-issued by God to the Jews, and certainly not in 1948!

    “Written history” predates the Israelite conquest of Canaan by a considerable time-span! According to no less an authority than the Jewish Virtual Library(!):

    “A derivative of the name “Palestine” first appears in Greek literature in the 5th Century BCE when the historian Herodotus called the area “Palaistinē” (Greek – Παλαιστίνη). (The JVL site also says that the name probably derives from the designation for the Philistines, who conquered the area in the 12th century B.C.)

    (The JVL also repeats the dubious claim that only the Jews living in Mandate Palestine referred to themselves as “Palestinians”, but that the Arabs supposedly did not do so until much later: However, in 1914, (while it was still part of the Ottoman Empire!) Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Publishers of Boston, (as one of their “Children of Other Lands” series of books) published Mousa J. Kaleel’s book about his childhood in Ramallah (today known as “the West Bank”), entitled: “When I Was a Boy in Palestine”

    Click to access wheniwasboyinpal00kalerich.pdf

    Because “Palestine” was the common geographic designation of the region from 135 A.D. to 1948 A.D., it is common in scholarly publications also to speak of “social conditions in first-century Palestine”, etc. even though it wasn’t called “Palestine” at that time, but was indeed known as Judea, Samaria, and Galilee — just as it’s also common to speak of “archaeological artifacts from pre-Columbian America” and indeed, to speak of Columbus “having discovered America”(sic!) even though the continents in question were not yet known as America at that time, and were not named after Amerigo Vespucci until long after the death of Columbus; “America” is simply the standard designation for the region, irregardless of whether or not it was used at the historical time in question: Ditto for the designation “Palestine”!

    Otherwise, what I’ve seen of the film in question appears to be pretty accurate; I hadn’t realized that Ronen himself was originally an Israeli.


    And yes, while both Christians and Jews were discriminated against, (were second-class citizens) under Islam, if they were wiling to accept Muslim rule, they then enjoyed protected status, as “People of the Book”. There was generally less persecution of Jews under Islam than there was in so-called “Christian” societies…

    And because so many Ashkenazi Jews perished in the Holocaust, the Ashkenazi Zionists were forced to recruit the backward Mizrahi (Oriental) Jews from the Arab lands in order to continue to displace the Palestinians — but there has been a lot of racism and discrimination by the civilized, Western, White, European Ashkanzi against their backward, primitive, Arabic-speaking Jewish brethren in Israel.

    And these recruitment efforts included clandestinely, covertly fomenting anti-Semitism (by Mossad agents!) in some of the Arab lands, in order to stoke fear among the here-to-fore complacent, and well-integrated Jews, who didn’t want to perform “Ahliyah”, to drive them into fleeing to Israel…

    (Check out Naeim Giladi’s “Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews.”

    “Giladi’s position that the 1950–1951 Baghdad bombings were “perpetrated by Zionist agents in order to cause fear amongst the Jews, and so promote their exodus to Israel” is shared by a number of anti-Zionist authors, including the Israeli Black Panthers (1975), David Hirst (1977), Wilbur Crane Eveland (1980), Uri Avnery (1988), Ella Shohat (1986), Abbas Shiblak (1986), Marion Wolfsohn (1980), and Rafael Shapiro (1984).[5] In his article, Giladi notes that this was also the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who outlined that allegation in his book “Ropes of Sand”.[2]”

    (Other sources, however, also dispute these claims.)

    In the preface to his article, “The Jews of Iraq”, Giladi writes:

    “I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.” I write about it because I was part of it.”

    (Cf. also the infamous 1954 Lavon Affair in Egypt —

    “The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation, a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American, and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centers. The bombs were timed to detonate several hours after closing time. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, “unspecified malcontents” or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.” (

    — Such deliberate activities as these do after all, then somehow have a way of making Jews somewhat unpopular in the Arab world…


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