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Interview: Nadia Abu El-Haj on archaeology and the Zionist project
Published Wednesday 09/04/2014 (updated) 29/04/2014 15:42
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A dig adjacent to the Jewish history theme park, City of David in the
Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem (AFP/Hazem Bader)

In early January, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that it would begin excavation on an archaeological site inside a Jewish settlement near the heart of Hebron's old city.

The announcement sparked outrage among many who viewed the move as an attempt to legitimize the presence of illegal settlements in the center of the flashpoint southern West Bank city.

Since then, Israeli authorities have also moved forward on plans for a Jewish history theme park in the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

Local residents -- dozens of whom have received home demolition orders in recent months -- have loudly objected to the idea, while the Al-Aqsa Foundation has raised alarms that Israel archaeologists have destroyed a number of non-Jewish archaeological sites in ongoing excavations nearby.

In order to understand the political uproar over seemingly innocuous archaeological projects, Ma'an interviewed anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj to discuss the broader historical context.

Abu El-Haj is a professor at Barnard College and Columbia University and the author of "Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society," among other books. Her work explores how archaeology played an integral role in the Zionist settler-colonial project and the legitimization of Israeli territorial claims in the region.

What is the historical relationship of archaeology to the Israeli state and society, both within the pre-1967 borders as well as in the West Bank?

The role of archaeology in the settlement project in the West Bank cannot be understood without taking into account the political and cultural work that archaeology did in the early decades of Israeli statehood, and at the same time, it is a significant reconfiguration of that project.

In the 1950s and 1960s in particular, archaeology had both disciplinary and popular prominence in Israeli society. Various excavations -- the most famous of which were carried out in the 1960s at Masada and the Bar Kochba caves -- were supported financially, logistically, and symbolically by the state and the Israel Defense Forces. They were sustained by the work of volunteers and the Zionist youth movements, and they received wide coverage in the national press.

More broadly, archaeology became a widespread national-cultural practice in the Jewish public, especially among the Ashkenazim. Jewish public schools, Zionist youth movements, and the IDF (during its basic training for draftees) marched students and soldiers around the country in an effort to teach them the past and present of ha-aretz, that is, of the Jewish national home.

Young Israelis dance with national flags in Jerusalem's Old City on
May 21, 2009 (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Archaeology is an important part of nation-building projects around the world, and political elites in many countries manipulate the discipline for their own purposes. But in Israel, archaeology was extremely popular not only among this small elite, but also among the broader public. Why is Israel relatively unique in this way?

For a long time, the academic answer that was long given to that question went as follows: In a land in which the vast majority of Jewish inhabitants were "immigrants," members of distinct Jewish communities who came together in what was first Mandatory Palestine, and later the state of Israel, archaeology as a national-cultural practice was integral to the struggle to produce a cohesive national identity.

That answer, however, sidelines a constitutive piece of the Zionist project: that is, it effaces the colonial question and, with it, the conflict over territory that Jewish settlement entailed. The work of archaeology was one element in a larger set of practices and projects that transformed Palestine into the Jewish national home. Through its work, archaeology rendered demonstrable, in material form the ideological contours of Jewish settlement in Palestine. It demonstrated that, in contrast to settler-colonial projects elsewhere, this was simply a nation returning home. This was not just one more European colonial project.

The success of that transformation has made it possible for Israel, at least within its 1948 borders, to be accepted today, at least in Europe and the US, as but another normal nation state that established by demanding national autonomy for an independent "people." Yes, this nation state like many before it was founded upon expulsions and population transfers of dubious ethical standing. But those were acts of war. However regrettable, they were necessary: They were the conditions of possibility for the Jewish nation to have a state of its own.

To be clear, I am not saying that archaeology alone effected the transformation of a project of settler-nationhood in to one of a nation simply "returning home." What I am arguing is that archaeology was one among a series of practices and projects that together turned what was a source of contention (is this place the Land of Israel, or is it Palestine?) into a "resolved" historical fact -- at least for particular and very powerful publics in Israel and beyond.

How has this relationship with archaeology developed since 1967, particularly in relationship to the Jewish settlement project in the West Bank?

The relationship between settlement and archeology in the post-1967 period has taken various turns. Its most expansive and sustained projects were the Jerusalem excavations that went on for more than a decade and that were integral to building the new Jewish Quarter and claiming East Jerusalem as part of the united capital of Israel. Those were the last of the grand excavations that characterized archaeology in the early state period. I have written extensively about the Jerusalem excavations in my book, Facts on the Ground.

