Sod, Seed, Salvation: Abrahamic Covenant and the Claim to Palestine

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Avatar-BiVOT SS Lesson #7

Sod, seed, and salvation — it’s how I like to describe the Abrahamic Covenant. There were three promises in the covenant. The first was a land promise, where the Lord gave Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. The second was the promise of a great and numerous posterity. And the third was the blessing of the everlasting Gospel: the priesthood and the promise of exaltation, to come to the world through Abraham’s lineage. (see Genesis 17)  But just look at how often the covenant was renewed!

Not only that, but you may be surprised to learn that this covenant consisting of a land promise, a posterity promise, and a gospel of salvation promise was also given to

and, though we call it the Abrahamic Covenant, the same covenant was made even earlier, with

Finally, if you’ve read this week’s Sunday School lesson, you’ll know that the Abrahamic Covenant is made with faithful members of the Church today, as promised in D&C 132.

But when speaking of the Abrahamic Covenant, we might well consider the claim of Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael, his alleged descendants, and the ongoing conflict over the land of Canaan. I think it is interesting that the claims of both Palestinians and Israelis can be distilled into sod, seed, and salvation claims. Before you jump to a conclusion about how the argument over Palestine/Israel should be solved, let’s look at these with an open mind.

Sod: The Land Claim

Jewish claims to the land of Israel are based on the fact that this was the historical site and native site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel. There were always large communities of Jews in Israel, and the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. Palestinian Arabs’ claims to the land are also based on continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years. The land was originally “Arab” land taken from its native inhabitants by invading Jews, they say.  Who’s right?  Let’s see: 

§ It was the British who exercised sovereign authority in Palestine under a League of Nations mandate for thirty years prior to Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.

§ But the territory was Turkish land, a province of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years until the British wrested it from them during the Great War in 1917.

§ If you look back earlier in history than the Ottoman Turks, who took over Palestine over in 1517, you find it under the sovereignty of the yet another empire not indigenous to Palestine: the Mamluks, who were Turkish and Circassian slave-soldiers headquartered in Egypt. In 1250 they took Palestine over from:

§ The Ayyubi dynasty, the descendants of Saladin, the Kurdish Muslim leader who in 1187 took Jerusalem and most of Palestine from:

§ The European Christian Crusaders, who in 1099 conquered Palestine from:

§ The Seljuk Turks, who ruled Palestine in the name of:

§ The Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad, which in 750 took over the sovereignty of the entire Near East from:

§ The Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus, which in 661 inherited control of the Islamic lands from

§ The Arabs of Arabia, who in the first flush of Islamic expansion conquered Palestine in 638 from:

§ The Byzantines, who (nice people—perhaps it should go to them?) didn’t conquer the Levant, but, upon the division of the Roman Empire in 395, inherited Palestine from:

§ The Romans, who in 63 B.C. took it over from:

§ The last Jewish kingdom, which during the Maccabean rebellion from 168 to 140 B.C. won control of the land from:

§ The Hellenistic Greeks, who under Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. conquered the Near East from:

§ The Persian empire, which under Cyrus the Great in 639 B.C. freed Jerusalem and Judah from:

§ The Babylonian empire, which under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. took Jerusalem and Judah from:

§ The Jews, meaning the people of the Kingdom of Judah, who, in their earlier incarnation as the Israelites, seized the land in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C. from:

§ The Canaanites, who had inhabited the land for thousands of years before they were dispossessed by the Israelites. (from Lawrence Auster)

This brings us to our second point. The Hebrew Torah clearly shows that the Jews seized the land from the Canaanites. Can we go back into history and discover who the descendants of these ancient native peoples are?

Seed: The Descent Claim

Ibrahim Alloush describes the descent claim of the Palestinians as follows:

“The Arab identity of Palestine emanates not from the Islamic conquest, but with the Canaanites who came into Palestine from the shores of the Arabian Peninsula around 2500 BC, and who had sovereignty over the land until about 1000 BC. Hence Palestine was called the Land of Canaanites, until the Philistines came from the island of Crete and intermarried with the Canaanites to melt peacefully into them leaving only the name behind: Palestine. The ancient Hebrews were indeed part of the peoples of the region but they came into Palestine (the Land of the Canaanites) as invaders.”

Those making this claim point out that descendants of the Canaanites/Philistines (ancient Arabs) have maintained a continuous presence in the land throughout history. Others say that the archaeological evidence disproves this. There is no record of the Canaanites surviving their destruction in ancient times. Prior to 1964 there was no “Palestinian” people and no “Palestinian” claim to Palestine; prior to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, the name “Palestinian” referred to the Jews of Palestine.

Meanwhile, the Jews have their own problems proving literal descent. For example, Shlomo Sand insists that Diaspora Jews descend from converts and have no ethnic link to ancient Israel. In addition, human rights groups make the point that no other indigenous or aboriginal peoples on the planet are granted the same consideration as the Jews. But there is one other consideration being used to make a claim for the land.

Salvation: The Religious Claim

According to the Torah, Eretz Yisrael was promised to the Abraham and his descendants. Muslims believe that since Abraham’s son Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, then God’s promise of the land to the children of Abraham includes Arabs as well. The prophet Muhammed passed through Jerusalem on his first journey to heaven, and all of the land of Israel is designated as Islamic “Waqf” which implies it must be governed by Muslims.

Israelis insist that the covenant was renewed with Abraham’s son Isaac and the inheritance was passed through his line to the Jews. They made Jerusalem a holy city over three thousand years ago have remained steadfast to it. They pray in its direction, mention its name constantly in prayers, close the Passover service with the wistful statement “Next year in Jerusalem,” and recall the city in the blessing at the end of each meal. The destruction of the Temple is still an event commemorated by a special day of mourning, houses left partially unfinished, a woman’s makeup or jewelry left incomplete, a glass smashed during the wedding ceremony. Christians identify with the Jews’ love of Israel in many ways. The plaintive sound of Psalm 137 is reinforced in many of our hymns: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” This sympathy has been apparent in modern reactions to the conflict over Israel.

In attempting to keep this post from being unwieldy, I am afraid that I have greatly simplified the issues. Please feel free to make additional points about these claims in the comments. However, what I am most interested in discussing is the great support the Christian world has given to the Jews’ political return to Israel in modern times. (Zionism was actually opposed by Orthodox Jews at first — they regarded Zionism as a violation of God’s will.) But the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people in 1947. Do you think there is a solution to this conflict? Who has the better claim? Should a world-wide coalition define boundaries, or should we let the two nations duke it out on their own?

Does your religious worldview and your Christian understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant affect your position on the issue?

Comments

comments

Comments 49

  1. I think the Abrahamic Covenant must be understood as a physical covenant and a separate (but related) spiritual covenant. The spiritual covenant, which includes the blessing of the gospel, the priesthood, salvation, and exaltation, is the same covenant God made with Adam and everyone since who has accepted the gospel and the covenants of the gospel. This covenant is no more Abraham’s than the Melchizedek Priesthood is Melchizedek’s but it has taken his name, I believe, because God promised Abraham that it (the covenant, i.e. the gospel) would be given to the world through him and his descendents. By accepting this covenant, Abraham and his family (the House of Israel) became a covenant people of God. Because God promised that the gospel (the covenant) would be given to the world through his family, the House of Israel became the covenant people of God. Everyone who accepts the gospel (is baptized) becomes part of the covenant people of God and thus part of the House of Israel (spiritually speaking). Now enter the physical covenant given to Abraham. This involves the land of Israel and the inheritance of that land by Abraham’s descendents. The dispute you discuss in your post is largely over whether that promise goes to Abraham’s descendents through Isaac, Ishmael, or both. This is where I believe the relation between the physical and spiritual covenants exists. According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the spiritual covenant was renewed through (or accepted by) Isaac and not through (not accepted by?) Ishmael. Since the House of Israel that would be the covenant people of God went through Isaac and not through Ishmael, the physical covenant God made with Abraham followed the spiritual covenant and went to Isaac and on to Jacob (Israel) and his family. At least that’s how I understand it. So in answer to your last question, yes my religious worldview and Christian understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant does affect my position on the issue. God’s promise of the land of Canaan goes to Isaac and his descendents.

    I think your other questions are something along the line of should mankind be responsible for fulfilling God’s promises to his chosen people? Originally many orthodox Jews thought not which is why they didn’t support the early Zionist movement. What they didn’t understand is that God accomplishes his plans through us. What they viewed as a human movement to gather back to Israel I view as God’s handiwork. I believe God’s handiwork is still in motion in Israel today but how it will or should be done I have no idea.

  2. DB, thoughtful comment. I think the first part accurately represents the objective of the Sunday School lesson. But as we teach this viewpoint, I see that we are training our people to have an investment in what happens in modern Israel, whether they are aware of it or not. (And I really say “we” meaning the Christian world.) Does our belief that our religious tradition is “true” require us to become involved in political disputes such as this? Remember that the Muslims believe just as strongly that their perspective is the one that represents reality. And remember how many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. Is there a way to achieve peace in that country and encourage the two “cousins” to coexist harmoniously if we feel that God is accomplishing his plans through us?

  3. There are several inaccuracies in your post, but not I suspect ones of will, and digressing into them would be an unnecessary tangent, so let’s get to your questions:

    “Do you think there is a solution to this conflict?”

    Yes, the South African solution. Put another way, the end-of-Jim-Crow solution. It is the only sensible, practical, and genuinely sustainable one. Israel as we know it must and will cease to exist and be replaced by a multi-ethnic state where Jews, Arabs, and purple-and-pink-polka-dotted Martians will all have the same rights. That is the only way to defuse the poison that ethno-centric nationalism has infused not just into this conflict but so many other conflicts around the world. Nationalisms based on who you are rather than how you agree to live as a society were a mistake from the beginnings of nationalism a few centuries back right up to the present. Clinging to that error will not make it better.

