16 July 2009

Israel's Fairytale Blocks Middle East Peace

This appears to be another case of ancient bloody myths contributing to a modern bloody reality.

This is an excellent piece and analysis published at Middle East Online by Robert Parry who was responsible for breaking many of the Iran-Contra Affair stories among other things. He discusses the “Israeli Myths” or Three Pillars of the State Of Israel. These “Pillars” and “Myths” have created this most untenable situation of continuing war with Israel’s neighbours in the Middle East and rests directly on the premise of the Jewish State itself. He examines this from the perspective of a new book by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, titled: “ When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” The book debunks the Myth of Rome removing the Jews from the Holy Land causing them to be scattered across Europe.

For me, this is yet another example of people with an agenda high jacking and perverting religion to serve their political purpose. Today we see much of this, those who excel at this technique, can immediately garner millions of followers and support. We see it in the Muslim Religion with groups like Al Qaeda who attack Christians AND Muslims, We see it in Christian Religion with people like Hagee and the other Zio-Christian fanatics who bomb abortion clinics and kill their workers, whilst at the same time comdemning the killing of unborn children (who may have grown up to work in a clinic, how Ironic!), we see it in the Jewish Religion in many places, such as the radical Zionist nutjobs who set off bombs in New York City. In Ireland we have seen religion used as a rallying cry against the native Irish population using Death Squads to murder the Native people for hundreds of years. This continues to some degree even today, with what has become known as "Ulster Protestantism." Another feature of these fanatic high jacked religious groups, is that the old religion names no longer serve the purpose, they are re-named to fit the times (Or the Agenda); "Born Again Christians" "Zionists" "Ulster Protestantism" etc.

So, like everything else in modern society, religion has been high jacked by subversive groups, many with political agendas, and it has become more about winning a political cause, than entering heaven. And sadly the followers have not a clue they are being used...........Here is a good portion of the lengthy analysis, a link is provided at the end for the entire piece:
Ancient Israeli Myths Deter Peace

As recently as Israeli’s bombardment of Gaza in January 2009, the myth of the Diaspora was used to justify the slaughter of some 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many children and other non-combatants. When the Israeli government investigated alleged war crimes by its army, Israeli troops testified that extremist Rabbis had proclaimed the invasion a holy war, notes Robert Parry.

The rationale for formally designating Israel a Jewish state – as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now demands – rests on three religious-political pillars: God’s purported covenant with Moses instructing the ancient Israelites to conquer the land, the injustice of the Roman-era Diaspora that supposedly removed them centuries later, and the brutal persecution of European Jews in the Holocaust.

Yet, two of these pillars – Moses conveying God’s covenant to the Israelites and the Roman Diaspora – appear based on almost no historical reality, the stuff of legend and possibly even lies that crumble under any serious scrutiny.

Netanyahu’s new demand means that these myths now threaten peace in the Middle East and conceivably could push the modern world into more bloody warfare.

Therefore, they must be given fresh examination.

the Holocaust is not in historical dispute. That horrible reality – an industrial-style extermination campaign that also targeted Gypsies, homosexuals and Communists –was proven after the World War II from a multitude of Nazi records, photographs and eyewitness accounts

It is the tales of Moses from the Torah (or the first five books of the Old Testament) and the legend of the Roman Diaspora that lack serious historical underpinnings.

The Diaspora myth has been addressed in a new book by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? It debunks the notion that Rome removed the Jewish people en masse from the Holy Land in the First and Second Centuries A.D. and scattered them across Europe.

Instead, most East European Jews appear to be descendents of converts, principally from the Kingdom of the Khazars in eastern Russia, who embraced Judaism in the Eighth Century, A.D.

Thus, Sand argues, many of today’s Israelis who emigrated from Europe after World War II have little or no genealogical connection to the land. According to Sand, a bitter irony of Israel’s founding may be that it displaced Palestinians who could be the actual descendants of the ancient Israelites, who stayed on the land and eventually converted to Islam.

Other descendants of those ancient Israelites maintained Judaism as a strong presence in the Middle East, both in Palestine and in successful communities from Egypt to Iraq and Iran. These Jews faced few religious pressures until after Israel was founded in 1948, when this new European intrusion into Islamic lands was viewed in the context of the Crusades a millennium ago.

The Moses Myth

Yet, while questioning the Diaspora myth is a sensitive topic for many Israelis and their supporters around the world, it is even touchier to challenge the Biblical claim that God, through Moses, struck a covenant with the Israelites to conquer the land and possess it for all time.

Because the Torah is sacred to Jews – and to many Christians as the revealed word of God in the Old Testament – it has been dangerous to examine the factual history behind these texts in an objective manner.

Modern Biblical scholars now agree that Moses was not the author of the Torah, that the stories were passed down orally from the 14th Century B.C. and were put into writing centuries later. But the legendary figure of Moses has remained almost beyond criticism, not only for many Jews but for people of the Christian and Islamic faiths.

Many Americans think of Moses as the angry but righteous leader as portrayed by Charlton Heston in the 1956 epic “The Ten Commandments,” or they think of their feel-good Bible studies as children. Yet, many archaeologists believe that the Moses stories were largely made up.

“This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Isrealites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel,” summed up Professor Ze’ev Herzog, director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University.

“The many Egyptian documents that we have make no mention of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt and are also silent about the events of the Exodus.” Nevertheless, because of the powerful influence of the Torah (and the Old Testament), the biblical Moses carries extraordinary religious and historical weight, inspiring Israeli settlers to claim Palestinian lands as rightfully theirs and rallying fundamentalist Christians across the American heartland to embrace whatever actions the Israelis take.