Built into the very landscape and architecture of the Old City's new Jewish Quarter today is the "fact" of the State's claim to all of Jerusalem as an inseparable part of the Jewish state: one sees it in the archaeological sites of significance to Jewish history that are privileged in the quarter's design; one sees it in the architectural form of "rebuilding" in which contemporary housing stands, often literally, upon the ruins of ancient Israelite archaeological sites, contemporary Jewish life seemingly "rising out of their ashes;" and one hears it in the tours and how they narrate the loss and reclamation of the Quarter (which, it is worth noting, is significantly larger than the Jewish quarter ever was prior to 1967).

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is seen from the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem on April 10, 2009. (MaanImages/Mimmi Nietula)

The Jerusalem excavations were a project of the state. At the same time, however, they were the last of the "mythological" digs that captured an Israeli public imagination. But if digs of national-mythological proportions didn't really materialize in the rest of the occupied territories during the 1970s and 1980s, the work done by Israeli archaeologists under the authority of the Civil Administration and the Israel Antiquities Authority was crucial to the central academic debates that drove not just Israeli archaeology but, more generally, the international field of biblical archaeology for decades.

The West Bank is identified as the "biblical heartland" and as such, central historical questions about the "Israelite conquest" that dominated disciplinary debates in the 1950s and 1960s could not be answered without access to data from West Bank sites; neither could questions about the Davidic and Solomonic kingdoms. For decades following 1967, Israeli archaeologists crossed the green line without much (perhaps any) thought to the political or ethical implications of digging, in effect, under the authority of the IDF.

What is the role of the archaeologists themselves in this history? Is archaeology as a profession in Israel directly implicated in the political, or is it more correct to say that archaeological work is exploited by those with political interests?

These were not, by and large, right wing, pro-settlement academics. They were academics who apparently thought nothing about pursuing research regardless of the conditions of possibility for such work: that is, military occupation.

Was the project of excavating the West Bank an intentional effort to support the expansion Jewish settlement, and especially following Menachem Begin's rise to power in 1979, a settlement project driven by the religious nationalist movement? I think for the most part it was not. But it doesn't matter. Intentional, unintentional -- the effect was the same: The work of Israeli archaeologists and their foreign colleagues, regardless of their personal political convictions, produced "evidence" of the truth of the biblical heartland in a political context in which biblical origins grounded state and settler claims to the present.

By focusing narrowly on professional goals, it seems Israeli archaeologists entered into a relationship of complicity with the settlement project. Even if this complicity was not necessarily intentional, it was to a certain extent predictable given the previous relationship of archaeology to the secularized discourses of claiming the "Jewish homeland."

But how has this relationship of complicity evolved given the increasingly religious nationalist character of the settlement project?


The relationship to archaeology of the religious nationalists who have driven settlement deep into the territories has been less clear. Archaeological sites are taken to be material signs of the ancient truth of the biblical tales of Israelite settlement in Judea and Samaria; but for many settlers, the biblical texts are evidence enough.

For others, such sites are viewed more as sacred sites than as archaeological monuments. Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, is one of the most obvious examples. The settlement movement, in general, was not driven by the same kind of desire to excavate the land as was a national culture dominated by secular Zionist politics in the earlier decades of the state. Nevertheless, the very presence of ancient sites (from one perspective archaeological, from another sacred) extended a historical common sense about national "ownership." This is the biblical heartland; archaeological remainders (and/as religious sites) render visible what is “already known” via the biblical texts.

There have, however, been some sites where settler investment in archaeology has been direct and sustained. Excavations of the "City of David" (in Silwan) are the most obvious and developed instance. And of course, the recent push to more extensively excavate Tel Rumeida in Hebron is a second example. These projects are squarely and explicitly positioned in an ideological and material battle over land.

The archaeological park at the City of David has its roots in the 1990s when El Ad, a settlement group in the Old City of Jerusalem, first pushed Jewish settlement into the "Muslim Quarter," and then beyond the walls of the Old City into Silwan. The City of David project was unabashedly a project of land confiscation.

And yet, academic archaeologists carried out extensive excavations at the site. Meanwhile, El Ad insisted on building and now runs an archaeological park built around the excavated remains, a tourist site designed to bring more and more Jewish visitors to the site in order to extend El Ad's ideological agenda.