    “Who has the better claim?”

    Zionists had no claim from day 1, they were and remain thieves in the pure colonialist and ethnic nationalist traditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Pure and simple. Like ethnic nationalists, the Zionist movement has and continues to use ethnic cleansing as a chief tool of power (read Ilan Pappe’s “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” for the most thorough coverage of the single most important such event in 1948/9, and read sources ranging from The Electronic Intifada to B’Tselem to see how it goes on to this day). And like Colonialists they came, stole land, manipulated existing local divisions and rivalries, and ultimately used force of arms to steal what was never theirs.

    Above all, the Abrahamic Covenant claim is NULL AND VOID in any modern legal sense. It is non-sensical and meaningless. The writings and subsequent interpretations of any religion, give no claim whatsoever to the pre-existing property of others. Even less so when an ancient (or really for the most part, medieval) religion like Judaism then gets half of it (the part without God) crammed into a thoroughly modern invention like Nationalism, in this case Zionism which never existed until the 19th century. Indeed, it drives me nuts to hear Zionist hacks spouting off about how Palestinian nationalism is a modern invention – so is Zionism! At best – and even this is debatable – Zionism preceded Palestinian nationalism by a few decades. And by force of European anti-Jewish racism, racial theories, and the waning days of European empire (recall that Palestine at its peak absorbed more British troops than colonial India! Utilizing a force like Zionism to play divide-and-conquer, wedded with the same bizarre pseudo-religious drive that pushes US foreign policy to blindly support Apartheid Israel to this day, was a useful – if frequently troublesome – effort for the Brits to try out), Zionism was able to acquire more arms and organization to temporarily “win”.

    As for Palestinian claims, as part of a combination of (1) the Arab world having been at the center of the rising tide of third world nationalism from WWI to the post-WWII era, (2) in response to the ugly blatant racial theories of Zionism and their Apartheid implementation on the ground to this day, and (3) the rising tide of Islamist trends in Arab politics over the past few decades as a direct consequence of the failures of both socialist and capitalist dictatorships in the tumultuous post-decolonization era of the 50s and 60s and the lack of an ideological purpose behind the Arab dictatorships of the 70s to today (other than currying favor with the Soviets and US to get maximum guns, torture chambers and money to stay in luxurious power); as a result of all of that, you do hear Palestinian claims that often rest on an Islamist-tinged religious claim. But at its core, that was not and is not the basis of the Palestinian claim to Palestine (and by the way, before 1948, “Palestinian” did most certainly NOT mean Palestinian Jews only, it referred to all residents of Palestine regardless of religion). Early Palestinian nationalists sensed very early on that the Zionists wanted to divide local Palestinians on the basis of religion, and immediately moved to counter the move. Some of the earliest Palestinian nationalist institutions were joint Christian-Muslim associations. Early Arab nationalists (pre-Balfour at a time when the entire Arab world was hoping for broad Arab independence and not the Sykes-Picot mess that they got) even explicitly called for Jewish participation in the Arab nationalist movement(s) and were met by many followers. Zionism was the European poison that eventually undid it, but at its core, Arab nationalism from Nasser to Azmi Bishara is inherently non-sectarian.

    That is why Palestinian nationalism – even divorced from broader Arab nationalism – can easily make room for Jewish members, while Zionism is unable to make room for Arab members. Palestinian nationalism is civic, Zionism is ethnic. Or to throw my moral judgement most gladly into the ring: Palestinian nationalism = civic nationalism = good; Zionism = ethnic nationalism = bad. It’s for the same reason that to this day I would say Pakistan was a bad idea from day 1. Making the basis of a state one’s religion is a stupid idea, always has been, always will be. Any state that defines itself on inherent characteristics that it says someone is born with, will ultimately seek to oppress, expel, or kill those who don’t meet its definitions. India has plenty of problems (indeed one Indian friend of mine refers to India as “the most violent society on earth”), but the point is that the IDEA of India is right. So too with Palestinian nationalism. Palestinian nationalism at its core doesn’t care what religion or ethnicity one is, and that is a good thing. Getting good governance is a challenge that occupation, ethnic cleansing, and US determination to eternally screw Palestinians (with enthusiastic Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Lebanese help it should be added) has made that impossible to date. But then in many ways that is why the South African example is so compelling. Again, not claiming post-Apartheid South Africa has gotten anywhere close to everything right, but the state inherited strong institutions from the Apartheid era, and has worked to transform those to the benefit of all citizens instead of just a privileged few. So too should be the case in post-Zionist-Palestine.

    But since this is a Mormon blog, let’s also tackle the Abrahamic Covenant question head on. For the record, I’m totally on Sands’ side (do read his book if you haven’t) in saying that Zionism is a made up modern construct, that the vast majority of the world’s Jews aren’t descended from the original Judeans (but that the Palestinians are, along with being descended from the remnants of the many many many peoples who have passed through Palestine over the centuries). What do we learn from day 1 in Sunbeams about covenants? They are 2-way promises. We follow God’s commandments, and God promises the blessings in return. Well, you tell me, is disobeying the most fundamental commandment “thou shalt not steal” (and twisting the more esoteric points of the law in truly condemnable Pharisaic fashion to justify it), keeping up the human side of the bargain? I think not.

    “Should a world-wide coalition define boundaries, or should we let the two nations duke it out on their own?”

    The boundaries of Palestine are set just fine. The Green Line will disappear, it was always artificial and useless. As far as letting “the two nations duke it out”, that was never allowed. Arms have always flowed like water to the Zionists to accomplish their colonization. Cut that off, and the Zionists won’t last any longer in Palestine than the Franks did a millenia ago. Which by the way, is another apt comparison – the crusader kingdoms were eventually destroyed once the locals managed to overcome their infighting (and consequently, that same ability to unite stopped the Mongols and saved Egypt in the process), but just as importantly many of the Frank visitors managed to stay put and became an embedded part of the region (especially in today’s Lebanon, but also throughout the Levant). Today’s Israelis will eventually give up their Apartheid-Afrikaner ways and find their niche in the free post-refugee-return Palestine.

    “Does your religious worldview and your Christian understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant affect your position on the issue?”

    I once erroneously thought my religious LDS worldview meant I had to support Zionism. Years and many personal experiences later, I now know I was dead wrong, my Christian LDS faith means I need to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom and the end of Zionism. That’s how Arabs and Jews will live together in peace, Zionism like all ethnic nationalisms is poison, politically, morally, and spiritually.

  4. N-AA #3: How did I know you would show up? 🙂 So glad to have your insights!
    it drives me nuts to hear Zionist hacks spouting off about how Palestinian nationalism is a modern invention – so is Zionism!
    Absolutely. I regret not making that more clear in my post.

    That is why Palestinian nationalism – even divorced from broader Arab nationalism – can easily make room for Jewish members, while Zionism is unable to make room for Arab members.
    Well, you’re right about Palestinian nationalism being mainly civic rather than religious, however, there is also a lot of vitriol showing the type of Palestinian nationalism that leaves no place for the Jews. Such as this: “the majority of Palestinians and Arabs have never ever reliquished their rightful claim to the land of Palestine on account of the land being Arab one-hundred percent, and exclusively. We owe no explanations to invaders and their imperialist supporters who ask us to prove goodwill towards Jewish invaders of our land. It’s the invaders who must show goodwill by leaving Arab Palestine.”

    Palestinian nationalism at its core doesn’t care what religion or ethnicity one is, and that is a good thing.
    That’s not what I’m seeing. I think the more rational part of the world community would like to put this in the context of civic nationalism, but I’m not sure in this case that it yields any better results than religious nationalism. I could be wrong.

    Arms have always flowed like water to the Zionists to accomplish their colonization. Cut that off, and the Zionists won’t last any longer in Palestine than the Franks did a millenia ago.
    Yeah, sort of the purpose of my post. I don’t think we contemplate often enough what our role has been in this conflict.

    Interesting conclusion you have made. Does that come from your belief that support of the Palestinian cause is the only way to peace? Do you think a fulfillment of the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant is literal (perhaps building on Sands’ genealogical speculations), or do you think it will be more of a spiritual fulfillment?

  5. First of all, if I come off sounding bitter and angry, please understand that the combination of a cause I care and know a lot about, and the uninhibited nature of blog posting, means I turn into a rabid frothing at the mouth animal. It’s not personal 🙂 I actually quite appreciate what you’re doing here. That said, here I go again:

    ****

    Cherry-picking quotes really isn’t a useful exercise here. Yes, there is vitriol from the Palestinian side, of course there is. This is a nation that has been continuously raped by another for almost a century now. How many rape victims do you know who while still being raped speak kind conciliatory words to their rapists? End the rapes first, and then we can get talk about healing.

    And yet despite it, and ignoring the angry statements that come, years of personal friendships and reading the socio-political-economic map of Palestine tell me clearly that the core civic notion of Palestine remains. Get rid of the Israelis/Zionists using archaeology and diplomacy and religion and all those nice sounding things as weapons to hurt people with, and the desire to hurt back will go away. There is a core difference between the Palestinian experience with Israelis and the Israeli experience with Palestinians after all. Most Palestinians in the pre-1948 borders (both sides of the green line) have had daily experience in dealing with Israelis. Most Palestinians know that for all the ugliness, there’s a human side to them. Israelis may for the most part exploit the Palestinians as cheap labor or abuse them at checkpoints, but even in such ugly situations a peek of humanity and normal relationships comes through on a fairly regular basis. Not so for most Israelis. Most Israelis simply never see a Palestinian. They grow up their whole lives being told Palestinians don’t and never did exist (remember Golda Meir’s famous racist statements in that regard?), that all Arabs are just potential terrorists that any good Israeli needs to be very wary of and watch out for, and then they go and do their military-terrorist “service” and they spend a few years looking at Palestinians only through gunsights and in torture rooms (if you’re ever in Jerusalem and walk by the Moskopia police compound on the west side of the city, you would get chills down your spine if you knew the evil torture that went on in that place).

