March 21, 2019

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Haaretz claims calling Israel the Jewish homeland is a myth

One of the more idiotic articles in an ever more crowded field of such from Haaretz comes from Ofri Ilany, who claims that his problem with the Nation State law is that it is ahistorical – that Israel was never the homeland of the Jews.

The attempt to determine historical truth by means of laws is ridiculous. But what makes it impertinent as well is that this claim is blatantly incorrect – even according to the Bible. As the scholars of Jewish history Jonathan and Daniel Boyarin note in their article “Israel Has No Motherland”: “The biblical story is not one of birth from the land, but of those who always came to the land from elsewhere.”

According to the Bible, the Promised Land was not the homeland of Abraham (who came from Ur of the Chaldees) or of the Israelites (who came from Egypt). It is impossible both to rely on the divine promise to “inherit” the land, and to talk about it as a “homeland.” The contradiction here is clear. The history we are familiar with shows, in addition, that the actual Jewish people, in the form we know it today, was born in the Diaspora and not in the Land of Israel.

 Of course, this means that no one on Earth, except perhaps some Africans, have a homeland, since all of humanity migrated from Africa.

And if Israel isn’t the homeland for Jews, it sure as hell isn’t the homeland for Palestinians!

This is a typical pattern of Israel haters – they will create a set of rules for Israel in order to damn it, and ignore that applying those rules to everyone else would result in chaos.

But wait, there’s more:

It’s important to understand that the scientific study of the history of the Levant in the Iron Age treats the term “ancient Israel” with considerable skepticism. Since the 1990s, many scholars have maintained that it would be best to abandon that term altogether, as it refers to an entity that is meaningless in historical terms. For example, the influential biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche noted in a 2008 article that the kingdom of David and Solomon “nowadays may be considered a fairy kingdom rather than a historical fact.”…

That view is not accepted by all scholars, but in the view of the minimalist school of thought, to which Lemche and Thompson belong, the only reason that “ancient Israel” is still being referenced scientifically is that the evangelical community in the United States and elsewhere is interested in hearing this story.

It turns out, then, that the claim that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people” is at best dubious. 

Let’s cherry pick the opinion of a minority of scholars, ignore anything that contradicts it, and call that truth.

The massive mines from the time of the Biblical Kings that point to a powerful monarchy? The Tel Dan Inscription that mentions David?  Let’s not talk about them. It doesn’t fir the narrative, so therefore it is best left ignored. That’s Haaretz-quality research.

Of course, it doesn’t follow from this that the Jews have no historical association with the country, or that the Palestinians have exclusive rights to it. But it’s worth recalling that throughout the history of this land, a broad range of peoples and groups have lived in it: Christians, Samaritans, Greeks, Canaanites and others. Some of them thrived here for periods that are longer than the whole history of Jewish sovereignty. In the Gaza Strip, for example, a Zeus-Dagon cult existed for 300 years, and in Hebron there was a temple devoted to the androgynous embodiment of Hermes.

Maybe in the near future the pagans and the genderqueers will also demand rights to worship in the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Because the claims of a new group of people are exactly as important as the claims of a people who have existed for thousands of years.

Which is, in fact, the Palestinian argument in a nutshell.

(h/t Yoel)

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