I suspect the City of David excavation and archaeological park serves as the model for the currently launched Tel Rumeida project: Excavations allow one to expropriate land. Moreover, through a combination of archaeological preservation, architectural design, and tourism they enable settlers to produce a "common-sense" of Jewish ownership -- at least among some publics. Archaeology in such instances is harnessed intentionally to establish facts on the ground.

Israeli policemen separate Israelis and Palestinian protestors on May 8, 2013 at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, as Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

How has the relationship of Palestinian society to archaeology been shaped by the historical affinities between Zionism and archaeology in the region?

There is of course no single Palestinian relationship to the practice of archaeology. Nevertheless, it is clear that one cannot understand any of the reactions among Palestinians to Israeli excavations without placing those responses within the long history of archaeology as a powerful terrain for the symbolic and material appropriation of Palestine.

If one knows for a fact that once a new ancient Israelite site or Judaic remain is uncovered that land is going to be expropriated, why wouldn't one want to hide it -- destroy it even? One's very ability to live on one’s own land, in one’s own home, hangs in the balance.

However, "hiding" or "denying" Jewish historical presence is not the dynamic vis-à-vis archaeological sites as it actually unfolds. What happens is settlers drive the excavation of sites as part and parcel of land expropriation and settlement expansion and Palestinians fight back.

And I think we need to be clear: Whether or not there was an Israelite or Jewish presence at Tel Rumeida, or at the City of David, or at any other site 2000 or more years ago, is entirely irrelevant to the political question of rights in the present. People who in living memory were expelled from their homes -- in 1948, in 1967 -- are being told they cannot "return," and yet, an ancient history is being called upon to ground Jewish settlement on lands that are indisputably inhabited by Palestinians in the here and now. Outside of a set of extreme ideological blinders, that argument makes absolutely no logical or ethical sense.

In other words, the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict" cannot be framed as a conflict over the truth or falsity of ancient historical facts. And I think it a huge political mistake to engage on those grounds. Why? Because even if the biblical story were entirely true, it wouldn't change the problem of the injustice that founding the State of Israel brought into being in 1948. It wouldn't change the fact that Israel is a settler-nation, that is, a project of European colonial settlement that imagined and believed itself to be a project of national return.

The struggle for Palestine is a struggle for rights, citizenship, and sovereignty in the here and how, and what we need to be talking about is what kind of a society and state might provide a just solution to the reality of an ongoing Palestinian dispossession.
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1 ) Outlier / USA
10/04/2014 02:35
The interviewer makes lots of "point of view" comments in his questions that cast Israeli archeology in a bad light irrespective of Mr. El-Haj's answers. Then there is the MAJOR unanswered question - why have Palestinians and/or the PLO not initiated their own archeology projects in the areas they control? Why, if it is SO important to identity? Do they fear they will find more Jewish history than Palestinian history, or is it something else?

2 ) JAR / USA
10/04/2014 05:49
@Outlier, it is optimistic to think that Palestinians, who cannot travel between villages in the West Bank without multiple Israeli military checkpoints, face closures, destruction of property, and harassment or worse by Israeli soldiers or settlers, would be able to conduct meaningful archeological digs. Besides, Palestinians claim the heritage of all who lived in their land - Hebrews, Canaanites, Greeks, Arabs, etc. Finding evidence of Hebrew history doesn't undermine their rights in any way.

3 ) Outlier / USA
10/04/2014 23:30
2., JAR, so you are saying Palestinians simply cannot do archeology, even in areas of full control like Nablus, Jericho and Bethlehem? In addition, just to be clear, you are saying Palestinians can claim the heritage of all that have lived on this land, but Israelis cannot?

4 ) Nabeel / USA
12/04/2014 19:02
To Outlier/USA Doing archeaology is an expensive luxury. Pose the question to Apartheid South Africans and see how ludicrous it sounds. More importantly, you missed the import of Ms. (not Mr.) El-Haj's rematks, to wit today's conflict isn't predicated on archaeological claims, if it were the Palestinians wouldas decendents of the ancient Nataufians and the much later Caananites would win hands down. Only people who limit their claims to a very narrow archaeological time think like

5 ) ian / australia
13/04/2014 04:57
#1, #3 The milk of human kindness just surges through you, doesn't it, Outlier? First, Professor Nadia Abu El-Haj from Barnard College, Columbia U. is Ms. or whatever she calls herself, not Mr. Second, the Palestinians kind of have their hands full being occupied by a voracious, expansionist invader to devote much energy to the archaeology of their region and as a poor, Third World country, with an economy crippled by occupation, don't have the resources (or archaeologists) for that luxury.

