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Monday, July 25, 2005 

Wake up and discover!

Zionism claims that history and divine will justify Israeli domination of the land of Palestine as the exclusive home of the Jewish people. The Zionist project has attempted to put archaeology at its service, but even certain Israeli historians have contradicted a simplistic Zionist view of history. Yet, despite this evidence to the contrary, the Zionist myth continues to dominate the Western popular historical imagination.

A key pillar of Zionism is that the land of Palestine belongs to the Jews owing to the existence of a glorious Israelite kingdom in days gone by, a kingdom ended by mass forcible exile. Yet, even within Israel there are scholars who question this basic Zionist historical pillar.

Zeev Hertzog, a professor of archaeology and ancient studies at Tel Aviv University, reported that decades of intensive investigations in the area led to his conclusion that Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or wander in the desert. In summary, he concluded that an Israelite kingdom did not entirely conquer the land of Canaan in a military campaign and then divide it between twelve tribes. Based on his archaeological findings, Hertzog believes that the famed empire of David and Solomon was at most “a small tribal kingdom” (reported in Israeli Ha’aretz, October 29, 1999, cited in Masalha, 2000, p. 2).


Historical evidence fails to justify claims to one specific expulsion of the Jewish people.


An ironic fact is that the large majority of the Palestinian population cast out in 1948, whether Muslim or Christian, are descended from the ancient peoples of the land (Prior, 2001, p. 20). Indigenous peoples, Jewish or otherwise, would have been converted to Christianity and Islam in the waves of empire sweeping across the region in various historical periods. The fact that a Palestinian family is Muslim does not mean that its origins are not indigenous or are based in foreign Arabian or Turkish empires, a common Zionist claim.

Palestinian land has always been peopled by many different ethnic and cultural groups. Historical evidence fails to justify claims to one specific expulsion of the entire Jewish people from the holy land two millennia ago. While some population transfer occurred in the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian periods, the majority of the indigenous population of the land today covered by the state of Israel and Palestine remain “in situ” (Prior, 2001, p. 29). Academic research suggests a gradual integration of various peoples until final unification under Assyrian rule. Iron Age settlements excavated on the central hills of Palestine, from which the later kingdom of Israel developed, show no signs of the arrival of an incoming conquering ethnic group that dispelled all people indigenous to the land to build its own kingdom. The continuity over time with Canaanite culture repudiates an ethnic distinction between “Canaanites” and “Israelites” (Prior, 2001, p. 22).

After Jerusalem was destroyed under the Romans in the year 70, and again after the suppression of the Jewish leader Bar Kochba’s revolution in 135, Jews were, indeed, expelled from the Jerusalem area. However, it was only from this specific area, and the Jewish people were not driven entirely from the lands of Palestine. Some Jewish migration was also voluntary, a natural process of change in demographics over time that would be expected in any country across the globe.

Physical Return: A Relatively New Goal

A central tenet of Zionism is that divine Scripture justifies confiscation of Palestinian Arab land and expulsion of the non-Jewish native population. Zionism states that far from dispossession, such an act should be seen as claiming an ancestral right. Successful Zionist propaganda has resulted in general ignorance of the fact that the desire for a physical return using military means is actually only a relatively recently accepted idea within the Jewish community.

Twentieth century Zionism has its roots in secular European nationalism (see section on the Land Under the Ottomans). Traditionally, while the Jewish community has always considered Jerusalem and “Israel” as part of the “promised land,” in religious terms, this was a spiritual concept. Neither Jews living in the historical land of Palestine nor Jews in other parts of the world united in large numbers to try to form a movement to bring all Jews together in Palestine. While at times some Jewish communities, like other minority groups across the world, did face persecution, many Jews lived in comfortable and respected positions as citizens of nations and cities across the world, from Alexandria to Babylon to Rome. Seeking to create a Jewish state in Palestine, or anywhere else, was not an idea that was on the Jewish agenda.

As late as the 1880s for example, when secular political Zionism was developing in Europe, American Reformist Jews (the majority of the US Jewish community) considered the concept of an independent Jewish state as counter to the objectives of Jewish worldwide mission. The first American Reformist prayer book removed all references to the Jews as living in exile, specific hopes of the return to the homeland, and rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.

Throughout the history of Judaism, even in the early years of the Israeli state, it was believed that only with the coming of the Messiah at the end of the world would the Jewish nation be gathered together in Jerusalem. It was seen as sacrilegious for any political Jewish movement to try and hasten this moment through human means, military or otherwise. There are still Jewish religious groups today, such as Naturei Karta, that categorically reject Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state as the claiming of a God-given right (see Web Sites). It is only since 1967 and the Israeli capture of the Old City of Jerusalem (only a fraction of time in the long and ancient history of the Jewish faith) that religious groups have adopted and promoted the Zionist cause so fervently.

About me

  • Simply put, I am a Muslimah and am still trying to becoming one...Let it be that way,.. for the rest of my life as there are no other better things than to worship Allah Alone, the One and Only, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Aamiiin
  • From Allah we come and to Allah, we will return. Islam, a gift from Our Creator, Allah to humankind,..a Peaceful Way of Life
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