Friday, February 29, 2008

An invention called 'the Jewish people'

by Tom Segev

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srael's Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Zand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened - hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It's all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.

According to Zand, the Romans did not generally exile whole nations, and most of the Jews were permitted to remain in the country. The number of those exiled was at most tens of thousands. When the country was conquered by the Arabs, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were Jews. Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others.

If the majority of the Jews were not exiled, how is it that so many of them reached almost every country on earth? Zand says they emigrated of their own volition or, if they were among those exiled to Babylon, remained there because they chose to. Contrary to conventional belief, the Jewish religion tried to induce members of other faiths to become Jews, which explains how there came to be millions of Jews in the world. As the Book of Esther, for example, notes, "And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them."

Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse. He also describes at length the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula and the Jewish Berbers in North Africa. The community of Jews in Spain sprang from Arabs who became Jews and arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians, and from European-born individuals who had also become Jews.

The first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) did not come from the Land of Israel and did not reach Eastern Europe from Germany, but became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus. Zand explains the origins of Yiddish culture: it was not a Jewish import from Germany, but the result of the connection between the offspring of the Kuzari and Germans who traveled to the East, some of them as merchants.

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers. According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.

Prof. Zand teaches at Tel Aviv University. His book, "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?" (published by Resling in Hebrew), is intended to promote the idea that Israel should be a "state of all its citizens" - Jews, Arabs and others - in contrast to its declared identity as a "Jewish and democratic" state. Personal stories, a prolonged theoretical discussion and abundant sarcastic quips do not help the book, but its historical chapters are well-written and cite numerous facts and insights that many Israelis will be astonished to read for the first time.

My ancestors (Rivero is a Sephardic name) were among those who split from Judea in 70AD and moved to Spain, became noble, became rich, fought in the crusades, then were forcibly converted to Catholicism in the 1490s.

In contrast, most of the Jewish people living in Israel are Ashkenazi, who have no genetic link to the Biblical Hebrews at all. But they like to claim they do, as part of what Shlomo Zand correctly describes as the justification for the existance of Israel (on land stolen from the Palestinians, who actually ARE the genetic descendants of the Biblical Hebrews.

Israelis know this. They have actively suppressed scientific evidence that shows Palestinians and ARAB Jews are the descendants of Biblical Hebrews.

The irony here is how these converted Khazars, who are not actually descendants of the Semites, call me, an actual genetic descendant of the Biblical Hebrews, "Anti-Semitic"! :)

Mike Rivero


Friday, February 29, 2008

Yes, There Is a Guerrilla War Against Zionism in the U.S.

Friday, February 29, 2008

By Philip Weiss

I just looked at the comment section of the youtube speech by Congressman Howard Berman the other night in Sherman Oaks. It's stunning how much rage there is toward Berman:

Portrait of a hypnotized zionist tool. He can't even see how he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. PeaceThroughJustice above has it bang on: HB says he is an ardent supporter of israel and he firmly stands behind israel's security"; then he is shocked that anyone would suggest that US foreign policy is controlled by zionists.

There is no end of evidence that this kind of rage is bubbling to the surface all over America. My sister-in-law tells me that the almost-censored If Americans Knew speech at the Greenwich Library last week was "a mob scene." I've blogged about the fact that at a Yivo event, neocon Iraq-war-planner Bill Kristol had a hunted look as he spoke of the craziness that had surrounded neocons since the war. Neocon chronicler Jacob Heilbrunn has seemed fearful in his public statements about his book, They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, stepping away from his own assertion that neocons formed cabals in the government.

It is as if he is spooked by the snakepit he stepped into. The fact that our Israel policy has hurt us across the Arab world is no longer a revelation to Americans. They know it, and seem to want to do something about it. Jimmy Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer and the Iraq debacle have been an IV-drip into the American bloodstream.

The rage out there is not antisemitism. It may be antiZionism, it may be isolationism. It is a groundswell that needs to be addressed honestly. When Congressman Berman went into fits of denial that there is an Israel lobby, after saying that he joined the Foreign Affairs Committee because he cared about Israel, this was not honest.

What should Jewish institutions do about it?

The answer is obvious, they should have forums. They should express the range of Jewish opinion re Israel (not the narrow range that Yivo gathered in its Martin Peretz-organized forum on Walt and Mearsheimer in November). They should encourage that range.

They should begin an open discussion within the Jewish community of what Zionism has done to Jewish identity and American foreign policy. They should grill the neocons and give a platform to post-Zionist Jews like Joel Koveland David Zellnik, rather than just smearing them.

They should confront the extent to which the adamant refusal by the Jewish establishment to acknowledge Palestinian suffering even as it insists that Israel is a democracy has hurt Judaism and hurt U.S. foreign policy.
They should wake up.

Philip Weiss lives in New York and is an investigative journalist who has been a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Jewish World Review, The New York Observer and other mainstream publications as well as being as being a contributing editor to Esquire and Harper's Magazine.
Weiss is the author of the 2004 book "American Taboo: A Murder In The Peace Corps." He is now working on a book about Jewish issues. He writes a blog for the New York Observer, Mondoweiss.


Friday, February 29, 2008


Friday, February 29, 2008

Two Israeli ministers are openly debating the best way to kill Palestinian people. It seems that the Israeli Minister for Terrorism Against Palestinians, Ehud Barak, favours an invasion of the Gaza Strip to kill as many Palestinian fighters that they can lay their hands on, while the Israeli Minister for the Interior, Meir Sheetrit, would prefer a massive targeted killing spree. Either way, it is likely that many innocent civilians will die as well as many Palestinian fighters.

Sheetrit says: "We must not let anyone involved in the shooting stay alive. I am opposed to hesitation and in favour of wiping out anyone who is in Hamas; from the military and political echelons, no matter who." Barak on the other hand simply says: "Israel will reach those responsible, hit them in operations, and Hamas will pay the price for its activities."

One has to wonder where the world’s indignation is as ministers of one nation coldly and deliberately plan to murder the leaders of another nation. One can imagine the outcry from the Western mainstream media if Hamas announced to the world that it had found the means by which it could launch silent and deadly accurate missiles at individuals and was about to embark on a campaign of targeted killings of Israeli political and military leaders. Yet when the Israelis do it, we hear absolutely nothing.

There is, of course, a bigger picture to be seen in all this. Israel’s war against Hamas is simply part of a much more complex strategy designed to provoke Hezbollah and Syria into a wider confrontation that ultimately will draw in Iran. Israel will then find some cause to attack Iran and then the US will enter the fray in order to protect Israel. The resultant will be; Israel will have a free hand to deal with the Gaza and the West Bank as it sees fit and Hezbollah without support from Syria or Iran will be beaten. Hamas, the elected government of the Palestinian people, will be annihilated.

The world will just sit by and watch.

posted by Damian Lataan at 9:47 AM

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