Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

A Brief (And Violent) History of The Middle East

Sometimes history is so absurd that it’s funny.

“This Land is Mine,” an animated short film about the history of Israel by cartoonist and animator Nina Paley, has resurfaced in the wake of the latest war in Gaza. The short displays all of the tribes, empires, and countries that have claimed the region at some point in history killing each other in chronological order. The result – set to an exaggerated, Frank Sinatra-style theme song – is a ruthless but hilarious historical timeline of the fate of one of the world’s most contested regions.

Here’s a list (in order) of the of all the “conquerors,” from cave men and Cannanites to Hamas and IDF fighters. For commentary, check out the “Who’s Killing Who?” section underneath the video on Paley’s blog.

Early Man

Canaanite

Egyptian

Assyrian

Israelite

Babylonian

Macedonian/Greek

Greek/Macedonian

Ptolemaic

Seleucid

Hebrew Priest

Maccabee

Roman

Byzantine

Arab Caliph

Crusader

Mamluk of Egypt

Ottoman Turk

Arab

British

Palestinian

European Jew/Zionist

PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah

State of Israel

Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist

and last, but not least…

The Angel of Death

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.