A stream-of-consciousness article on things Jewish and concerted arab recidivism.
The Jewish connection to the modern State of Israel (Eretz Israel) is not a modern phenomenon, but an idea that has existed for as long as there has been a Jewish people. Indeed, the concept of Zion (Israel) is one of the pivotal and central ideas of Judaism.
But where did these Jews come from? Weaving between biblical and archaeological sources, the biblical sources from genesis to the Flood have nothing to do with Israel. In those first 10 chapters of Beresheit (Genesis), God is disappointed with man and wipes out everybody save Noah and the Ark and starts all over again. This time, God focuses on a single family – the family of Abraham, the first Hebrew (Everim – my article on this topic may be found in this blog’s archives). The rest of the Book of Genesis is the story of this family—first Abraham and his wife Sarah, their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, their son Jacob and his wives Rachel and Leah and, finally, Jacob’s 12 sons, who become the 12 tribes of Israel.
it was in Egypt that the Everim of Ur became numerous enough to become a people. Enslaved by a Pharaoh, they were eventually led to freedom by Moses on a 40 year journey to a promised land. En route, they experience a theophany in the Sinai (Horeb) where they enter into a covenant with God.
Upon arriving at the promised land, the Books of Joshua and Judges provide differing accounts of how the Everim took possession of the land. While the Book of Joshua talks a lightning 5 year military campaign after which the Israelite tribes were allocated lands west of the Jordan, the Book of Judges has a more sober rendition of the take-over. In that version, the new arrivals were allotted lands west of the Jordan and it was only after that that attempts to possess the land by conquest by individual tribes or groups of related tribes.
Nor was the entire land subdued. In Judges 1 as a matter of fact is a list of 20 cities whose people were not driven out by the newcomers. These cities included Jerusalem, Gezer, Megiddo, Taanach, Beth-Shean and Beth Shemesh (Judges 1:21, 27–33).
On balance most conservative historians would agree that the account in Judges does preserve a tradition that the land of Canaan was possessed over a long period of time.
However, the hitherto loose Israelite tribal confederacy proved inadequate to defend itself against other more powerful threats such as those of the sea-faring Aegeans, the Philistines. Some more organized structure was needed, so the people asked for a king. And they got a king. Saul was appointed, but his reign was ultimately a failure. He was replaced by Israel’s most glorious king, David, and with his reign, Israel truly became a nation with a distinct religious and cultural identity west of the Jordan.
So, looking at archaeological sources and materials to back up the biblical story, archaeologists confirm the arrival of the Hebrews (the Everim) around 1500 BCE, and date David’s ascenscion to kingship at around 1000 BCE. words.
In other words, most archaeologists would agree that archaeological evidence for the emergence of Israel in Canaan, was around 1200 B.C.E. However, for further corroboration, I would add that the Merneptah Stele from 1200 BCE archives the existence (and defeat; in 1212!) of an important people called Israel living in Canaan as early as the 13th century B.C.E……
Thus, even in this agonisingly brief overview, it is clear that Israelites/Hebrews lived and worshipped as Jews under sovereign rulers starting with Saul. This would then accord these people who lived west of the Jordan, the mantle of indigeneity that recidivists today would gainsay for the basest of reasons: antisemitism.
Chief among the modern naysayers and delegitimisers of Jewish indigeneity in Eretz Israel millennia before the Arab invasions, occupation and colonisation of what is today popularly called the Southern Levant, was Edward Said. Said was an Arab born in Mandate times Palestine in Jerusalem. His claim to fame was his book “Orientalism” where, in his opinion, it was the West’s patronizing attitudes to “the East”— meaning North Africa, Eastern, Middle Eastern and Asian societies – that were the source of all ills: social, economic and political.
Born of an Arab mother and an American father, Said was educated in exclusive (Western!) schools in Egypt and America. He was a PLO supporter and a personal friend of Yasser Arafat. As such, Said claimed that all Middle Eastern historians and experts who did not understand and accept his Orientalism were bigoted, prejudiced, anti-Islam and anti-Arab because they were European (or American) with a Judaeo-Christian frame of reference.
Further, Said “explained” that Israel and Zionism fitted into his new overarching view of Middle East Studies when, in the late 19th century, naked, direct imperialism became embarrassing for the Western powers. According to him, they therefore conspired to create a phony “nationalist movement” ostensibly representing an “indigenous people” who were interested in re-establishing their homeland in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world. That movement, he wrote, was Zionism.
Not for Said, millennia of Jewish history in Jewish Judea and Samaria 1,900 years before the advent of Islam. For him, the establishment of the world’s first monotheistic religion from which Christianity and Islam were derived, were of little consequence in his quest for the greater glory of Arab Islam. And Said was never bothered intellectually that those very same (Western!) Islamophobic, pro-Zionst British colonialists and other European powers concomitantly created four more Muslim states in addition to the Jewish State of Israel: Syria, Jordan Iraq and Lebanon.
In retrospect already (Said died in 2003), Edward Said caused long term damage to the ability of academics and interested others to speak the truth when it came to the Arab Muslim world.
His wacky legacy, now continued by Rashid Khalidi, a “Palestinian” born in New York, did not permit talking about the region’s residents as anything but victims. Specifically, the Arab world, and the “Palestinians” in particular, were treated like juveniles free of responsibility for their actions. Nowhere is this more apparent today than in the extraordinary behaviour of both Arafat and Abbas with the end result that, 70 years after Israeli independence, there is still no additional Muslim Arab state west of the Jordan.
And, with the entry of a hegemonic Iran added to an already volatile mix with constantly shifting goal posts, it is highly unlikely that a sovereign (antagonistic) Muslim Arab entity will now ever exist, a mere stone’s throw (sorry…) from Jerusalem.
Particularly after the oil crisis of the 1960s and the hitherto unprecedented flexing of Arab muscle on the world economic stage, Europe was happy to buy into the false narrative of the dispossessed “indigenous” “Palestinian”, in exchange for oil and freedom from terror attacks.
Time and again, even a cursory perusal of the literature will show up the claim of “Palestinian” indigeneity and dispossession as a cynical narrative aimed at shutting Jews out of their cultural and spiritual heartland.
That will not now, can not now, happen.
I could go on for ages on various tangents arising out of the above, and the ludicrous and spiteful nature of Arab antipathy towards the indigenous people of the Southern Levant, but that’s about it for now for this post.