6 ) ian / australia
13/04/2014 04:58
(contd.) As to WHO can claim WHAT heritage and your suggestion that Palestinians "fear they will find more Jewish history than Palestinian history", THAT is plain cretinous. Who are the ancestors of the Palestinians if not ancient Canaanites including the Yahweh-worshipping ones? And who are more likely to descend from the people of the ancient Middle East, inc. Judeans from the time of Jesus: Palestinian Arabs (now Muslims) or European Jews? But who cares? The point is that

7 ) ian / australia
13/04/2014 04:59
(contd.) insanely well resourced (Elad etc.) Israeli archaeology being carried out in occupied Palestine (Silwan, Hebron) is a transparent land grab under a fancy academic veneer. And the "finds" made by absurdly partisan hacks like Eilat Mazar (of the "Bible in one hand, spade in the other" school with her ludicrous biblical "clues" and bogus bullas) are used above all to cement the Israeli claim to Palestinian land, by "proving" the ancient Jewish connection and entrench the absurd idea that

8 ) ian / australia
13/04/2014 05:00
(contd.) there is no ARAB history, only JEWISH history (which makes your little whine at the end that "...Palestinians can claim the heritage of all that have lived on this land, but Israelis cannot?" all the more laughable. I mean, when has Israel EVER acknowledged or shown the slightest interest in any claim, presence or history in the Holy Land other than its own?)

9 ) Harry / Levant
13/04/2014 22:04
Why absolutely no comment or questions on the destruction of archaeological remains by religious institutions? Nadia Abu El-Haj would do service to her kindred professional colleagues by raising the issue.

10 ) Outlier / USA
14/04/2014 18:04
5-8, Ian, did all those Jordanian Palestinians have their "hands full" between 1948 and 1967, so much so that archeology in the West Bank was impossible? As previously asked, in the areas Palestinians control now, is it impossible for them to do archeology? Your excuses are just that - excuses, and poor ones. Your and Ms. El-Haj (my apologies to her for getting her gender wrong) may opine that Israeli archeology is a land grab, but where is the proof?

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/04/2014 09:11
To Outlier #3: 'In addition, just to be clear, you are saying Palestinians can claim the heritage of all that have lived on this land, but Israelis cannot?' Of course they cannot. Largely, they are the descendants of people who converted to Judaism outside of Palestine. You cannot simply claim a land on the basis of the religion you practice; I cannot take up Hinduism and go boot someone out of India on the grounds that he no longer practices Hinduism.

12 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/04/2014 10:57
To Harry #9: 'Nadia Abu El-Haj would do service to her kindred professional colleagues by raising the issue.' Nadia Abu El-Haj was almost drummed out of academia for saying what she did say. The Zionists raised a concerted hue and cry, and it was only the signed protests of five thousand of her peers that kept her from being fired. Zionists don't play nice -- if you've got anything to lose, you've got to watch your step.

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/04/2014 11:01
To JAR #2: 'Finding evidence of Hebrew history doesn't undermine their rights in any way' The comic bit is that -- the best efforts of the Zionists notwithstanding -- the archeology doesn't confirm Hebrew 'history.' Just the reverse.

14 ) Outlier / USA
19/04/2014 18:05
(first comment spiked), 11., Colin, DNA tests have proven your comment completely false - most non-convert Jews DO have blood ties to the Middle East. Of course, you would never let the truth get in the way of a comment that slams Jews or Israel.

15 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/04/2014 19:52
To Outlier #14: ' most non-convert Jews DO have blood ties to the Middle East.' The results vary. However, ALL studies show that whatever their blood ties to the Middle East, the various Jewish populations are even more closely related to the gentiles around them. They are indubitably -- as I said -- 'largely the descendants of people who converted to Judaism outside of Palestine.' If someone's 7/8's Pole, it doesn't matter whether the 1/8th is Khazar or Levantine. He's largely Pole.

16 ) Outler / USA
20/04/2014 02:25
15., Sorry Colin, but you are wrong. After a 20-year study, the DNA results say "Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East." As previously noted, you never let the truth get in the way of a comment that slams Jews or Israel.

