Many governments across the globe support Israel and believe its existence to be a valid return to origins for the Jewish diaspora. In spite of thousands of years of evidence to the contrary, most nations are not willing to challenge this revision of history. Many adherents of Judeo-Christian faiths believe this Israeli version of history because they believe it is God's will and fulfillment of His divine prophecies.
On 14 May, Israel annually celebrates its Day of Independence which it declared in 1948. On 15 May, Palestine commemorates the 1948 Nakba. Nakba meaning 'the catastrophe' - the day that Israel was formally proclaimed, representing the ethnic cleansing and Judaising of Palestine based on the Law of Return.
While it is often believed that Israel was created by UN Resolution 181, it was actually created by the Jewish Agency in contradiction to Resolution 181, which had resolved that the Jewish state should be created along with an Arab state and with the permission of the local Arab population. Of course, the locals weren't in agreement with having half their country given away to foreigners. The Jewish Agency wouldn't take no for an answer and set about systematically destroying Palestinian villages and forcibly removing or executing the inhabitants. To justify this, and to gain the support of the majority of the world's nations, Israel propagated the story that Jews have a right to return to their homeland, the Holy Land, Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. In order for this story to gain credence, history has been rewritten. Ironically, Adolf Hitler stated, 'if you tell a big enough lie, often enough, it will be believed.'
How many expulsions make an Exile?
The first claim is that the Jewish diaspora was the result of a dispersal of Jews from the Holy Land through exile. According to the Bible, around 597BC Nebuchadnezzar exiled Judeans to Babylon, whilst some fled to Egypt and others remained in Judea. By 538BC, the Judeans were allowed to return, which many did, and others remained in Babylon and Egypt. This exile was temporary and did not result in Jews wandering throughout the world.
It is also claimed that after destroying the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD, the Roman Empire exiled the Jews from Palestine. This exile supposedly resulted in Jews wandering throughout the world for the next 2,000 or so years. This is quite the exaggeration. In 63BC, Judea (a small region of Palestine) became a province of Rome. Around 70AD the Judeans revolted, resulting in many deaths and much of the population enslaved. However, Rome did not exile or deport the entire population of the region, or even a significant portion of the population. From132AD to 135AD, there was another revolt (led by Shimon Bar Kokhba) in Judea. Again the Judeans were defeated, many killed, some enslaved, some fled, some exiled (mainly the leaders of the revolt); most remained.
No history book of the era records a mass exile or a mass exodus of Jews from the Holy Land. (1) The Romans were adept at many things, in particular recording their heroic deeds for posterity. Yet, strangely, the Romans did not record such a monumental event. Additionally, why would they do such a thing? With roughly 2,000,000 Jews in the Holy Land around that time, it would have been a lot of tax-payers to kick out of the Empire. It makes no sense. The respected Jewish historian, Josephus, also did not record any such exile. Certainly, some of worst agitators suffered expulsion from Judea, however, this was not a mass exile.
The few historical records of the alleged 'exile' were written centuries after this and appear to be fabrications as they do not match any record written at the time of the 'exile'. Eventually Jewish historians realised that an invented 70AD exile, and/or a 135AD exile did not match existing historical records, so they rewrote the exile to coincide with the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land around 638AD. (1)
Exile, regardless of whether it was in 70AD, 135AD or 638AD is claimed to have dispersed the Jews throughout the world, resulting in a Jewish diaspora.
Proselytes - Jewish by conversion, not race
What is rarely discussed, however, is that from around 200BC, the Jews had begun proselytising the Roman Empire and the many traders who travelled to and through the Holy Land, including Persian and Asian traders using the Silk Road. The bible has a number of references to proselytes as converts to Judaism, including this verse in Matthew 23:15 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel the land and the sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves'.
Women were most willing to convert to Judaism, perhaps because the men didn't want to pay the price of admission to this exclusive religion; namely by severing their fore-skins. It is interesting that the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 2:28-29 'For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is one outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.'