Though Moses is regarded by many as a great law giver (the Ten Commandants) and as a major force in the formation of monotheism (the belief in one God), the text of the Torah present him as a cruel and tyrannical leader.

From a modern perspective, Moses might be viewed as a “dictator who killed his own people” when they disobeyed him and an advocate of genocide against outsiders. His claims that he spoke with the Lord sound more like a megalomaniac who believed he could scare a primitive people into following his orders by claiming they were edicts from God.

Indeed, over the centuries, many tyrants have used religion (especially monotheism) to justify repression and to eliminate enemies and rivals. The religious wars in Europe during the Middle Ages are a classic example of how kings and popes wrapped their personal power in the bloody cloak of religion, torturing and burning alive “heretics” who wouldn’t submit.

In Exodus, for instance, there is the famous story of the Israelites creating a visible idol of their God in the form of a golden calf while Moses is absent on Mount Sinai. When Moses returns with stone tablets conveying laws of behavior, he is furious and smashes the tablets.

According to the Torah, Moses then grinds up the golden calf, mixes it with water and makes the Israelites drink it. Then, Moses recruits what we would today call a “death squad.”

The Torah reads: “Moses stood at the gate of the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, to me!’ And the Levites gathered round him. And he said to them, ‘Thus said the Lord God of Israel, “Put every man his sword on his thigh, and cross over and back from gate to gate in the camp, and each man kill his brother and each man his fellow and each man his kin”’ And the Levites did according to the word of Moses, and about three thousand men of the people fell on that day.”

In other words, Moses ordered a massacre of Israelites whom he regarded as his enemies, people who had challenged his authority in the form of dancing around the golden calf.

The Diaspora Myth

The second pillar – the Roman Diaspora – also comes from ancient times though not as far back as the stories of Moses. If anything, however, the Diaspora has less of a historical basis.

In When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, Dr. Sand, an expert on European history at the University of Tel Aviv, says the Jews were never exiled en masse from the Holy Land and that the myth of the Diaspora was used by Zionists over the past century to buttress their argument for creating Israel.

Sand, a European Jew born in 1946 to Holocaust survivors in Austria, argues that until the Zionist movement arose, Jews thought of themselves as Jews because they shared a common religion, not because they possessed a direct lineage to the ancient tribes of Israel.

However, at the turn of the 20th Century, Sand asserts, Zionist Jews began assembling a national history to justify creation of a Jewish state by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion and that they had primogeniture over the territory that had become known as Palestine.

The Zionists also invented the idea that Jews living in exile were obligated to return to the Promised Land, a concept that had been foreign to Judaism, Sand states.

If Sand’s thesis is correct – and it has faced no substantive rebuttal – it would suggest that many of the Palestinian Arabs have a far more substantial claim to the lands of Israel than do many European Jews who arrived there asserting a God-given claim.

Indeed, Sand theorizes that many Jews, who remained in Judea after Roman legions crushed the last uprising in 136 A.D., eventually converted to Christianity or Islam, meaning that the Palestinians who have been crowded into Gaza or concentrated in the West Bank might be direct descendants of Jews from the Roman era.

In his book – and in an interview with Haaretz about his book – Sand challenged the myth that the Romans relocated the Jews by force to Europe. In the interview, he said:
"I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country.

“The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th Century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."
The True Descendants

Asked if he was saying that the true descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians, Sand responded:
"No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents.

“The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-1939], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled.

“Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"
But there can be no doubt that the story of the Diaspora has played a key role in the founding of Israel and that the appeal of this powerful narrative has helped generate sympathy around the world, especially in the United States.

"After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom," reads the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

As recently as Israeli’s bombardment of Gaza in January 2009, the myth of the Diaspora was used to justify the slaughter of some 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many children and other non-combatants. When the Israeli government investigated alleged war crimes by its army, Israeli troops testified that extremist Rabbis had proclaimed the invasion a holy war.

The troops said the Rabbis brought them booklets and articles declaring: “We are the Jewish people. We came to this land by a miracle. God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu has insisted on a new precondition for talks – that the Palestinians must agree to a “public, binding and unequivocal” recognition that Israel is “the nation state of the Jewish people,” not simply the nation state of the people of Israel. Netanyahu is making this demand although Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population.

This appears to be another case of ancient bloody myths contributing to a modern bloody reality.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush , can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com


Anonymous said...

Decent article, but:
Many modern Palestinians are not converted Jews, rather descendants of indigenous nationalities who were on the land long before the arrival of Abram (Abraham). They have a longer uninterrupted claim to the land than the Jews.

PlanetMichelle said...

interesting post! One thing that stands out for me regarding the jewish holocaust is my reading of countless personl holocaust memoirs and the fact that the majority of the holocaust victims were not Zionists and did not agree with Zionism. Or they just did'nt care. They were wisked out of Europe by Zionist activists as the Jews were now in a precarious position. They didn't know which way to think but Zionists assured them they would end up in the ovens if they did not get out and Palestine was the only open door. Which was false. When the people resisted they were bullied into boarding the boats. They needed a body count in order to establish Israel so they were dragging Jews out. I bring this up because when I hear now all these Israelis toeing the Zionist propganda line, I know it wasn't this way when it started out. I suppose they had to surrender themselves because of their weak positions, from there they also surrendered to lies. It's amazing to me how they can't surrender now to the fact that thier immigration was based on a lie and will ultimatly result in another Jewish holocaust. As your post pointed out; the Jews in general, not Zionists only. They should adopt the united Palestine effort and save themselves.

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