17 ) ian / australia
20/04/2014 04:07
#10 "...did all those Jordanian Palestinians have their "hands full" between 1948 and 1967, so much so that archeology in the West Bank was impossible?" Give 'em a break, Outlier. It's not a First World country. Palestinians went from Ottoman medievalism to British colonial rule to brutal subjugation by a weird sect of Russians and Poles. And bizarre as ever, since when does a country need "excuses" to NOT carry out archaeological digs of its territory? But it's kind of revealing. No-one has

18 ) ian / australia
20/04/2014 04:08
(contd.) the MANIA for archaeology Israel does because no-one feels the imperative so desperately to legitimise their presence in a foreign land they stole by PROVING an ancient connection. As for the "proof" "that Israeli archeology is a land grab" (I mean, sheesh!) if a Palestinian from Silwan decided to build a structure (or graze a goat) anywhere in the City of David fantasy theme park IN Silwan, OCCUPIED Silwan, I think the "proof" would descend upon him swiftly and conclusively.

19 ) ian / australia
22/04/2014 02:55
#16 ' "After a 20-year study, the DNA results say "Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East." ' I guess that means you win, Outlier. But does it MEAN anything in relation to Israel/Palestine, the occupation, borders, international law? Does it strengthen Israel's claim to the West Bank or the Haram? Of course not. "Ancestry" doesn't entitle anyone to anything. No law covers the return of ancient territories to descendants

20 ) ian / australia
22/04/2014 02:56
(contd.) of ancient owners and the eviction of people living there now to make way for them, whatever "DNA results say", because the idea is absurd. Everyone's Bronze Age ancestors lived somewhere. Can we all start demanding it "back" on those spurious grounds? And if I came to YOUR house with DNA proof that MY ancestors owned it 3,000 years ago, would you accede to my superior claim and leave? And if I became violent, began to babble that it was part of an ancient inheritance promised

21 ) ian / australia
22/04/2014 02:59
(contd.) to me in a divine covenant with my people (well, 60% of me) and stabbed your sheep, you would (rightly) regard me as a dangerous lunatic and call the cops. But seriously Outlier, why do you care? Why is it important? Most of us are aware we are some sort of racial admixture receding into history and becoming less knowable but we don't think it particularly significant and certainly wouldn't mount arguments for its "purity" (which all sounds very 30's). It doesn't confer rights or value.

22 ) ian / australia
22/04/2014 02:59
(contd.) It's innately meaningless. So why does it matter? Why is it so important? Is it just an irrational (cultural) mindset? A habit instigated by nostalgic Levites by the waters of Babylon? What's going on? (A response would be nice.)

23 ) Outlier / USA
23/04/2014 00:11
17-22, Ian, this discussion focuses on archeology, so I will respond to that element. I keep waiting to read a reason why Palestinians never bothered to do their own archeology. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians struggled between 1948 and 1967, but the Israelis made archeology a priority and the Palestinians did not. Both archeological evidence and DNA evidence show Jews as historical residents of the Middle East. I care because others - including you - refute this despite the evidence.

24 ) Colin Wright / USA
24/04/2014 05:20
To Outlier #23: 'Both archeological evidence and DNA evidence show Jews as historical residents of the Middle East. ' Jews were historical residents of the Middle East alright. I'm from a Christian background, and there were Christians in Japan. It doesn't follow that I'm Japanese.

25 ) Outlier / USA
24/04/2014 20:01
24, Colin, do you have Japanese ancestors? Does your DNA say you do? Did not think so. Most Jews don't have traceable Middle East ancestry, and yes it makes a difference, whether you think so or not.

26 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 09:44
#23 A response of spectacular inadequacy, Outlier. Solid arguments for the absence of Palestinian archaeology are given in #2 and #4, also for why "Israelis made archeology a priority" in #18 (by moi). Also, NO-WHERE in 23 posts does anyone "refute" "Jews as historical residents of the Middle East", certainly not me, which is the reason you give for why you "care" about arguments for the purity of Jewish DNA! Of course there was a cult to Jehovah amongst Canaanites and a body of stories

27 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 09:44
(contd.) concocted by the priesthood rebranding them Hebrews, Israelites and "Jews" with a mythical patriarch from faraway Mesopotamia. And just as clearly, modern Palestinians descend from them. Palestinans didn't arrive from Arabia, though Islam, to which they converted. And no response, I see, to the idea that NONE of it really matters because modern affairs are determined by secular human rights and international law which rightly regards determinations based on race as abhorrent.

