Thursday, September 13, 2007

continuing on the anti-Israeli theme . . .

. . . .Someone called Pencils made a great comment on the story I was ranting about in the last post. Anyway, this guy Pencil seems to be rubbishing the claim by the Jews to an ancestral homeland. The Hobbits angle is pretty witty. Anyway, here it is in full:

"Harry - sorry, that's a bit too cryptic for me.

TeachESL - The Palestinians before 1947 were rather obviously the people living in the land known since at least the time of the Philistines as Palestine (at least amongst other things like Canaan, Judea)..

Where does the word Jew come from? - I don't know where the English word 'Jew' came from - Judea? but, re the group of people who it refers to, I can't recommend highly enough 'the Bible Unearthed' by Israel's top archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, which is the state of the argument at present. Nothing is certain - a lot depends on the chronology of ancient Egypt and that could turn out to be completely wrong, but it seems certain that the Kingdom of David and Solomon never existed - at least in the form described in the Bible. There is no evidence for the Exodus and even the 'return' from Babylon is uncertain. There were certainly some hill tribes in Palestine or Canaan distinguished by their religious practices by at least 700 BC - anything else is uncertain. They first show up in solid history in the times of the Babylonians, Persians and Seleucid Greeks. It is possible that there may have been times previously when they had an independent state, maybe even a powerful one for a short time, but not even the Biblical accounts indicate that they usually had access to the coast or usually controlled the whole of Palestine. The earliest map I have seen of Jewish population distribution is of the situation just before the Roman's exiled the Jews from Judea. At that time there were more jews living outside of Judea than in it. There may have been as many jews living in Mesopotamia as in Judea, and there were Jewish populations scattered throught the colonies of both the Greeks and the Phoenicians/Carthaginians. That's something that could do with a lot more discussion. I think that there are plenty of clues that trade between the red sea and the Mediterranean was an important interest of the Jewish states, and the story of Ahab, Omri and Jezebel and their links with the Phoenicians point to a probable explanation - they developed a talent for trade and had a client relationship with the Phoenicians who allowed them to set up their own trading posts in their colonies - which seems to have continued under the Persians; and when the Greeks conquered the Persian Empire, the Greek colonies were open for trade, and this continued under the Romans. When their nation was dissolved they became, in Europe anyway, effectively a merchant guild with a common ethnic origin and religion, while Mesopotamia became the main Jewish population and religious centre. The Palestinians are the descendants of whoever remained or whoever came later- I think it unlikely that even in Roman times there was a Jewish majority in the Roman province of Judea , because it include non-jewish regions. Got a better explanation ?

"Who were the majority population in Jerusalem in the mid-1800's. Why do Jews pray in the direction of Jerusalem? How many times in the Koran is the name Jerusalem mentioned? How many times is it mentioned in the Bible?"

Answer - don't know, don't care! I think you've fallen into the trap of taking as reality a myth that is no more real than ' the Lord of the Rings' - and is a lot less fun! What if the hobbits should buy up 6% of England from foreign absentee landowners, and the UN should give them 1/2 of the country and evict the English - after all, what Holy book mentions the English.? There are no hobbits? Well, I'm sure there are hordes of Americans and Russians who could come up with the papers to show that they had one hobbit grandparent."

The point is that Israel is now established and seems to be in the grips of an aggressively expansionist political ideology (zionism) that seems to be driven by the perception of a divine right to occupancy of a poorly defined region of the middle east with no legal, moral or historical justification. Such a policy relegates all other peoples occupying such territory to untermenschen and is profoundly similar to lebensraum. I don't have a problem with a secular Israeli state within the pre-1967 borders but this is simply monstrous.

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