Monday, May 18, 2009

Some toothless revisionism

While Obama is declaring that further progress hinges on a settlement freeze, as if the Palestinians have effective leadership to negotiate with, a current article in Al Ahram declares "Unless Israel abandons its biblical myths it is impossible to reach a lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli struggle." May I look forward to articles on abandoning Koranic myths? I'm always amazed at how writers for the publications of actual Middle Eastern countries have such a shallow understanding of the history of the Middle East. This writer thinks he can dispense with the entirety of Jewish pre-diaspora history in Israel by casting doubt on the Exodus:
The researcher Thomas Thompson says that today's Israel has no relation with historical Israel. The Israel that we know today has been invented through biblical writings. But modern excavations show that the old Israel sprouted from the local population living in the bronze Kanaanite Age. Archaeologists couldn't find any material evidence backing the story of the Old Testament about the Exodus. To date, there is no proof that the Israelis were ever lost in Sinai. The Iraqi researcher Fadel Al-Rabiei, who studies pre-Islamic Arab history, goes one step farther. He believes that the Jerusalem of lore was not even in Palestine, but in Yemen, and argues that Mount Zion was in Negran in Yemen.
I doubt that even Fadel Al-Rabiei can get the Jews of the time of the Maccabbees or the time of the Mishnah out of "historical Israel" and into Yemen. More myth-busting:
Time was that the Israeli media machine depicted Israel as a tiny state fighting against a sea of enemies, an oasis of democracy in a despotic region, and a law- abiding state in the middle of chaos. This myth evaporated in the 1967 war when Israel showed its true face as a bellicose and expansionist state.
Ah yes, the pre-67 Israeli "media machine"! Does this writer know about the "war hysteria and exultation" (in the words of Benny Morris) that gripped the Arab masses before the '67 war? Or is he counting on ignorant readers?
Israel's reputation further dipped when it built the "separation wall", an act that no racist county matched in history.
The meager acquaintance with history this suggests is staggering.
In its recent war on Gaza, Israel shelled schools, universities, ambulances, and even UN relief agencies in full view of the world. Consequently, millions across the world now see Israel as a vile threat to world peace and security.
And we all know how truthfully what happened in Gaza has been reported.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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