28 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 10:03
(contd.) which is shared by the PALESTINIAN descendants of the common ancestor. Then came the converts, enumerated by Shlomo Sand, like the Yemeni "Jews", who brought Arabian DNA into the mix while adopting the doctrine of the Divine promise to the "Jewish" "people"! Then the NON-Semitic Khazars embraced the belief that they TOO were the Children of Israel, a belief they carried with them as they migrated West and became the Jews of Russian and Europe. Gets messy doesn't it?

29 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 10:05
(contd.) Outlier, Shlomo Sand, born to Polish parents in Austria, has the honesty to admit that it is far more likely that a Palestinian from Hebron is a direct descendant of Biblical "Jews", and hence the heir to promises made in the Covenant with Abraham, than he is. Why not you?

30 ) Outlier / USA
27/04/2014 01:50
24., Hell, Ian, if I traced the lineage of every one of those 70% referred to in comment 23, it wouldn't be adequate for you. Still, facts are facts.

31 ) ian / australia
27/04/2014 06:08
#25 "Colin, do you have Japanese ancestors?" Honestly, Outlier, isn't this all a bit absurd? The first "Jews" (aka Hebrews and Israelites) who appeared in the 2nd millennium BC were Canaanites. They didn't ACTUALLY descend from a patriarch named Abraham from distant Mesopotamia. That was a STORY they told about their unique significance and destiny to set themselves apart from OTHER Canaanites. So there IS no distinct "Jewish" DNA or ancestry (outside myth), only Canaanite DNA,

32 ) ian / australia
27/04/2014 06:09
(contd.) which is shared by the PALESTINIAN descendants of the common ancestor. Then came the converts, enumerated by Shlomo Sand, like the Yemeni "Jews", who brought Arabian DNA into the mix while adopting the doctrine of the Divine promise to the "Jewish" "people"! Then the NON-Semitic Khazars embraced the belief that they TOO were the Children of Israel, a belief they carried with them as they migrated West and became the Jews of Russian and Europe. Gets messy doesn't it?

33 ) ian / australia
27/04/2014 06:09
(contd.) Outlier, Shlomo Sand, born to Polish parents in Austria, has the honesty to admit that it is far more likely that a Palestinian from Hebron is a direct descendant of Biblical "Jews", and hence the heir to promises made in the Covenant with Abraham, than he is. Why not you?

34 ) Johnny benson / USA
28/04/2014 19:30
What's the argument about anyway?....the land between the sea and the river in what is commonly called Palestine belongs to the Jews,that is their homeland,Israel...now if the Arabs want to live there ..fine...as honored guests..as long as they live peacefully...that's it..and we have the guns,tanks and planes to enforce the claims...if the Arabs had the fire power they would kill every Jew in Israel...that they don't ..is good...thank g.d

35 ) ian / australia (1)
29/04/2014 00:18
#30 "Hell, Ian, if I traced the lineage of every one of those 70% referred to in comment 23, it wouldn't be adequate for you. Still, facts are facts." I've said enough on this (and you mean comment #16 not #23) but I'd just point out your howler here. The line you quote ("Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East") surely means that in modern Jews a racial mix of European and Middle Eastern DNA has been found in a ratio of

36 ) ian / australia (2)
29/04/2014 00:19
(contd.) 30:70%...NOT that 70% of the group are PURE Semite and 30% European which is how your sloppy post reads. Facts ARE facts.

37 ) Outlier / USA
05/05/2014 20:33
(Previous two comments spiked) 35, 36, Ian, so Jews are to blame for their forced diaspora and diluted DNA? How very classy of you!

38 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 10:58
To ian #31: 'The first "Jews" (aka Hebrews and Israelites) who appeared in the 2nd millennium BC were Canaanites. ' (I) Technically, there's no historical evidence of anything recognizable as Judaism until the sixth century BC or so. It's antecendents are uncertain, but Judaism appeared about the time of the Persian conquest, and appears to be an amalgam of Mesopotamian and local religious traditions.