    This is by no means the experience of all Israelis or Palestinians, but it is that of most. It is however unfortunately getting worse. Israelis are building their walls, putting Palestinians in Gaza “on a diet” to quote their own evil language, and thinking less and less about the morality of murdering Palestinians for sport as we saw in Gaza last year and as goes on hit and miss to this day. But the basic notions of civic-defined nationalism on the Palestinian side are weakening as well as a direct result of Israel’s actions. Everyone should understand that any time an Israeli leader lists as a condition for peace that Palestinians must accept Israel as “the Jewish state” (do we recognize the US or even Mississippi as “the white state”??), what he is saying is that he is demanding that the world accepts an ethnic basis for a state instead of a civic basis, and that therefore anything done to defend that ethnic balance is justified. Even ethnic cleansing. And that is poisoning the Palestinian side as the walls go up. The more Palestinians don’t see Israelis other than from drones or tanks, and the more that their traditionally secular leadership (Fatah) is corrupted by US and Israeli bribes into becoming Quislings as they have become, the more that a stupid but predictable gut reaction to define themselves on a narrow false ethnic basis rises to the fore. It is for these reasons that people like Azmi Bishara, As’ad Abukhalil, Ali and Hasan Abunimah, Mazen Qumsiyeh and many others should have their stances praised for sticking to that civic definition despite all of Israel’s efforts to turn not just Palestine but the entire Middle East into an ethnic cauldron of violence (it is no accident that Israel’s foreign policy has always sought to seek out nations on the fringe of the Middle East whom it could try and play up non-Arab ethnic nationalisms with as a point of agreement).

    “I’m not sure in this case that it yields any better results than religious nationalism”

    I know of not one case of religious nationalism that has produced long-term stability. Indeed, even their violence against Palestinians aside, take a look at Israel today, the increasing infusion of religion into the social fabric is tearing Israeli society apart internally in ever greater measure.

    In any case, it’s not about whether anybody has reached an ideal state to date (they haven’t), it’s about what is the right goal to be aiming for. Pakistan and India again stand out. Rwanda (for all of Paul Kagame’s many many sins) post-genocide versus pre-genocide is another example. Pre-and-post-Apartheid South Africa. Again, none of these are perfect examples of the ideal state achieved, but their is a clear case of better and worse in all the examples. Ethnic nationalism has shown time and time again how dangerous and violent it can easily become. Nazi Germany is the ugliest example everyone points to, but take it off the table and we can look to most Eastern European nationalisms (including the Russian Slavic nationalism that in many ways Zionism was a response to), Hutu Power nationalism in Rwanda, Apartheid Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa, BJP-style Hindu nationalism versus Congress-style Indian civic nationalism, local Arab nationalisms (wish you read Arabic, As’ad Abukhalil had a great piece in Al-Akhbar a few weeks back on the poison of local nationalisms in the Arab world especially since Sadat) and on and on in many corners of the world. If you define a country by saying you are only a full human being with full rights if you were born a certain way, then you not only undo the notion of basic human equality, but you set yourself off on an almost inevitable path towards discrimination, ethnic cleansing, or in the worst cases genocide. For all of Israel’s hypocritical talk of “never again”, their entire state is founded on the same basis and behaves in the same ways as those few states who eventually committed the worst racist attrocities in history. Which isn’t to say other states acting on other bases might not commit such attrocities, but this is certainly one clearcut path that almost inexorably sets up the pre-conditions.

    “Does that come from your belief that support of the Palestinian cause is the only way to peace?”

    I believe that ultimately the Palestinian cause is not just the Palestinian cause. Ultimately the Palestinian cause is just a local embodiment of the cause of all humanity just as the US civil rights movement was, just as Gandhi’s Indian independence movement was, just as the struggle against Apartheid was. Do the right thing for the right reason, and peace will come. Try to bury sins and injustices, and well…it’s like Joseph Smith said in D&C 121:37 about trying to cover up our sins or exercise control over others. That’s a pretty darn good universal principle Joseph put forth there. And Palestine is a particularly acute wound. It’s not like this is something that happened 1000 years ago and nobody remembers it. I’ve sat in the shack of an old refugee from 1948, squalid dark and dirty, being fed from what little he had in the world, even as he and his children and grand-children could look literally just a few miles away and see people living in their home while their fields and orchards were robbed and marketed as Israeli produce — and yet that man, seemingly devoid of hope, looked up at me and said with a smile “there’s always hope”. Those are words I will never forget. The man has probably died now, but his children continue to live in squalor, but hold on to hope in their hearts. Fulfilling people’s basic needs for hope by restoring what was always theirs, that doesn’t produce war, it produces peace. Israelis are simply going to have to learn how to live as neighbors instead of slave-masters with the Palestinians.

    ” Do you think a fulfillment of the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant is literal (perhaps building on Sands’ genealogical speculations), or do you think it will be more of a spiritual fulfillment?”

    I think one of the things the Sand book really drove home to me (yet again) was how meaningless the entire notion of blood lines, race, and ethnicity are. And how brilliant and true the notions of “adoption into the house of Israel” that we have in the church are. God does not grant favor because of what we are, he grants favor based on how we live up to our covenants. The early church grew up in an era when notions of scientific racism were in vogue, we still have If You Could Hie To Kolob saying “there is no end to race”. Those are now properly discredited notions. But even though those notions gained a place in early LDS language and discourse as they did in pretty much all 19th and early 20th century western discourse (and the Priesthood ban may have been one ugly manifestation thereof, but we’ll avoid that can of worms for now), at its core the church just thankfully was built on the basic principles of freewill and agency. What you do, not who you are matters. So, with regards to the Abrahamic Covenant and its fulfillment, honestly I tend to think any fulfillment is predicated entirely on righteousness and beyond that I neither know nor care how it works out. If there’s a ‘blood’ element to it (which I increasingly doubt, but who knows, maybe I’m wrong), then Palestinian Arabs of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish descent (remember that the early Palestinian Jewish Arabs thought the Zionists were a bunch of elitist European kooks and didn’t like them at all) are just as if not more likely to be the recipients of said fulfillment as a bunch of dudes from Brooklyn. In fact, more so, as the covenant still requires basic righteousness, and I don’t know of one Palestinian who’s moved halfway around the planet to steal someone else’s home.

  6. My view on the issue has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with practicality. The fact is that the British, and then the UN, faced a horrendously complicated problem in Palestine in 1948. There were Jews on the ground, and there were Arabs. Parts of both communities had been present on the land for centuries; parts of both communities were newcomers. Land titles were a mess; the Ottoman Empire had a convoluted system, the Bedouins had customary claims, and the British, in the three decades they ran the place, still hadn’t sorted it all out. It is not subject to dispute that the vast majority of the Jews who were present in 1948 acquired their land by purchase (notwithstanding Arab nationalist intimidation against land sales to Jews).

    At the time the British decided to get out of the imperialism business (more’s the pity, IMO), a one-state solution just wasn’t realistic. There had already been too many mutual killings. The UN elected partition; the Jews were happy with the deal (which arguably gave them an unfairly large share of Palestine); the Arabs rejected it. War ensued, and the Arabs lost. The result was Israel’s pre-1967 borders becoming effectively a fait accompli.

    The Arab nations made multiple warlike attempts to reverse the situation, but were unsuccessful. Everybody is sick and tired of the whole business. At some point, sympathy for “victims” curdles into exasperation with revanchists. Nobody takes seriously a Southerner who’s still going on about Sherman burning Atlanta (there are some!). Nobody talks about the “plight” of the Karelian Finns, the eastern Poles, the East Prussians, the Pomeranians, the Tibetans (except some fashionable and useless Hollywood types), the people of Kashmir, the Greek Cypriots, or any other people whose borders got adjusted in the post-World War II convolutions. And the Palestinians’ electing to go all-in for modern anti-civilian terrorism, and ghastly propagandizing of their children with anti-Semitic imagery that would make Goebbels blush, forfeited them much of whatever goodwill they originally deserved. (Interwar Germany arguably was treated unfairly by the Treaty of Versailles. What they did about it makes whatever just grievance they might have had utterly irrelevant).

    It’s hard enough for Flemings and Walloons to get along, or Francophone and Anglophone Canadians. To think that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs living in the same state, at any time in the near future, is a recipe for anything but civil war is risible. At the same time, it is intolerable for Israel to exercise sovereignty over the Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza without their consent. A two-state solution is the only realistic one. In the past, that’ also been impossible — because no nation would consent to the establishment of a state, in territory it controls, that would immediately be at war with it. Now, though, with the Hamas hardcases clustered in Gaza and the corrupt-but-reasonable Palestinian Authority types in the West Bank, it may be possible to make peace with the latter.

    The number of Palestinian families with traditions of their homes being forcibly taken from them in 1948 is probably quite a bit less than the number of actual such instances, and may in some cases reflect land-title disputes of the kind that get resolved in litigation in areas where sovereignty and rules are clearer. But clearly there are plenty of cases where Palestinian families have been wronged, and deserve redress. Fifty years on, though, with land titles having turned over and over in many cases, the most practical solution is probably monetary compensation. Israel is simply not going to go away, any more than Utah is going to give itself back to the Mexicans or the Paiutes. That may be “burying sins,” but the world is a corrupt and complicated place, and sometimes you simply have to make the best of a bad situation that you can. Call it a day, join the modern world, and move on.

  7. “Zionists had no claim from day 1, they were and remain thieves in the pure colonialist and ethnic nationalist traditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Pure and simple.”

