Human rights groups welcome USA Network’s recent announcement that it will not renew its action series ‘Dig’ for a second season due to concerns about the show’s role in whitewashing Israel’s military occupation and illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. The announcement was made after more than a year of protesting by both U.S. and Palestinian human rights groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Human Rights Watch, Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, and the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
“As Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem, we were devastated to see USA Network and NBCUniversal ignore illegal Israeli settlements and apartheid in our city and act as the long arm of ‘Dig’s racist official Israeli sponsors,” said Zakaria Odeh, executive director of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, referring to Israeli government funding of the program. “We were very pleased to learn that the project will not continue and hope that this sends a clear message to NBC and the entire entertainment industry: there is no business to be made in the context of Israeli oppression and occupation until respect for human rights and international law is restored.”
Human rights groups had voiced their concerns about ‘Dig’ to NBCUniversal since the show was first announced in November 2013. Human Rights Watch had called on NBC to “avoid filming in any location that would make it complicit” in what Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson described as Israel’s illegal use of “archaeology projects to strengthen settlements, evict Palestinians, and damage their homes” in occupied Palestinian territory. On May 4, 2015, right before the show’s season one finale, 20 Palestinian groups released a statement demanding the show not be renewed for a second season. The statement explained that: “In the first few seconds of its premiere, the show announced it is set in ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ even though under international law East Jerusalem is part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Human rights organizations plan to continue opposing other attempts by the Israeli government to improve its image worldwide under the banner of “Brand Israel,” a multimillion dollar project that aims to “improve the country’s image abroad by downplaying religion and avoiding any discussion of the conflict with Palestinians.”
“‘Dig’ was the flagship project of a bigger Israeli government plan to lure movie productions to Israel. We call on producers worldwide to refuse to take part in Israel’s re-branding efforts that distract public attention from its crimes against Palestinians,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is the largest and most diverse coalition working to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality. – See more at: http://endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=300#sthash.QgVFjrFZ.dpuf
This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.