It would appear that Paul wasn't keen on promoting physical circumcision either, but opted for the more palatable and less painful, 'spiritual' circumcision. For that matter God wasn't keen on promoting physical circumcision at this point as it represented the old covenant which required blood sacrifice. The new covenant that God made, a covenant in which Jesus paid the blood sacrifice for all, focussed on man's spiritual condition and relationship with God. The old covenant required man to constantly atone for sin, under the new covenant Jesus was the atonement and we were forgiven by grace.
Conversion to Judaism was not always voluntary. In his book 'The life of Flavius Josephus', Josephus writes 'the Jews would force them to be circumcised, if they would stay among them'.
As a result of centuries of proselytisation, Jewish converts extended throughout the Mediterranean, from Northern Africa through Egypt, Persia, and the areas now known as Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. By around 300AD, the proselytes also extended into Eastern Europe, Western and Central Asia. From these, the mighty Khazar empire was established and expanded throughout Euroasia, from Russia in the north to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia and north-eastern Turkey. The Khazar aristocracy eventually converted to Judaism and obviously encouraged the ongoing proselytising of Eurasia.
Meanwhile the proselytes living in the Roman Empire and subsequent Byzantine Empire continued their proselytisation into Northern Europe.
The European Jews who migrated to Israel during the 20th century, claiming that it was their land, were not descended from Jews of the Holy Land (Palestine, Judea, Israel) but were descended from European and Central Asian converts to Judaism. They are the descendants of proselytes. They have as much claim on the Holy Land as a Christian descended from Britons.
The diaspora written about in the bible referred to Jews who had moved or been exiled to Babylon or Egypt, where they remained - they did not become 'wandering Jews'. It was not a world wide dispersal.
Palestinians are the true descendants of Judea
The tragic irony of the persecution that is being wielded against Palestinians (and has been since at least 1948) is that the ancestors of most of those Palestinians would have been Jews in Palestine 2,000 years ago. Over the centuries many of them converted to Christianity during the malevolent reign of the Byzantine Empire which forced conversions on its citizens and persecuted Jews.
Following the Muslim conquest of Palestine around 638AD, many of the citizens converted to Islam. Unlike the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic Empire did not force conversion on the population. Contrary to the claims of some Zionists who believe that this resulted in the exile of Jews, the Muslims did not require anyone to leave the country. Similar to the Roman Empire, exile would have drastically reduced the Caliphate's tax base.
Many of the Jews in Palestine at the time welcomed and assisted the establishment of Islamic rule because it was preferable to the cruel Byzantine rule. Under Islamic law, Muslims were not required to pay tax and non-Muslims were. Not surprisingly, many non-Muslims, in particular Jews and Christians, eventually converted to Islam as a tax avoidance measure. This introduced a problem for the Caliphate government because their tax-payer base rapidly dwindled, so they eventually revised their taxation policy.
The descendants of these Muslim converts live in the Holy Land today and, ironically, face persecution and a form of exile at the hands of Jews, the returning 'diaspora', who are descended from Jewish converts.
Palestine - 'terra nullius'
In the late 19th century, a small group of Zionists cast their covetous, collective eye towards Palestine. Zionists claimed that the Jewish diaspora had a God-given right to inhabit the Holy Land. The problem with this is that they wanted Jews to be given the land and the original inhabitants to secede power to them. In 1948 this came to fruition.
By 1948, following centuries of horrific European pogroms against Jews which culminated in the genocide unleashed by the Nazis, the world was convinced that Jews around the world should be granted their own land. They were given Palestine. This in itself was perhaps the world's worst example of NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard. At that time, the United States and some European nations were refusing to take in Jewish refugees following the Second World War. It suited them perfectly for the problem of Jewish refugees to be moved somewhere else, anywhere else. So United Nations Resolution 181 was passed with little consultation, and no negotiation, with Palestinians.
On 14 May 1948 modern Israel was formally established by the Jewish Agency. 15 May 1948 is commemorated by Palestinians as the Nakba - 'Day of Catastrophe'.