    A pure and simple fib. A “Zionist” migrating to Ottoman Palestine in (for example) 1904, who bought his land fair and square, is no “thief,” and all the Hamas propagandizing in the world can’t make it otherwise.

  8. Yeah, so I’m gonna go ahead and call BS on basically everything Thomas just said, from the erroneous historical interpretations, to the bizarre assessment of the present, to the fundamentally racist and utterly impractical prescription for the future masquerading as practicality. Getting into a line by line will just be pointless, but to hit key themes:

    *It wasn’t the least bit complex in pre-Israel Palestine, and saying it was is moral cowardice to nth-degree. One group of European colonialists, acting explicitly on a philosophy driven by the racial “sciences” prevalent in Europe and the west of the day, came with the explicit attempt to take over the country with the “dream” (nightmare in reality) of ridding the land of its existing inhabitants if they refused to pay obeisance to their racial masters. It is was then as clear as any other colonial movement. Colonialists justified it in a hundred ways, but morality was always against them. The Palestinians were slow to believe something so drastic and dangerous as their ethnic cleansing was taking place, the British and the Zionists conspired together (or when the British wouldn’t do it, the Zionists kept at it most effectively on their own) to prep the ground for the ethnic cleansing, and when Ben Gurion saw the “opportunity” to engage in full on ethnic cleansing he did it. Gutless, corrupt Arab monarchies under western imperialists thumbs felt the popular pressure (as well they should have) to stop the ethnic cleansing, but their hearts weren’t the least bit in it. King Farouk in Egypt sent his army in with rusty old non-working rifles (a crime which eventually got him booted right out of Egypt by the Free Officers on his yacht where he continued to balloon like a blimp before finally dying one night on top of some truly unfortunate girl), and in Jordan the king was actively conspiring with the Zionist leadership to divy up the land. The only truly principled fighters defending their homes and families (Captain Moroni would have been on the Palestinians’ side, full stop) were the Palestinian villagers who fought in vain for their survival (especially heroes like Abdul Qader Husseini), and a handful of the Arab soldiers and officers who fought valiantly despite the betrayal of their rulers (especially a few of the Iraqi and Syrian contingents). It was plain as day, racists came to steal (purchasing land means nothing in this regard, NOTHING, owning property doesn’t give you the right to take over an entire country, plus most of that property was bought surreptitiously from absentee landlords who didn’t consider their tenants of decades and centuries worth spit and who were the real owners of the land in any remotely just world), those being stolen from realized what was going on too late, the British pounded them into oblivion first in the 30s, and then the Zionists came and Ben Gurion became the Slobodan Milosovic of Palestine, a war criminal of the highest degree.

    *Nor is it the least bit complex today. I despise this moral cowardice of “get over it” and then applying formulas for “a bribe to the refugees there, prop up a corrupt Quisling in Ramallah there, starve everyone in Gaza to death there for demanding their rights”, all the while claiming there is some sort of moral equivalence and that everyone’s just so sick and tired of it. If you’re so sick and tired of it, why do billions of dollars a year in free weapons and cash go to Israel? Why does the EU provide Israel preferential trade treatment? If everyone’s so sick of it, cut Israel off and really let the parties be equal. But that ain’t the way it works. A toxic mixture of Holocaust guilt and bizarr-o Biblical politics has fed into blatant stalwart support for Apartheid. It is not complex, it is clear. There is a Gordion Knot ripe to be cut here: racists are in power, they are proud of their racism, and the victims of racism have every right to rebel and demand the end of the racism.

    *And this BS of “only the two state solution is practical”, and “they could never get along, that’s so unrealistic”. Yeah, that’s what whites in the Jim Crow south always said. That’s what Apartheid-supporting Afrikaners always said. False. A supposed “two-state solution” is no solution, it is the cramming of Palestinians into Bantustans, with no military to defend themselves, economic dependence on Israel and/or aid agencies. It is the Bantustan plan that Apartheid South Africa had come to fruition (or really, since that already exists in Palestine, it would simply be a slight transformation of the shape thereof). Millions of Palestinian refugees have the right – the RIGHT, not just the wish, the RIGHT – to go home, and they will not be screwed by Zionists or white dudes in New York or Washington. It is their right, and the right of return movement is only growing strong every day. The so-called two-state solution is a recipe for ongoing warfare and bloodshed. It will ensure that a corrupt clique of Quislings in Ramallah (with a treasonous brutal American military leader in the person of General Dayton) will continue to undermine good governance and prevent together with the Israelis who control their cash flow the development of Palestinian economic independence. It will ensure that the have-nots, especially the refugees who will be told they are eternally screwed, will continue to fight as they should for their rights, it will ensure the Israelis will continue to treat their own Palestinian citizens as untermenschen as they do now, and it will ensure (this is key) that the violent apocalyptic strain of Israeli politics that is growing stronger as we speak only speeds up. No way, that is not the least bit practical, it is by far the most unpractical, unrealistic, violence-prone “solution” for the future. The only realistic option for the future is the South African and Jim-Crow model. The system will be brought to an end, a single state which is blind to the ethnicity of its citizens will be formed. Let me say this now: everyone who today says this is unrealistic is going to be proven wrong by history within the next 2 decades. Israel will collapse of its own accord, it is already going into the violent internal convulsions that French Algeria, Apartheid South Africa and so many other locations of decolonization went through. When the racist ruling class becomes more willing to show the world just how racist it is, while simultaneously the world grows steadily more aware of that racism, and yet the ruling racist class speeds up their processes of violence blind to the consequences, you can know that implosion is on its way. Nobody takes the two-state solution the least bit seriously. Ironically, the only ones who really do are (naively) Hamas. Fatah knows perfectly well there’s no real 2-state solution, they just want their paychecks and palaces like the Vichy French. The Israelis know perfectly well its all a fake dance for “the international community” and they have no intention of providing (at best) isolated open-air prisons for the Palestinians. Hamas on the other hand has backed down on their rhetoric and talked about accepting the 2-state solution. Naive fools frankly in the hope of gaining some more international political legitimacy. But on the bright side, the international Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) and Right of Return movements are steadily gaining speed. Men like Azmi Bishara with their secular outlook are some of the most popular speakers and intellectual leaders among Palestinians, and one-state talk is becoming more and more common. There’s a reason the racist Ehud Olmert said his greatest nightmare was the Palestinians waking up one day and demanding full civil rights (hint, any nation that fears granting those it rules full civil rights is a dirty state that should get no one’s support, in this case Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same page).

    Summary: It’s always been simple, racists versus locals resisting racism. 2-state solution utterly impractical, history has shown 1-state solution not only practical, but raising boogeyman specter of it’s being impractical nothing more than a straw man. Maybe not easy, but by far the most sensible.

  9. Abraham was promised land by God. He was not told he could go take it by his own force. If you notice, Abraham trusted in God to fulfill his promise, lived a life of hospitality always willing to give up land to others, Lot, and did not ever seek to take land by force. I think there is much to learn about this covenant by looking at how abraham understood it.

  10. “A pure and simple fib. A “Zionist” migrating to Ottoman Palestine in (for example) 1904, who bought his land fair and square, is no “thief,” and all the Hamas propagandizing in the world can’t make it otherwise.”

    BS again. Buying land does not give anyone the right to make that country their own and dispossess the inhabitants. If I buy enough land in Norway, can I depose the parliament and ethnically cleanse the people? No. And that’s before we even get into the ways the Zionists manipulated the socio-economic and legal systems of the day to get absentee landholders to kick out the people who had been living there for centuries (a tactic that they use to this day).

    But I will say there’s one point with which I agree entirely with you on, which is perhaps more to BiV’s original point: “My view on the issue has nothing to do with religion”

  11. Now that we’ve settled who’s at fault, how about some discussion of lineage vs adoption, believing blood, mystical change or blood at the time of baptism, why Abraham, the rise of monotheism, and stuff like that.

  12. “Now that we’ve settled who’s at fault, how about some discussion of lineage vs adoption, believing blood, mystical change or blood at the time of baptism, why Abraham, the rise of monotheism, and stuff like that.”

    Ok, so I was saying earlier (yes, buried in my diatribes), I think these ‘blood’ notions are mostly artifacts of the past, but that the entire ‘adoption’ notion in the Gospel is what let’s us know it’s about actions/choices, not who you were born as. And if there is some blood angle to it, even then I believe like all covenants it is conditional upon the faithfulness of that person.

  13. NAA, I’m perfectly accustomed to being called “racist” by the likes of you (as if there is a dime’s worth of “racial” difference between Arabs and Jews) for making the obvious observation that some cultures are superior to others, and the culture in which mothers take pride in their children blowing themselves up is just no-excuses toxic. You can argue all the day long that having a noble cause is all that matters, but some things you just don’t do, though the heavens fall.

    Your Algerian strategy just isn’t going to work. In Algeria, it was simple math: Several million Algerians, led by sufficiently ruthless cadres, outgun and can therefore ethnically cleanse one million pieds noirs. You’ve tried that over and over in Palestine, and gotten what? Three million Palestinians aren’t going to chase eight million Israelis into the Med, and the rest of the Arab world is through getting its own young men killed on your behalf.

    For some reason, the Jews can’t be persuaded to share a polity with people raised watching Farfour the Murder Mouse. The “one-state” solution being therefore out for the foreseeable future, the choices are (1) an independent Palestine on the West Bank (Lord only knows what can be done with Gaza), or (2) Israel keeps trundling along more or less as it has for the past fifty years, and the Palestinians stay miserable. It’s really your side’s call.

  14. NAA,

    What do make of all the Jews ethnically cleansed from Arab countries? They now make up a near majority of Isreali Jews.

    Your ideas will never work when one side wants to kill the other and will with their bare hands given the opportunity. See the murder mouse cartoons.