39 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 11:02
To ian #31: 'The first "Jews" (aka Hebrews and Israelites) who appeared in the 2nd millennium BC were Canaanites. ' (II). It's also worth noting that the faith never was clearly confined to, originated in, or completely dominated Palestine. Jewish communities appear in Babylon and Egypt at about the same time as they appear in Palestine. There were Jews IN Palestine; there were Jews in a lot of places. There's no reason at all to think they all came from Palestine.

40 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 11:04
To ian #31: 'The first "Jews" (aka Hebrews and Israelites) who appeared in the 2nd millennium BC were Canaanites. ' (III) Just the contrary: the Biblical account resounding fails to correspond to anything archeology or the historical record tells us about Palestine much earlier than the ninth century. Jerusalem obviously has cultic significance in the faith and there were many adherents of it in Palestine from 600 BC on, but that's about it.

41 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 11:14
To ian #31: 'The first "Jews" (aka Hebrews and Israelites) who appeared in the 2nd millennium BC were Canaanites. ' (III). In short, what the actual record suggests is the Judaism, RIGHT FROM THE START was an international faith. There not only was no 'diaspora': there's every reason to think the Jews began as a group spread across the region. That the faith then spread even further hardly creates a title to Palestine. Zionism is not only evil: it's absurd.

42 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 11:17
To Johnny Benson #34: 'What's the argument about anyway?....the land between the sea and the river in what is commonly called Palestine belongs to the Jews,that is their homeland,Israel...' What at least part of the argument is about is that your assertion is a falsehood in the first place.

43 ) RCCA / USA
14/05/2014 21:10
I can't find any reason why there is a problem with doing archeology in an ancient land like Israel other than the political views of those who deny the deep relationship between Israel and the Jewish people and deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

44 ) Jasza / USA
17/05/2014 00:53
Apparently Ian isn't bothered by the Zionist claim that it is acceptable and legal to recoquer a land that belonged to you 2000 years ago. He's bothered by the fact that Jews might not have come from there 3000 years ago. He's trying to invert Zionism: reconquering land isn't a problem, not having that ancient blood is. Hes ra He also shoes his vile hatred by instead of arguing this proves Jews and Palestinians are cousins and there needs to be a solution to the conflict he puts "paranthesis"

45 ) Benda / USA
17/05/2014 01:01
Colin Wright why so you feel the need to claim Jews don't have history in the Holy Land? One can still argue Jews and Palestinians both have claims to the Holy Land without arguing in favor of Jews oppressing Palestinians Frankly, your argument seems like racial argument rather then political argument? Don't you think it is Morally wrong to take back land from 4000 years ago?

46 ) ian / australia (1)
18/05/2014 07:24
#44 Well, Jasza, I'm frankly baffled how you can impute all that to me from my posts. "Reconquering" an ancient homeland is absurd and illegal. The rights of present day occupants far outweigh claims of ancestral ownership (which are NOWHERE covered in law). Ditto claims based on DNA, "ancient blood" and race. That I'm "trying to invert Zionism" is completely bewildering as well as my "vile hatred" being shown because I don't admit Jews and Palestinians are cousins. Well, now you bring it up

47 ) ian / australia (2)
18/05/2014 07:25
(contd.) (which I didn't) they're NOT. Are Netanyahu and Peres (aka Mileikowsky and Perski) cousins to Abbas and Haniyeh? The PM and the Pres are Poles with quite possibly NO Semitic ancestry. Abu Mazen and PM Haniyeh are Palestinians born in Safed and a refugee camp in Gaza (his parents having been driven out of Ashkelon). How are they cousins? Or even remotely related? And where's the "vile hatred" in pointing it out? And lastly, when have I denied "there needs to be a solution

48 ) ian / australia (3)
18/05/2014 07:26
(contd.) to the conflict"? A pristine solution is staring you in the face, Jasza. It's the solution Khaled Meshaal supports (also, for what it's worth, me): "A Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers and not an inch of land swaps."

49 ) Outlier / USA
03/06/2014 05:25
48., Ian, I believe the two wars Israel were forced to fight in 1967 and 1973 negate your pristine solution. If Arab countries had won either of those wars, would they have let Israel live and returned to those 1967 boundaries? Doubtful. However, they lost and now Palestinians must deal with the consequences, one of which will be different borders in a peace settlement. The current situation will continue until they accept reality.

