‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader
A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy Patinkin.
“Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David Hotel before becoming Prime Minister,” Adal said, referencing the 1946 bombing at the King David hotel in Jerusalem carried out by the Irgun, a right-wing militant Jewish organization headed by Begin.
Herzl Makov, director of Israel’s Menachem Begin Center, said the reference amounted to slander against the former prime minister and Israel.
“To say, ‘Begin killed’? He wasn’t even there,” Makov told Israeli news service Ynet. “The underground resistance group was under his command, and he took responsibility. In addition, three warnings were given to the British to vacate and their commander refused. So there is a dramatic difference between the two cases compared.”
“For me, it is like saying that [Begin and Homeland‘s Taliban leader] are both terrorists, just like saying they both wore brown shirts,” he added. “It is surprising specifically because Homeland is based on the Israeli [TV series] format Prisoners of War.”
Entertainment Weekly reported that Showtime, the network behind the Emmy-winning show, has declined to comment on the issue.
The controversy comes days after the Pakistani government attacked the series for portraying the country as a place of refuge for Islamic terrorists, according to the Daily Mail. Diplomats condemned Homeland producers for depicting Islamabad, the setting of the show’s fourth series, as a “hellhole” refuge for the Taliban.