  15. First of all, can’t and won’t read the long-winded posts of Non-Arab Arab because there is an obvious “ax to grind.”

    Second of all, it is almost silly to argue the partitioning of the Middle East in any kind of religious context because it was purely political, with a capital P. And you can’t just limit the partition to Israel because it was done to the entire region. So, it all needs to be discussed in context. Saudi Arabia peninsula to Iraq and almost to India.

    The fact is that no one in the region was willing to live in peace after the 1948 partition creating the State of Israel. The land was given to Jews as a reparation for the holocaust, I suppose. Up until that time, Arabs and Jews lived side by side in peace. Until their various politically motivated “leaders” told them not to. So they didn’t and still don’t. I will say that I don’t recall Israel starting any of the wars in that region, but having to win them all just to survive.

    Each group can lay claim to that entire area based on Biblical and Koran claims. But things can’t really work that way in real life. They have been fighting each other for thousands of years. Why should it be different now?

    I wish it could be. And it could be. But both sides have to give to get and so far I do not see the Arab side giving much. Most of those claiming to be Palestinians are probably not even from that land itself except in the widest possible interpretation. They’ve had their big brother Arabs whispering in their ears since pre-1948, “Don’t worry, we’ll get it all back for you.” And they still haven’t been able to.

  16. #14: Re: lineage in patriarchal blessings – I’ve always viewed this as somewhat of a “relic” left over from the 19th century. It doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot on a practical level. If you were truly and genetically from a particular “tribe”, a blessing didn’t change anything. But if you weren’t, the LDS teach that you are “adopted” into a tribe anyway.

    Also, genetically, as time goes by we have more and more descendants. These eventually intermarry. Studies have been done mathematically that once several thousand years go by, we are all essentially related to everyone who lived on the earth at that time, including Abraham. So, it is therefore a mathematical likelihood

  17. #14, see #20, he put it much better than I could have and I concur fully with him.

    #17: my “axe to grind” is simple: I lived most of my life growing up LDS seeing only a religious-Zionist view of things. Kleon Skousen’s angle had me wide-eyed and amazed. Then I actually went to Palestine. I studied, lived, and worked there. I saw how Palestinians and Israelis lived and interacted. I got degrees in the topic, I knew people from the most dirt poor to the highest level diplomats and many inbetween. I learned that the entire religious-Zionist myth was truly a false myth and that it is causing at this very moment immense suffering. When something is wrong and I know it, yes, occasionally I feel passionately enough about it to say something. That is my axe.

    bbell: There was no population exchange. This is an enormously complex topic which Israel loves to hit on for propaganda points as if it was a fair trade-off. Nothing could be further from the truth. Palestinians were ethnically cleansed as a willful crime by the Zionists in 1948. Jewish Arabs had lived for centuries as an integral part of their societies and in the early 20th century many were prominent members of their societies, often ranking high in the leading nationalist and communist organizations of the day in addition to powerful posts in government and the countries economic ranks. Zionism destroyed all that. The vast majority of Jewish Arabs were comfortable and happy where they were and had no desire to leave their lives and countries. But Israel was seeking population at any cost, having ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and was seeking to get people in to take over the property so as to try and stop Palestinians from coming back to their homes (remember this was the era where Israel shot on sight and murdered thousands of “infiltrators” who were in most cases simply farmers and property owners trying to get back and check on or tend to their homes and farms). So Israel send out security agents far and wide to try and convince as many Jewish Arabs as possible to leave and come to Israel. Being quite comfortable, most had no natural desire to leave (and indeed, even most who did leave went to other countries and not Israel) and had to be “convinced”. This worked in several ways: (1) The general instability of the times. These were the turbulent years of decolonization and establishment of new states that usually morphed quickly into dictatorships where nationalization to redistribute wealth was very high on the agenda. Not just the relatively prosperous Jewish classes, but all those who were relatively successful (Greeks in Egypt stand out as another example) saw much of their wealth nationalized and landholdings redistributed to the poor peasants in many countries. Losing one’s wealth but often maintaining wide-ranging business contacts meant that many people – Jewish and non Jewish – then saw better opportunities elsewhere and left. (2) Often times corrupt Arab dictators played right into Israel’s hands, taking the anger at Zionism’s ethnic cleansing and conflating (as Israel wanted and does to this day) Zionism with Jews, thus turning local Jewish Arabs into scapegoats for Zionism’s crimes. This was the era of highly insecure new Arab dictatorships and states, and oftentimes scapegoating worked all to viciously well for them. (3) Sometimes Israeli agents deliberately set bombs off and otherwise engaged in acts of terrorism against Jewish Arab targets in order to scare people off and convince them to leave when they weren’t leaving fast enough for Israel’s liking. In any case, one crime does not somehow justify other crimes. If Jewish Arabs and their descendants have a grievance with their countries of origin, they have every right to demand the right to return and/or for compensation where justified, just as Palestinian refugees do. One claim does not negate the other.

    I will stop there, though #s 15 and 17 leave plenty to be debunked and essentially just represent the rehashing of long-disproven Zionist myths that continue to dominate American discourse because of the success of Abba Eban’s 1950s diplomatic pushes that continue to poison US politics and political discourse to this day.

  18. “So if lineage is an artifact, what about the rest of the Abrahamic covenant?”

    I have a hypothesis here that relates to the broader flow of human history and how Gospel dispensations tie in. I’ll reference C.S. Lewis (was it in the preface to The Screwtape Letters?) in saying this is hardly something fundamental to my belief, I’d toss it aside if shown factually or spiritually that it wasn’t the most sensible thing, but I do think it makes sense.

    It goes something like this: the Abrahamic Covenant and the importance of the covenant people as we read in the older eras of the Old Testament were a model that worked for a highly disconnected, fragmented, and tribal mostly-pagan world. People couldn’t usually see beyond their clan or tribe, or at most kingdom. The realities of transportation and communication all but assured that. In such a world, setting up one tribe as an example or light to the others, made sense. They wouldn’t all convert, but at least they’d see a good example that could rub off and when they got taught in the spirit world and ultimately judged, that “light on a hill” tribe would hopefully have made the process of getting to full knowledge a bit easier and preserved key strands of divine revelation to humanity.

    But right about the time of Christ, or just a few hundred years earlier, the world began to change. The rise of Hellenic Greece and its spreading cultural influence under Alexander, and then the Roman empire encompassing as I think I once heard an estimated 1/4 of humanity, brought about huge changes in communication and the spread of ideas. Judaism became a major proselyting religion and at one point could have theoretically followed a path towards become the state religion of Rome instead of Christianity. In actual matter of fact, most of those semi-Jews (the sorts of believers we read about in the New Testament but who weren’t circumcised or fully Mosaic-law-abiding Jews), found in Christianity a monotheism that could work for them. And about this time, Christ with his universal post-Mosaic law message and then Paul and the early Christian missionaries became instruments in God’s hands in taking advantage of the new world of communication and transportation and thus allowed the Gospel to be universally preached as had always been the ideal but had as a matter of practicality not been possible.

    So this is the sense in which I refer to lineage as an ‘artifact’. It was a useful literal to semi-literal idea in the ancient Gospel dispensations, keeping the ‘light on a hill’ nation intact so that the core of the Gospel could survive and be transmitted such as it was known in those older eras. But when the time came in which it was possible for a true attempt at universal propagation of God’s light, it wasn’t going to be something that God was going to allow to hold back the spread of His truth. So the old mode of ‘house of Israel’ language became far more symbolic. Indeed, as Sand’s book points out, even in Judaism it became a largely meaningless concept if one is honest about the huge numbers of converts over the ages and small number of original Judeans. And as #20 points out, in any case at a certain point we are all related a few generations down the line (no wonder everyone seems to find a royal ancestor somewhere!).

    So I think it is the mixture of the fact that we all eventually can find common ancestors and the universalizing transformation of the Gospel around the time of Christ that makes it such that Abraham through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. In one sense, we probably all actually are at least remotely literal descendants of Abraham, but it isn’t the ‘racial science’ purity thought of the 19th century, but rather a mongrelization of the entire human race (we’re all mutts, and there’s no shame in it). And in another sense, it doesn’t matter if we are or not, we all get ‘adopted’ into this spiritual house of Israel in the end if we accept the truth, and that’s all that really matters in the end.

  19. For me the lineage idea was an extention of the British Israelism movement to the church as an effort to create a specialness in the early converts. They were of the tribe of Ephraim so they were destined to accept the gospel when offered and to be the elite in the kingdom. The British used it as an excuse to spread civilization and Joseph Smith used it as a way to solidify the idea of the true and exclusive church. IMHO.

    At the same time the promise that through Abraham all the people’s of the world would be blessed, I think, was taken to mean by early and current church leaders that through the LDS Church all the world should be blessed.

  20. NAA’s argument bothers me immensely, on so many levels, but I think Thomas has answered many of them well. But I will pursue one of them, because I think it shows the absurdity, and unChristianity of considering “group” rights as opposed to “individual” rights.

    NAA seems to be saying that if people seek to immigrate for a better life (HOWEVER they define better) by buying land with the explicit or implicit permission of the government or the current population — after all someone is selling the land or buying their labor at at least black market rates — and do so in such numbers that the cultural character of the area is changing, the current population is justified in violence to keep the cultural character the same.

    If I follow that principle, I would have to conclude that the KKK and skinheads who have resisted the rise of African Americans in many American cities are morally justified. I’d have to conclude that American citizens in the SW are justified in calling in the troops from Ft. Hood to expel all the Latinos from Texas, Arizona, and California.

    Anybody really want to go to that kind of hell on earth?

    Rights belong to people. Groups exist to help persons. When those groups start harming the very people they are claiming to protect, the group identity needs to diminish.