50 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/07/2014 22:09
To Outlier #14: '...1., Colin, DNA tests have proven your comment completely false - most non-convert Jews DO have blood ties to the Middle East. ' First, upon analysis, it's doubtful if those tests and their results show any such thing. Second, even if some Jews do trace some ancestry to the Middle East, they invariably trace more to where they come from. Netanyahu is far more a Pole than he is a Palestinian, for example. Look at their pictures. Yishai, above all, is a Tunisian, etc.

51 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/07/2014 22:11
To Outlier #48: '48., Ian, I believe the two wars Israel were forced to fight in 1967 and 1973 negate your pristine solution. If Arab countries had won either of those wars, would they have let Israel live and returned to those 1967 boundaries? ' (I) Your posts aren't as lame as the usual Zionist bilge -- but they still don't hold up under analysis. Israel may have had grounds for going to war in 1967, but no one -- least of all herself -- thought there was any actual chance of an Arab attack.

52 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/07/2014 22:14
To Outlier #48 (II). As to 1973, there was no chance the US would allow Israel to be destroyed -- and in fact, Egypt and Syria hoped merely to force Israel to return the territories she had seized. Again, everyone knew this at the time. So your argument that Israel faced some kind of existential threat falls apart.

53 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/07/2014 22:17
To Outlier #48 (III): 'The current situation will continue until they accept reality.' This one rests on the indefensible premise that there is some limit to Israel's ambitions. She's already talked about acquiring southern Lebanon and the fertile bits of Jordan. It's not as if the Arabs can just cease resisting and Israel will stop. On the contrary, accepting Israel's current gains will merely excite her to make further advances.

54 ) Outlier / USA
18/07/2014 22:02
53., Sorry Colin, but characterization is not fact. You do not know Israel's ambitions, nor how much it might cede in a peace agreement. Based on the Jordan and Egypt peace agreements, Israel can and does keep such agreements. However, any Israel/Palestinian peace agreement will be based on current reality, not pre-1967 boundaries or "pie in the sky" dreams: the sooner Palestinians accept this, the sooner such an agreement can be made.

55 ) Colin Wright / USA
21/07/2014 23:52
To Outlier #54: 'Based on the Jordan and Egypt peace agreements, Israel can and does keep such agreements.' It's hard being a Zionist, isn't it? Actually, Israel has violated her treaty with Egypt -- specifically, those clauses pertaining to full Palestinian autonomy within five years. I haven't looked up the text of the treaty with Jordan, but there seem to be similar clauses there as well. Surely there IS some example of Israel keeping her word? What is it?

56 ) Colin Wright / USA
21/07/2014 23:55
To Outlier #54: 'However, any Israel/Palestinian peace agreement will be based on current reality...' That's morbidly silly. 'Current reality' consists of Israel methodically and progressively dispossessing Palestinians without regard to law, and murdering them whenever she pleases. Why would the Palestinians agree to that? You might as well propose that the Allies should have made peace with Nazi Germany in 1942 on the understanding that the Holocaust would continue.

57 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/07/2014 00:00
To Outlier #54: 'You do not know Israel's ambitions, nor how much it might cede in a peace agreement.' We do know that Israel will never agree to an authentically independent Palestinian state. We do know that her leaders have voiced acquisitive interest in Southern Lebanon and bits of Jordan -- and in fact, we know that Israel actually had a go at establishing control over southern Lebanon. Remember 1982-2000? So are we supposed to wait for her to formally announce her plans?

58 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/07/2014 00:03
To Outlier (in general). Really, rather than trying to coherently defend the indefensible, you'd be better off with meaningless ranting, offering up red herrings and irrelevancies, and repeating tired canards ala the rest of our Zionists. For a Zionist, meaningful, reasoned debate is a trap. The truth will corner you, and you'll have to admit you're simply advocating evil.

59 ) Outlier / USA
24/07/2014 23:50
55-59, Colin, must be tough being you and being wrong all the time. Nowhere in the Egypt/Israel treaty did it discuss territory, only political autonomy and the existence of the PA fulfills that element. As for current reality, current reality means East Jerusalem will never be Palestine's capital and border swaps will modify pre-1967 borders in a final agreement.

60 ) Outlier / USA
24/07/2014 23:58
(comment continued) Lastly, despite your characterizations, you do not know Israel's ambitions, nor how much it might cede in a peace agreement. That said, it will not be the Palestinian's "pie in the sky" hopes and both sides will hate elements of it. Last but not least, intelligent discourse does not include name-calling; almost everything you said about me better describes yourself.
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