An American television show has caused offense by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader.
The show Homeland aired an episode in which two characters discussed a fictional Taliban terrorist, with one saying the terrorist had “killed 36 Americans.” The other replied, “Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David hotel before he became prime minister.”
Decades before he was Israel’s prime minister, Begin ran the underground paramilitary group Irgun, which fought to free the fledgling Jewish state from British colonial rule and to defend it against its enemies.
In 1946, Irgun fighters planted bombs in the King David hotel. They then repeatedly called the hotel to warn that bombs had been planted – but the officers who took their call refused to evacuate. The bomb went off with the building still occupied, killing 91 people, 28 of them British citizens.
Begin was not a part of the attack, but accepted responsibility as the head of the group.
Staff at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center slammed Homeland for comparing Begin to a killer. The Irgun repeatedly made efforts to avoid casualties, they argued – a stark contrast to the Taliban.
Homeland recently caused offense in Pakistan due to its depiction of the country’s intelligence services as complicit with terrorism.