  21. GBS: I don’t think I’d have any disagreement with that interpretation, I think many of these different theories can be complementary.

    Firetag: If the goal of Zionism was for people to move back to Palestine and join the country, your argument might hold some water. But that tiny strain of Zionism was silenced early. The goal of mainstream Zionism (aptly labelled “Gun Zionism” by one analyst) was never to simply peacefully move to Palestine and join the place. The goal from the beginning was to take it over and dispossess the existing inhabitants if they refused to accept the racial superiority of their new overlords. The Zionists are the KKK, the Palestinians are the African-Americans and Native Americans. Your analogy is utterly upside down (and just as ridiculous as Thomas’ claim that the pieds noirs were ethnically cleansed or that the French were outgunned, the Algerians won their independence despite losing the war militarily, as was the case in many anti-colonial wars). And yes, anyone faced with a violent takeover of their entire country by foreigners, has the right to resist that violent takeover by force. I am always amazed that we Americans who went to war and killed for our independence over taxes, fail so often to have the least sympathy for people fighting for freedom from far worse oppression. I also find your group-individual notion bizarre in the extreme. A group of Zionists came to Palestine with a specific plan to take the place over, make it theirs and theirs alone, but you treat it like it was just some random process of individual immigration. If that were really the case, the conflict wouldn’t exist. A group of people acting in a deliberate and organized fashion as a group – Zionists – created the conflict and maintain it to this day. Whether one is a Palestinian or even an anti-Zionist Jew, that group of people will crush you by force of arms in Palestine if you resist them. African Americans are already Americans, KKK types are trying to deny them what is already theirs (hence the accurate comparison of the KKK to Zionists). Latinos and other immigrants to the US are not coming to the US to take it over and kick everyone else out if they refuse, but to be a part of the country or to make money and head back home, hence the inapplicability of the comparison to Zionists whose goal was and is explicitly to take the place over and ethnically cleanse the country whenever given the chance.

  22. FireTag #25

    Your lack of historical understanding is surprising to me, I expect it from Thomas he does not know any better. I guess those in the US have difficulties with the morality of this conflict because it is exactly the same thing that they did to the Native -Americans and according to Mormonism the “Northern” US was reserved for his choice people.

    The British who raped half the world don’t try to deny there misdeeds by cloaking them in the divine providence, they were just inbred entitled misfits.

  23. From my reading of Zionist history, I really wish it weren’t called Zionism, if only for LDS sake. The word carries so much meaning for us that we immediately think that Zionism has something to do with religion at all. It doesn’t. The idea, as we know it, is a little over a century old. The Zionism of modern times from the hands of those who believed in it is born of the Enlightenment at the earliest, not Abraham.

    Theodor Herzl, the late 19th-century founder of Zionism for our purposes (there were other ideas floating about, but no one made it all come together like he did), was as secular of a Jew as they came. He had seen the Dreyfus affair and the attempts at assimilation into European society and saw that they had failed. He just wanted to create a homeland for the Jews where they could be safe from persecution. Yes, Palestine would be nice, he thought, but other locales such as Argentina or even the American West fit his preferences nicely He just wanted to get away from the state-sponsored anti-Jewish terrorism of Europe. Interestingly, for the most part, Jews themselves didn’t buy it. More Jews came to America in the late 19th-century than went to Palestine during the same time.

    As far as the religious nature of the movement, there were certain factions of it that were Christian or orthodox Jewish. They read into the Hebrew Bible to suggest that Harry S Truman or Herzl was somehow fulfilling the word of God. But for the most part, Jews saw the gathering as the work of God and that Herzl was being extraordinarily presumptuous. Rabbis in Basel gathered and issued an condemnation of his movement, saying he was usurping God’s authority. The gathering was God’s job, not his. I just talked to a professor who had a ancestor that was banished from his orthodox Jewish household for being a Zionist.

    It would be like a secular, but sympathetic Mormon (think a well-connected, sympathetic, inactive Mormon) suddenly declaring that Mitt Romney’s candidacy proves our incompatibility with American society and that we should start the gathering process all over again. Missouri would be nice, but there are other good places too.

    The Palestinians’ claim to Palestinian nationalism is no more legitimate for similar reasons–it’s an artificial nationalism born far too late in the game to be representative of historical reality.

  24. NAA and MrQandA:

    The GOAL is irrelevant, as is the internal rationalization. Buying something is not immoral, nor is selling it.

    And I am suggesting that we Americans will be in the LAST position to complain for the violation of our GROUP rights if Native Americans or African Americans or the Chinese buy up our assets and change our culture.

    While I was not alive in 1948, I was certainly around shortly enough thereafter to know which side had the planes and the tanks in 1948 and which side declared war. And I have certainly studied enough military history to know that Zionism was always a desire to escape from European pogroms that predated the movement by centuries. (Perhaps the Palestinians have a better moral case for driving the Europeans into the Arctic, after all.) You can argue all you want about what the Israelis may have intended to do or what they did (what both sides did) AFTER the war started. But it was the Arabs that chose door number 2, and they are responsible for the consequences of that choice.

    And I was certainly aware enough to watch the Arab nations blockade Israel (an act of war) in 1967, and listen on the radio (in my high school government class, ironically) as the networks broadcast how the Arabs were about to avenge their 1948 defeat and destroy Israel once and for all — and the shock when the Israelis routed the Arab armies. I remember thereafter when the Arab “rejectionist front” formed and swore it would never negotiate peace.

    I was aware when the Palestinians tried to turn Jordan into a launching pad for another war, and were forcibly expelled by that nation. They then set up shop in Lebanon, and spread war there.

    I was around when the Arabs invaded Israel in 1973, and almost brought the world to nuclear war between the US and Russia when the attacking Egyptian army was surrounded. At least the Egyptians figured out that it might be better to live with the Israelis than keep trying to conquer them. And guess what, they got their land back.

    Should I keep going, or do you get the point? If you can’t grasp that having a few million highly educated and inventive people from another culture as neighbors can be an asset and not a violation of your group rights, you are making a very bad life choice.

    Try a new strategy. No Israeli government will ever again depend on non-Jews for Jewish safety. Accept the right to a Jewish state, stop the attacks, and then come and ask for the world’s sympathy. You do not have the right to kill living people today for injustices, even when real, inflicted on your dead ancestors by their dead ancestors.

    That insanity has radicalized both the Israeli and the Arab “street” amd is leading the region to a self-fulfilling prophecy of catastrophic war.

  25. #28: “The Palestinians’ claim to Palestinian nationalism is no more legitimate for similar reasons–it’s an artificial nationalism born far too late in the game to be representative of historical reality.”

    I basically agree with this in the sense that all nationalisms are modern inventions. The Palestinian one is a more typical modern post-colonial one, essentially a gelling of the desire of people in some defined piece of geography (however logically or illogically that piece got its borders drawn) to become a modern state. The Zionist/Israeli one is actually a rather rarer specimen, a mixture of European colonialism and Eastern European influenced ethnic nationalism. But regardless, the value of a nationalism is in whether it can help lay a foundation to produce a harmonious and reasonably just society. When the single state comes, a new nationalism and nationalist myth will need to be built. Mandela was rather adept at doing this through symbolism, sports, and outreach. United Palestine will need leaders of similar wisdom, their presence is by no means a foregone conclusion (this is one point where I’d differ from As’ad Abukhalil for example, his desire for justice may be justifiable enough, but a prosperous shared future needs a dollop of healing and forgiveness as well once the core injustices have been overcome).

    “From my reading of Zionist history, I really wish it weren’t called Zionism, if only for LDS sake. The word carries so much meaning for us that we immediately think that Zionism has something to do with religion at all. It doesn’t.”

    Thank you, I believe this is a key point for members of the church to realize.

    #29: “Should I keep going, or do you get the point?”

    Oh, the game is so on! But only one last time, I am undoubtedly making many people very sick of the topic, so I’ll go back to my dark lurking again after this. Look, all you’ve really said is that you have bought Zionist propaganda hook line and sinker like a lemming your whole life and never bothered to actually see what was going on. I was like you once to be fair, but I opened my eyes. Not that I expect any of this to change the opinions of someone who refuses to walk a mile in the other guys shoes (I’ve walked more than my fair share of miles in both sides shoes and drawn my conclusions after that), but let’s go through the exercise for the sake of the facts if nothing else.

    “The GOAL is irrelevant, as is the internal rationalization. Buying something is not immoral, nor is selling it.”

    If your goal is to use the (surreptitious) acquisition of one piece of property in order to steal much larger quantities of property (and murder many of the owners deliberately in the process both for the greed of obtaining the property and the racist hatred of that owner), the goal is not only relevant, the buying and selling of property in such a case is deeply immoral.

    “While I was not alive in 1948, I was certainly around shortly enough thereafter to know which side had the planes and the tanks in 1948 and which side declared war.”