For 50 years prior to the establishment of Israel, Zionists had been saying that they needed to take a nation that was empty. They decreed the land of Palestine to be a "land without people - for a people without land". Essentially they were proclaiming Palestine to be 'terra nullius' (latin for 'land without people'). And so the cleansing of history began. The propaganda stated that the Palestinians were an invented people. Yet the Jews making this claim were not descendants of Abraham or any other resident of the Holy Lands. The Palestinians had resided there for thousands of years. The European Zionists and their ancestors had never resided there.
Government policy - Judaise Palestine
In order to supplant the local population, a law was passed that enabled any Jew from anywhere in the world to relocate to Israel and inhabit land and property that had been stolen from the local Palestinian population. This was property that had once belonged to Palestinians who had either been violently forced to abandon it, or had been violently threatened in order to cheaply sell the property to the government of Israel. The Israeli government worked ferociously to encourage Jews to move to Israel and to drive out the local Palestinians, offering them cheap houses and land. The reason for this was to "Judaise" the country by increasing the numbers of Jews and decreasing the numbers of Palestinians (2).
1948 wasn't the return of a diaspora, but an invasion of Palestinian land.
'Law of Return'
Today, Israel requires all citizens and political parties to acknowledge the 'Law of Return' which enables Jews from anywhere in the world to become Israeli citizens, whether or not they were born there and whether or not they even chose to remain in the country. Even parties representing Muslims or Palestinians are required to acknowledge this law.
The 'Law of Return' assumes that all Jews have genetic roots in Israel/Judea. There can be no 'return' if their ancestors where never from there. The 'Law of Return' is one of the key tools in the Judaisation of Israel/Palestine.
The real Semites
Criticism of Israel often results in accusations of anti-Semitism. The irony of this, is that the Palestinians whose land was forcibly taken from them are Semites who lived in the area for millenia, while the bulk of the Jews who moved to Palestine around 1948, are not Semitic, but from various European and Asian races.
Additionally, most of the criticism is not against Jews or Judaism, but against human rights abuses committed in the name of Israel. The nation of Israel has established itself as a Jewish state, but like any State it must be held accountable for its actions, regardless of its State religion.
Martin Luther King and 'that' quote
Occasionally someone will repeat the quote purportedly written by Martin Luther King, "When people criticise Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism". This was supposedly written by MLK in "Letter to a Zionist Friend". It is false. MLK never wrote such a letter. The quote itself? There appear to be two sources of it. One account is by Seymour Martin Lipset who claims that MLK was at a dinner in Cambridge when a young man made disparaging remarks about Zionists as a people group. MLK replied with "Don't talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism". This account is documented at: http://electronicintifada.net/content/fraud-fit-king-israel-zionism-and-misuse-mlk/4373
The second account claims that King was speaking at Harvard University when a student asked a hostile question about Zionism. MLK responded with "When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking about anti-Semitism". This account is recorded here: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_article=369
The quote itself is based on an incorrect assumption, namely that Zionists are Jews. However, not all Zionists are Jews, not all Jews are Zionists. To demonstrate this inaccuracy, one only has to look at the large number of Christian Zionists and of course the large number of Jews who criticise Zionism. Sadly, many Jews who are critical of either Zionism or Israeli policy are labelled 'self-hating' Jews in an effort to motivate them through patriotism and loyalty and the implication that they are traitors to their own people.
However, patriotism is a dangerous thing which often discourages people from criticising their own for fear of being labelled treacherous. As Guy de Maupassant once said, 'Patriotism is a religion, the egg from which wars are hatched.' Also in relation to the dangers of patriotism, William H Boyer stated, 'blind patriotism has been kept intact by rewriting history to provide people with moral consolation and a psychological basis for denial.'
Criticism of Israel is not criticism of Judaism. Israeli policies have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and the issuing of hundreds of UN resolutions condemning Israeli aggression and illegal settlements.
