ZOA: ABC’s “Quantico” TV Show Falsely Claims Israel Bombed Gaza Greenhouses and Defames the IDF
News Press Release
October 30, 2015

Morton A. Klein, president of The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and Elizabeth Berney, Esq., Director of Special Projects released the following statement:

In the midst of a wave of Palestinian Arabs’ daily stabbing, shooting and car attacks against innocent Jewish civilians, American television network ABC has now added fuel to the fire.  On October 18, 2015, in episode 4 of ABC’s new TV series, “Quantico,” the show’s  Jewish character Simon Asher falsely proclaims: “I spent months with the UAWC rehabbing greenhouses bombed by the Israelis in the Gaza strip.”  The show’s lie that Israel’s IDF bombed and destroyed the Gaza greenhouses, when it was the Palestinian Arabs themselves who looted and destroyed them, is false, deeply offensive, and dangerous.

Quantico reverses reality. In fact, Israeli greenhouses are the victims of Hamas rockets. 

To be accurate, the show should have stated:  “I spent months rehabbing greenhouses destroyed by Palestinian Arab looters in the Gaza strip.”   Or, instead of defaming Israel, the show could have simply stated: “I spent months rehabbing greenhouses in the Gaza strip.”  Period. And the Show should  have mentioned that these extraordinary and productive greenhouses were built and developed by the Israeli Jews of Gaza, before they were forceably evacuated, and given to the Palestinians free of charge.

Then, the following week, in Episode 5 (October 25, 2015), “Quantico” defamed the Israel Defense Forces (“IDF”) as doing unspeakable atrocities in Gaza.  In “Quantico” Episode 5, character Simon Asher tearfully “confesses” to a classmate: “You were right about me.  I am dangerous.  . . . I was in the Israeli Defense Forces.  They sent me into Gaza.  I didn’t just see things.  I did things.  Things that haunt me every single day of my life.  After I got back, living undercover was the only way I could cope with what I did, with myself.  So I made myself a lie.  I don’t wear glasses.  I don’t even like coffee.  And I’m not . . . I not. . .  I’d understand if you hate me.”

This statement, including the line “I’d understand if you hate me,” is an outrageous, defamatory message that it is “understandable” to hate Israelis because they do terrible things in Gaza.

Here are the facts:

The IDF is the World’s Most Moral Army:  “Quantico” Episode 5’s defamatory portrayal of the IDF is an outrageous falsehood – and totally disregards the IDF’s extraordinary humanity.  The IDF has consistently gone to extraordinary lengths to protect Palestinian Arab lives in Gaza (at the cost of numerous Israeli lives) – even while Hamas and other jihadi groups based in Gaza launched 19,000 deadly rockets and missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians during the past decade.  Among other things, the IDF made hundreds of thousands of cell phone calls and air-dropped millions of flyers to warn Palestinian Arab civilians to leave military targets, and the IDF frequently aborted important military operations to protect Palestinian Arab children that Hamas used as human shields.

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of all the British forces in Afghanistan, praised the IDF’s humanity as follows:  “No other army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone.”

“Quantico” could easily have had a “haunted by what I’ve done” character who worked with a group that commits REAL atrocities in the Middle East – such as ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO/Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Muslim Brotherhood – to name a few.  Yet, Quantico ignores all these heinous groups. Instead, Quantico falsely portrays the world’s most humane nation and army – Israel and the army of the Jewish Nation – as the villains.

Palestinian Arabs Destroyed the Gaza Greenhouses.  Here are the facts on the Gaza greenhouses:

  1. Quantico reverses reality. In fact, Israeli greenhouses are the victims of Hamas rockets.  On September 21, 2015, just four weeks before Quantico Episode 4 aired, a Hamas rocket fired from Gaza hit and damaged a greenhouse in southern Israel.  The Hamas rocket landed in the center of the greenhouse, damaging Israeli crops and equipment.  It was a miracle that the Israeli greenhouse workers were not killed.
  1. In 2005, when Israel completely evicted all Jewish residents from Gaza (9,000 Jews from 21 towns), Israel gave 3,000 greenhouses built by Gaza’s Jewish residents to Arab locals for free, to help Gaza establish a flourishing economy. At the time of this gift, the greenhouses were producing approximately $200 million per year of high quality flowers, fruits and vegetables for export.  The World Bank reported that 90% of the greenhouses were intact when the Israelis left.  American Jewish philanthropists (including former World Bank head James Wolfensohn, publisher Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Lester Crown and Leonard Stern) raised $14 million to help finance the greenhouses gift to the Gazan Arabs. 