    Really, I’m giggling here. Because I know what you think. You think that black is white, white is black, it’s dark as midnight staring into the noonday sun, and above all you think that the Arab armies vastly outnumbered the Zionists and that the Arabs declared war on poor tiny little Israel out of the blue. You do realize that you are factually wrong on all counts? I will point you to Ilan Pappe’s excellent book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” to disabuse you of your myths in excruciating detail – http://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansing-Palestine-Ilan-Pappe/dp/1851685553/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265929184&sr=8-1 . Heck, I’ll buy and mail you a copy if you won’t pick it up yourself. Pappe relies primarily on Israel’s own declassified documents (the book would be much richer if his Arabic and grasp of the Arabic sources were better), but the guy does a very good job nonetheless. Ben Gurion and the whole Zionist leadership knew they had the military advantage the whole way through (just as they did in 1967). They had more fighters in the field, they had better trained fighters, and with the possible exception of the Jordanians they had better weapons (and the Jordanians didn’t want to fight anyways, they were in collusion with the Zionist leadership the whole time and only fought to ensure the deal they had made with the Zionists would be upheld). More importantly, the Arab Liberation Army’s entry into the war was late and utterly unmotivated (non-working weapons, insufficient supplies, insufficient manpower, almost total lack of coordination), reflecting reluctant Arab puppet monarchs utter disdain for saving the Palestinians from ethnic cleansing but a tidal wave of popular revulsion at the ethnic cleansing going on Palestine that they couldn’t ignore. And that ethnic cleansing – the REAL start of the war – occurred many many months before the UN partition resolution and the ALA’s far too late entry into the war. Many of the ALA’s fighters were brave and tried to prevent the Srebrenicas of Palestine, but to no avail. Indeed, prior to the ALA’s intervention (and given the ALA’s near total military failure thanks to the Arab rulers’ corruption, even after their intervention in most cases), there was no war at all, civil or international, there was only a pure ethnic cleansing. Ben Gurion was practically giddy. In public he wore a somber face talking about the existential threat they all face, in his private memos he can barely contain how thrilled he is to be driving Palestinians from their homes, dynamiting their villages (on numerous occasions with families still sleeping in them in the middle of the night), looting their properties and bank accounts, and allowing massacres and rapes to occur on a regular basis which scared even more refugees into fleeing. There was no war, there was only a brutal, racist ethnic cleansing by Zionists of Palestinians. The Palestinians who tried to fight back to defend their homes, families, and faith Captain-Moroni-like were ruthlessly slaughtered or driven across the border.

    “You can argue all you want about what the Israelis may have intended to do or what they did (what both sides did) AFTER the war started. But it was the Arabs that chose door number 2, and they are responsible for the consequences of that choice.”

    Seriously, are you just setting up arguments meant to be easy to knock down? Israel started the ethnic cleansing BEFORE any official war started. Deliberately, brutally, and with extreme efficiency. The Palestinians chose no door. Their choice was to stay right where they were. For that, they were first killed in battle, then if they survived many were executed on the spot (it was standard Zionist procedure in 1948-9 to round up the men in a village after taking it over, get a Quisling informer in a black hood to identify anyone who had been involved in politics that didn’t support the Zionists, and execute him on the spot), and then the remainder disarmed with bullets firing over their heads were thrown across the borders and told never to come back (and if they did come back to check on their homes, they were shot on sight, Israel killed thousands of “infiltrators” this way in the early years of the state). The Palestinians made no such choice to start a war, the Zionists did, they had all the power, they abused it to the max, the Palestinians were made to pay the price of others choices against their will.

    “And I was certainly aware enough to watch the Arab nations blockade Israel (an act of war) in 1967”

    Ah, 1967, the mother of all myths. When the “oh poor us we’re in danger” myths of the Israelis were peddled louder than ever, even as the generals knew more deeply than ever that they had complete military superiority and worried not the least bit. What was Dayan’s quote right before the war about what would happen if war broke out? I’m paraphrasing from memory, it was something like ‘the very survival of the Jewish people is in danger…and I’ll meet you for lunch in Damascus”. I suggest you read Avi Shlaim’s book “The Iron Wall” for a good view of what was really going on in 1967 from the Israeli side, the Generals (who have always run that little war-crazy entity) were giddy and itching for a war and looking for any way they could to provoke it. For Nasser’s part strategically, the man seriously overplayed his hand rhetorically. Having just drained his military white in a pointless war in Yemen (Egypt’s long-forgotten Vietnam, to this day few Egyptians know or talk about it), he shouldn’t have given the Zionists any pretext to attack in western eyes, but he did, even though Nasser never had any intention of starting a war – he was too weak and he knew it, and the ease with which his forces were smashed showed just how much his military wasn’t on a war footing despite a couple guns at Tiran here and there. Morally of course, the right outcome would have been Israel’s defeat, that little ethnic-cleansing Apartheid state had no more “right to exist” then than it did in 1948 or than it does today anymore than Apartheid South Africa had a “right to exist”. But Nasser was a fool and got his tail handed to him on a silver platter. On the bright side, the Arab dictators having been weakened, independent Palestinian bodies (as corrupt as they’ve unfortunately become since) did at least emerge from their two-decade burial.

    “I remember thereafter when the Arab “rejectionist front” formed and swore it would never negotiate peace.”

    Today we have only the Arab Quisling front of Saudi-Egypt-Jordan-Hariri Inc. Returning to the 3 no’s of Khartoum is the only way to real peace. One state with equal rights for all is the only practical solution.

    “I was around when the Arabs invaded Israel in 1973, and almost brought the world to nuclear war between the US and Russia when the attacking Egyptian army was surrounded. At least the Egyptians figured out that it might be better to live with the Israelis than keep trying to conquer them. And guess what, they got their land back.”

    Oh, how many gems will you give me to shoot down here? Rather ironic isn’t it that the US would go to nuclear war to defend a little Apartheid state isn’t it? Although nuclear war in reality was never a serious consideration in that case, that’s a myth, neither the Soviets or the Americans considered it worth the destruction of the planet. As for “the Egyptians”, Anwar Sadat the unrepentant anti-Jewish Nazi admirer had one goal only in mind: preserving his own power. He was more than willing to sell not only his soul, but certainly the Palestinians down the river, to get US guns and money since he’d grown dissatisfied with the Soviets and booted their advisors. “The Egyptians” however, greatly to their credit, overwhelmingly reject the racist state on their borders to this day. Though Mubarak has joined Sadat in jailing, torturing, and murdering those who speak up too noisily about helping the Palestinians. Oh, and you and I give Mubarak a billion dollars a year in free guns and money to ensure he continues jailing, torturing, and murdering anyone who dislikes Israeli racism.

    “If you can’t grasp that having a few million highly educated and inventive people from another culture as neighbors can be an asset”

    Ah, now I get it. We need good white people to teach the darkies how to be civilized huh? How very white of you. Because Arabs are too stupid and backwards to figure out modern life on their own huh? Why don’t you go on a lecture tour of Syria and Egypt with that message and let me know how it goes. More generally, your worship of the totally firm-as-jello notion of culture makes it hard to take anything you say seriously.

    “No Israeli government will ever again depend on non-Jews for Jewish safety.”

    Nope, because in a few years, there won’t be an Israeli government just as there’s no longer an Apartheid South African government. There will however be a unified government of Un-Holy-Landia or whatever they decide to call it which will protect all it’s citizens rights equally. Here’s a hint: there is no safety for anyone to be found in denying other people their basic God-given rights.

    “ask for the world’s sympathy”

    Because the world has been so good at having sympathy for the Palestinians? We’ve seen how that works, the more the Palestinians surrender their most basic humanity, the more they get treated like trash by the “international community”.

    “You do not have the right to kill living people today for injustices, even when real, inflicted on your dead ancestors by their dead ancestors”

    You know, I couldn’t agree more. Funny, because Zionists are the one who do this every day. Palestinians on the other hand don’t, they fight for their survival and their family and friends who are being murdered, illegally kidnapped, and tortured as we speak.

  26. Well we are in agreement that one of us is listening to propaganda.

    If you believe that the powerful Jews were in a mighty conspiracy since the 19th Century, then they surely were an impotent conspiracy in Europe by the 1940’s, weren’t they? How quickly they achieved such military dominance after 1945! And how supremely brilliant of the Jews to sucker the Arabs into initiating wars — not once, but multiple times. And to use their own kids as weapons! And to keep withdrawing from the land the Israelis conquered so they can suck the Arabs into yet another war! Sheer military brilliance!

    The Arab states have been in decline relative to much of the world for centuries. They were once the greatest of civilizations; now they have become an intellectual backwater. That cannot be dealt with by looking inward and healing the society’s own flaws. That would be too painful. It must be the fault of some great conspiracy of all-powerful evil.

    I’ve read the Palestinian line many times, NAA. I even know what the Irgun was. I neither have nor require a belief in Jewish innocence in order to know that the Palestinian leaders are behaving suicidally in more than one sense.

    “You know, I couldn’t agree more. Funny, because Zionists are the one who do this every day. Palestinians on the other hand don’t, they fight for their survival and their family and friends who are being murdered, illegally kidnapped, and tortured as we speak.”

    Let’s see. When was the time the Palestinians tried stopping violence and THEN asking for sympathy? Was it last week when they dropped floating bombs off the beaches near Ashkelon? How about December, when 5 Hamas operatives were caught infiltrating into Israel in a plot both to plant bombs in Tel Aviv and to kidnap another Israeli soldier, thereby repeating the actions that started the 2006 war?

    Was it last fall when weapons stores in South Lebanon (forbidden by the 2006 war ceasefire) exploded even without Israeli help? And of course the Palestinians were trying peace when Hamas tunneled under the HQ of the Palestinian Authority and detonated the building as part of their takeover of the Palestinian government because the PA was possibly willing to settle for a two-state solution? Perhaps it was during the “cease-fire” before Operation CastLead in which 32 mortars and rockets were launched against Israeli civilian targets in a single 3-day period?

    But you won’t grant today’s Israelis a right to their state even in this discussion. You hold to the cultural artifact that the land of one’s ancestors is essential to honor, and honor is more important than the lives of one’s children — the very immorality you accuse the Zionists of committing.

    The situation is so beautifully symmetric: The Israeli position mirrors your own quote above:

    “You know, I couldn’t agree more. Funny, because Palestinians are the one who do this every day. Israelis on the other hand don’t, they fight for their survival and their family and friends who are being murdered, illegally kidnapped, and tortured as we speak.”

    I hold that the lives of individuals transcends the rights of groups. The latter only evolved to protect the rights of individuals, and they cease to be relevant moral considerations when they threaten to destroy — as they certainly are among the Palestinians — the very lives they are to supposedly protect.