Even with the 'Law of Return', most Jews have chosen not to return. There are many Jews throughout the world who do not agree with, or believe, the Zionist propaganda. However, the propaganda has influenced so many people that many Jews and Christians, and even a number of non-religious people, believe that Palestinians have no claim to their own land.
There have been gross human right violations committed on Palestinians in the name of Zionism. The world needs to understand the truth behind the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the reconstruction of history and the manipulation of religion that Zionists have used for the illegal creation of Israel in 1948 and to justify the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and the perpetuation of gross human and civil rights violations (3).
Zionism ignores the fundamental tenets of scripture, will calls for treating each other with love and respect. For instance, Leviticus 19:18, '... you shall love your neighbour as yourself '.
Israel prides itself being the sole democratic nation in the Middle East. It even allows Palestinian parties to be represented ... along as they accept the Law of Return. However, would Israel ever allow the Knesset to be ruled by Palestinians?
Palestinians are treated like second class citizens in Israel, while those who live in Palestine are treated as anathema, a problem to be destroyed.
Israel states that it is a Jewish nation and therefore only Jews can rule the nation. This is not seen as contradictory to democracy, yet it does not allow fair representation of, or opportunity for, all people in the nation.
Israel in its embrace of Zionism, ignores basic Jewish scripture in the way that it treats non-Jews, particularly Arabs, who live there. Leviticus 19:33-34 states 'And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.'
The violation of this scripture is all the worse for the fact that the Palestinians are not 'strangers in the land' as they lived, owned and worked this land for thousands of years, yet they are treated worse than strangers.
Israel - with right comes responsibility
Although created illegally, Israel's existence has been accepted by the United Nations and it's occupants have a right to exist in peace. This right however, should not come at the expense of the occupants of that land. Palestinians also have a right to exist and to live in peace, secure from attack and secure from their land being stolen. They have a right to the same freedoms that we all are entitled to. They should not be caged behind walls (euphemistically called security barriers) which prevent them accessing health services, education, jobs and their own farms.
Whether a one state or two state solution is adopted, all people there have a right to live peacefully.
Peace is possible for Israel and Palestine, however, it will struggle while history is being reinvented, people's rights are being abused and the Nakbah is denied.
(1) "The Invention of the Jewish People", Schlomo Sand, 2009, (Verso, New Left Books) Chapter 3 "Invention of the Exile", including references to numerous historians, such as:
(a) Chaim Milokowsky, "Notions of Exile, Subjugation and Return in Rabbinic Literature" in "Exile: Old Testament, Jewish and Christian Conceptions", James M. Scott (ed), Leiden: Brill, 1997.
(b) Israel Jacob Yuval, "The myth of the exile from the land: Jewish time and Christian time", Alpayim 29, 2005, 29-35.
(c) "East and West: A History of Canaan and the Land of the Hebrews", A.G. Horon, Tel Aviv: Dvir, 2000, 344.
(2) "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", Ilan Pappe, 2006, Oneworld Publications Limited.
(3) "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World", Avi Shlaim, 2000, Penguin Books.
- 'A Witness in Palestine', Anna Baltzer - http://www.annainthemiddleeast.com/
- 'The origin of the Palestine-Israel conflict' - published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East - http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/origin.html
- 'Seven biblical answers to popular Zionist assumptions', Stephen Sizer - http://vimeo.com/album/1030735/video/39352443
- 'Nakba - the process of Palestinian dispossession'- http://www.passia.org/publications/bulletins/Nakba%20website/index.htm
- The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - http://www.icahd.org/
- Christian Peace-maker Teams - http://www.cpt.org/work/palestine
- International Solidarity Movement - http://palsolidarity.org/
- The Free Gaza Movement - http://www.freegaza.org/
- The Electronic Intifada - http://electronicintifada.net/
- Friends of Sabeel - North America, Voice of the Palestinian Christians - http://www.fosna.org/content/study-guides
- Team Palestina - www.teampalestina.org and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Palestina/198580813517826
Israel - Superstition, Prophecy and Human Rights.
Palestine's Right to Exist
RIP Victims of Operation Cast Lead
Updated 15 May 2016