Immediately after Gaza’s Jewish residents were evicted, masses of Palestinian Arabs looted, vandalized, burnt down and destroyed the greenhouses.  Palestinian soldiers reported that the Arab looters stole the expensive equipment used to tend the crops, water pumps, irrigation lines, fuse boxes, metal support beams, piping, and the plastic and canvas coverings that protected the vegetables from the hot sun, and demolished huge greenhouses.  Although some greenhouses survived the first round of Palestinian Arab looting, vandalism and destruction, many of those surviving greenhouses were ruined in a second round of Palestinian Arab looting and destruction in early 2006

Mortimer Zuckerman stated at the time:  “We thought it was a chance to show the Palestinians that there were more benefits from cooperation than confrontation.  I’m just sad that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. . . . It’s almost inexplicable.”

Quantico Has Over 11 Million Weekly Viewers:  Nielsen ratings indicate that Quantico Episode 4 (which defamed Israel regarding the greenhouses) was seen by 5.2 million live viewers, and a total of 11 million viewers including the first several days of recorded and video-on-demand viewing.  Quantico Episode 5 (which defamed the IDF) was seen by 5.07 million live viewers; the video-on-demand and recorded figures are not in yet for Episode 5, but are likely to be similar to Episode 4’s eleven million viewers.  In addition, according to Disney’s annual report to the SEC, Disney productions (the majority of which are produced under the ABC Studios label) are distributed worldwide.  Presumably, ABC will distribute Quantico to European countries and elsewhere where Jews are being subjected to record levels of anti-Semitic attacks, thereby adding to the anti-Semitic incitement that is endangering Jewish lives throughout the world.

Especially at this time when Palestinian Arabs are running around Israel shooting and stabbing innocent Jews in the neck, ABC’s defamation of Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces in front of over 11 million viewers is anti-Semitic, dangerous and outrageous.  Quantico Episodes 4 & 5 make ABC seem like a propaganda arm of the U.S. State Department-designated terrorist group Hamas that controls Gaza.

The Dangerous History of Anti-Semitic Fiction:  Fiction – in plays, film and television – is an extremely powerful medium.  There is a long history of fiction fomenting violent anti-Semitism:  In Christopher Marlow’s The Jew of Malta (the biggest theatrical hit of that time – the 1590s), the Jewish usurer and poisoner of wells and nuns character fed anti-Jewish hysteria, leading to mobs rejoicing when a converted Jew, the Queen’s physician Roderigo Lopez, was convicted on trumped-up charges and publicly hanged.  Shakespeare’s cunning, evil, legalistic, bulb-nosed, heartless Shylock character in The Merchant of Venice is believed to have incited even more anti-Semitism than the fraudulent, notorious anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Adolph Hitler and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels understood the power of film – and asked German film producers to make anti-Semitic films.  The most effective of the resulting films was Jud Suss (seen by 20 million Germans – not that many more than the numbers who see Quantico every week!), in which an immoral, cunning, untrustworthy, unattractive, cut-throat Jewish moneylender character rapes an Aryan woman.  We all know the result of the Nazi’s anti-Semitic propaganda.

ZOA Contacted ABC and “Quantico”’s Producers:  The ZOA contacted ABC and “Quantico”’s producers Joshua Safran and Nick Pepper of Mark Gordon Co. to try to obtain corrective statements regarding the the show’s defamatory statements about the greenhouses in Gaza and the IDF, and regarding other issues with “Quantico” – including the anti-Semitic portrayal of the Jewish character as a “weasel” and a usurper of the gay struggle.  (In addition to maligning Jews, “Quantico” also managed to offend Mormons and members of the FBI – who are portrayed as framing a woman from India for a terrorist attack simply because she is “brown.”   Why does a show purportedly about terrorism disparage innocent groups while apparently ignoring the biggest threat facing the U.S. and the West – namely, radical Islamic terrorism?) 

ZOA urged – and continues to urge ABC and Quantico’s producers to:

  • Publicly apologize and correct Quantico’s falsehoods in a manner that will be seen by the same 11 million plus viewers who viewed “Quantico’s” defamatory episodes – including an episode and/or statement appended to an episode that discusses the same issues accurately;
  • Delete the offending statements from all future replays and distribution of Quantico Episodes 4 and 5; and
  • Assure that future episodes of Quantico avoid similar outrages.

The Jewish Rapid Response Coalition (JRRC) also joined ZOA in urging ABC to correct “Quantico”’s defamation.

In response, ABC opened a friendly dialogue with the ZOA.  However, as of now, ABC and “Quantico”’s producers have not made the necessary corrections.  ZOA urges ABC’s audiences and advertisers to join ZOA in demanding that ABC promptly correct “Quantico”’s anti-Israel defamation.  

Center for Law & Justice
We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
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We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.