  27. #24: I agree. I think that the focus on lineage back in the way was an attempt to create “exclusivity”. In many ways, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re not a descendant of Abraham, you’re adopted in anyway, so what does that mean?

    That’s like saying you can go to school and get a master’s degree, but if you want the job and don’t have a master’s degree, we’ll just give you an honorary degree anyway. At that point, what does having a “master’s degree” really mean?

  28. Jeff:

    I will give NAA the benefit of the doubt; I’ll call it the dreaded “liberal guilt” instead. One is well off (inferred from the multiple degrees and opportunity to live and travel extensively in the Mid-East). One sees suffering. One can not stop the suffering. One is therefore ashamed of being well off. Getting rid of the shame can become more important than ending the suffering.

    If Satan (considered either literally or metaphorically)wished to destroy good-hearted people, shame would be a most effective weapon.

  29. #34, Frietag,

    Thanks for calming me down! I can see having a reasonable discussion of the situation as it pertains to the Abrahamic Covenant since the various semitic peoples have a claim to it. But one must also look at it as a political problem as well as a religious one. No one has clean hands in this whole situation, but I’m sorry but NAA is way, way over the top here. And it must be called out for what it is.

    Suffering of people of any kind is largely unnecessary and, in some cases, downright unforgivable if the means to eliminate it is available. But if that suffering is used for political purposes to justify acts and actions, well, I don’t really have the words to describe who wicked I think that it.

  30. Jeff:

    Whether one interprets events in the mid-east from a prophetic-fulfillment framework or from a political-problem framework, people in the US and Europe need to be aware that the rhetoric of NAA about the near-term destruction of Israel is NOT extreme among Arab political leadership. This is incredibly dangerous and is so much like the rhetoric that preceded the 1967 explosion of violence.

    This time such a war is not going to be fought in the relatively unpopulated Sinai or even in the Golan Heights. Arab weapon emplacements are fully integrated among their own civilian populations in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza and in range of Israeli population centers. They are under the effective control of the senior member of the alliance, a rising regional power, Iran, that very much needs an external enemy, and has been moving efficiently to encircle not only Israel, but into position to interdict oil supply lines through the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and the Suez Canal. That doesn’t even address the threat to Israel or the oil supplies represented by the nuclear and missile programs being pursued, or the instability extending from Iran through Afghanistan to Pakistan and possible conflict with India.

    People need to understand that what is going on in the next couple of years is not going to be decided in Western capitals. For good or bad, the critical decisions are now being made elsewhere.

  31. Holy crap FireTag, you have no clue. Ok, I’m gonna stop myself before I go into it, but you don’t know a thing other than your neocon wet nightmares. Good grief, no wonder America starts so many wars, you see freaking boogeymen everywhere and have the guns and lack of brains to do something about your delusions. Here’s a hint: people in the Middle East really do hate being occupied. If you start from that instead of your paranoid fantasies, you’ll start figuring something out.

  32. Post
    Author

    I want to thank all of you for your comments on this post. I’ve been reading them all, but I’ve been keeping a low profile because I don’t feel sufficiently educated in all the nuances to comment much further without danger of putting my foot in my mouth. I hope we all recognize the difficulties of analyzing the situation in the Middle East without a thorough schooling in the languages, the peoples, historical information, and personal experience. Almost everyone is seeing a small part of a very difficult whole. This thread has given me a desire to learn more about several things pertaining to the Middle East!

  33. Actually NAA, Fox News has no clue on this. They cover this for about 15 minutes every time there’s a big boom before running off to cover the latest political food fight in Washington. I read the military journals and English translations of mid-Eastern media on both sides of the issue.

    I know that the Arabs hate the West and hate Israel. But if I didn’t, your own words predicting the near end of a Jewish state would be convincing evidence enough — or are
    you now arguing that YOU are more extreme than the Arabs? From all of my reading, the decision-makers on the Arab side agree with you totally.

    I also know that the Israeli media stopped talking about WHETHER there would be war with Iran almost two years ago. They switched to talking about WHEN. Everything then has been about preping the diplomatic and military battlefield for the explosion everyone anticipates is coming.

    I know that the last Israeli election devastated the mainstream leftist and centrist parties because of the perception that they had been too slow to go to war with Hamas and had stopped the operations in Gaza too soon. (Labor, which had been the governing party through much of Israel’s history was reduced to minor party status, but spared further humiliation because its leader, Defense Minister Barak, was believed by the public to have fought competently and kept Israeli casualties low.) The hard left was reduced to a subfaction of Kadima (the “centrist party” in order to win any representation in the Israeli Knusset (Congress) at all. The Israeli right won a larger proportional mandate than Obama and the Democrats did in America.

    Covert operations have been going on for months on both sides — from Hamas attack planning on the Suez canal to planting of defective nuclear entichment equipment by the West in the black market to slow down the Iranian nuclear program. The major press (including Fox) reports this only occasionally, like when the Israelis bomb a Syrian reactor (Syrian? What?) or a Russian freighter goes missing and the Northern Fleet sends an entire task force after a “load of lumber”, or another frieghter filled with dozens of tons of weapons and ammo from Iran to Labanon or Syria is boarded and displayed by Israel.

    So, go ahead and list all the bad things you think the Israelis do — and thereby make my point that concern about violence on a scale of the 1967 war or larger is realistic, not paranoid.

  34. #41,

    I certainly was trying to seem naive about the aims and goals of the Arab nations with regard to Israel and the entire region, for that matter. I am fully aware of the long term goal of the extreme and maybe not so extreme to have an Islam-dominated world. Not terribly different than the aims and goals of Christianity and the Church, in particular.

    However, the Christians are not going about it by strapping suicide belts and vests to their young men and women and fooling them into offing themselves “for the cause.”

    Some Christians are, in fact, hoping for the all our war as a means of bring on Armageddon and the second coming. that their support of Israel is only for that purpose.

    While I certainly don’t follow the situation as closely as you do, I am also not a watcher of Al-Jezerra as it appears some people are. Any more than I watch Fox for real news.

  35. I think that the facts are quite clear about the decent of both Israelites/Jews as well as Arabs. The Israelites intermarried over and over again with the Canaanites and Egyptians. This is quite clear from the scriptures. The same is so with the Arabs. Hagar, from whom the Arabs are descended, was Egyptian. Esau married Canaanites. Many of the sons of Jacob married Canaanites. Anyone claiming descent from Ephraim are sons of Asenath, the daughter of the HIGH PRIEST OF HELIOPOLIS, AND FULL BLOOD HAMITE EGYPTIAN. Some of the wives of Judah were Canaanites. If anyone is Canaanite blood, it is both Israelites and Arabs. The ten tribes were taken captive into Assyria, and no doubt many of their descendants there remain, and were scattered throughout the middle east. This means the ARABS ARE DESCENDANTS OF THE THEN TRIBES. Come on people. They all have claim to Palestine, they are all sons of Abraham. Let’s stop the silliness and all build a temple in Jerusalem to the side of the Dome of the rock, and all glory in the beauty of the dome of the Rock and leave it alone. The nation of Israel has a lot of potential to be a land of liberty for the Arabs and Palestinians as much as the Jews. Let’s just all live together in peace. We are all sons of Abraham, we are all Israel. We are all Canaanites. We are all Egyptians.

  36. Non Arab Arab

    I put less faith in man and more in God and his prophets. More specifically the promise to the Tribe of Judah:

    8 ¶ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
    9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

    10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
    11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

    The promise is to the Jews who will prevail with the help of two of Gods apostles.
    12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

  37. I have read reams of early Zionist stuff (from late 19th century to the 1960s), and I agree that Zionism has taken on a dangerous turn towards intolerant religious fundamentalism.

    Zionism, though influenced by fashionable eugenics of the time — and as such somewhat racist — was a wholly secular attemtp to build a socialist Utopia in Palestine.

    There apparently were some disposed Palestinians; there also have been some displaced Jews. I don’t honestly know who has done what exactly, but I do know that the Anti-Semitic vitriol coming from Hamas would be ridiculous if it weren’t so dangerous, as too many kids grow up only knowing that, and not knowing history and about the world at large.

    I have some indigenous blood in me (Roma), and I guess that’s why I have always felt sensitive to racist ideas. I have heard the Anti-Zionist (Anti-Semitic) propaganda since the 1960s, and it has always given me the creeps, because they would have a rightful claim to land; they don’t have a rightful claim to genocide any more than the Israelis do!!

  38. The waring factions between jews and Palistinians will be fought until Jesus himself returns.The LDS needs to repent all mormons should repent. What you are practicing does not fit exactly into the word of God. Things have been added and taken away, you have been led a stray by false prophets, many of whom do not even know what gods voice sound like. Repent and god will forgive you.

    Many of you do not know that Joseph Smith the founder of LDS was a member of and closely assiated with the Freemasons. Many of the religous ceremonies in LDS are stolen from or assosiated with Freemasonry. The freemason maskerade as a fraternity but are actually a cult/religion, who worship a pagan god. There can be nothing good to come from this, the word of god (Bible) is the only Truth, there is no other truth, the Devil is fooling you. Repent now and ask god for forgivness and he will show you all the lies.

  39. On Feb 10, 2010 you were bored! Wow! That is an incredible run down of eretz ysrael and historical time line! Question? The blessings of the earth, or land, or sod….I think a undance and blessings of the earth can come only two ways: exploitation through resource competition….or the ways of man….or the priesthood of god….and the blessings of abundance. Somehow I believe thereare easily overlooked s ruptures that screws the earth sensitiely…as when enoch actually heard the earth cry “when will this filthiness be taken from me?” And that was the pre flood era for goodness sake! Anyone have further insights on this. I’ve heard there is a DC reference to taking more than we need. Very ecological.

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