Thursday, October 30, 2008

Revisionist & Reconstructionist Zionism: 'Oldest Hebrew script' is found

Revisionist & Reconstructionist Zionism: 'Oldest Hebrew script' is found

Left: Fragment of pottery from Khirbet Qeiyafa The pottery fragment showed five lines of script

Five lines of ancient script on a shard of pottery could be the oldest example of Hebrew writing ever discovered, an archaeologist in Israel says.

The shard was found by a teenage volunteer during a dig about 20km (12 miles) south-west of Jerusalem. Experts at Hebrew University said dating showed it was written 3,000 years ago - about 1,000 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other scientists cautioned that further study was needed to understand it.

Preliminary investigations since the shard was found in July have deciphered some words, including judge, slave and king. The characters are written in proto-Canaanite, a precursor of the Hebrew alphabet. Lead archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel identified it as Hebrew because of a three-letter verb meaning "to do" which he said was only used in Hebrew. "That leads us to believe that this is Hebrew, and that this is the oldest Hebrew inscription that has been found," he said.

The shard and other artefacts were found at the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, overlooking the Valley of Elah where the Bible says the Israelite David fought the Philistine giant Goliath.

Left: Map showing Jerusalem

Mr Garfinkel said the findings could shed significant light on the period of King David's reign. "The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a unique meeting point between the mythology, history, historiography and archaeology of King David."

But his colleagues at Hebrew University said the Israelites were not the only ones using proto-Canaanite characters, therefore making it difficult to prove it was Hebrew and not a related tongue spoken in the area at the time.

Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said the inscription was "very important", as it is the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found. "The differentiation between the scripts, and between the languages themselves in that period, remains unclear," he said.

Be as it may, in Israel, archaeology becomes politics, history and diplomacy--in essence it becomes a basis to justify Zionism--sometimes the armaments are just not enough to appease the roars of world opinion. Every grain of sand encroached and each so-called artifact designated as "Hebrew" or "Jewish" becomes part of the Zionist narrative. This is supplemented as well by rebuilding and reconstructing events from scripture, which brings forth the fait accompli that much closer to a Zionist reality--suddenly ancient objects are categorized as Jewish and mutate into the lexicon of global truths.

Left: Israeli police at Dome of the Rock

In the mythical tradition of the Jews, it was once the centre of their world - and the place to which they always promised themselves in exile that they would return.

Christians know it as the temple where Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers.

The Romans knew it as a place of Jewish rebellion and, under Titus, demolished it in 70 AD (the Common Era) after the Zealots' revolt, which also saw the siege and fall of Masada.

Many of the disciples of Jesus were Zealots, including Jesus himself. His crucifixion probably had more to do with the group's insurgency against the Romans than anything recounted in scripture. Under Roman law, crucifixion was one of the punishments executed on those deemed proponents of sedition.

Zionists make a concerted effort to dig into Palestine to find a history that could provide evidence that the Jews had been there and had a right to be there still. They are digging for God and country. They have been digging to belong and hue themselves unto the land ever since.

In "Archaeology and National Identity in Israel," Nadia Abu El-Haj posits Israeli archaeologists, professional and amateur, are not merely digging for knowledge and objects, but for the reassurance of roots, which they find in the ancient Israelite remains scattered throughout the country.

The first generation of Israeli archaeologists dug in search of Israelites, an "ethnic group" that presumably entered Palestine in the transition from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age. The primary question of archaeological importance after the founding of the state and, in particular, to be answered by the major work and excavations of the 1950s concerned the character of the ancient Israelite conquest of the land of Canaan. It was by that issue that the field would long be dominated by converging disciplines, which supported the holy Zionist folklore.

Left: The archaeological garden of the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. Archaeology has proven to be a potent force in Israeli society.

Abu El-Haj goes on to point out that:

The quest for "facts" and the epistemological commitments that underwrote that quest illustrate the dynamic relationship between empiricism and nationalism and demonstrate how a commitment to the former gave credible form to the latter, not just in narrative, but, even more powerfully, in material cast.

Archaeological practice would henceforth involve puzzle solving, which continually extended the empirical basis of research; a practice in which key background assumptions, nationalist and nationalizing, were never questioned.

Wherefore, an ongoing practice of settler nationhood founded in archaeology, one that repeatedly reenacted and reinstantiated the "national collective" in empirical form, facts of positive science would emerge as a dependent evidentiary basis upon which excavation itself would henceforth rely and within which the ancient Israelite nation would materialize as evident.

What is it that makes particular historical eras and specific forms of material culture--in this instance, a distinctive class of pottery--Israelite [or Hebrew]?

The answer I suggest, is the confrontation between artifacts as they relate to indigenous sources and this Israeli "cultural enterprise," this need to attach Europe's Jews to Palestine. Albeit, some of the Jews in Israel can trace their lineage to Palestine nevertheless, a strong component of Israeli Jews cannot. Moreover, these eastern Jews were suspicious of Zionism and only found themselves in its bosom as result of Zionist terrorism, false flag operations and other such propagandist scare tactics. Just as this cultural establishment attempts to validate these new Semites it must necessarily devalue the ancient Palestinians.

The contradictory semitic linkages must eventually, be erased from the holyland. Palestinians are therefore faced with a Zionist movement, a phenomenon, a style, a perspective, a philosophy, an enterprise of Jewish acculturation into Palestine.

It is the “politics” of Israeli archaeology, which purports to disseminate "historical facts" as neutral knowledge that have in fact been socially produced and reflective of the power relations of the holyland within which these historical pronouncements are situated. Our acknowledgment that these power relations exist, and our analyses of their effect upon the contemporary conflict may abrogate some of the maladies this historical engineering affects--peace and justice.

Does archaelogy justify Zionism? Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, Torah and tank have been inseparable, resulting in the forced expulsion and subjugation of millions of indigenous Palestinians. In Nur Masalha's book, "The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Palestine- Israel," he traces Zionism‘s evolution from a European secular settler movement in the late 19th century to the messianic faith it has become today. Analysing Zionism’s multiple inventions of tradition, he shows how the Bible and Biblical archaeology have been used by many Christian and Jewish Zionists as ‘title deeds‘ for the land of Palestine, justifying an apartheid system and legitimizing war crimes.

How was this eventful "news" received in Israel? The Haaretz paper features the article "Have Israeli archaeologists found world's oldest Hebrew inscription?" in which is stated:

An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The Haaretz goes on to substantiate the attachment of archaeology to Zionism:

Zionism has traditionally seen archaeology as a way of strengthening and explaining the Jewish claim to Israel, and regarded David's kingdom as the glorious ancestor of the new Jewish state. So finding evidence of his rule has importance beyond its interest to scholars.

The dig is partially funded by Foundation Stone, a Jewish educational organization, which hopes to bring volunteers to work there as a way of teaching them a national and historical lesson.

"When I stand here, I understand that I'm on the front lines of the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines," said Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan, the group's director. "I open my Bible and read about David and Goliath, and I understand that I'm in the Biblical context."

Archaeology, as a social science and as a rhetoric, cannot be an apolitical pastime, even when efforts are made in a monolithic society that is not vying for claim rights. In the same way the past cannot have an independent existence from the present, as there is a kind of “‘infinite sequence of rememorizations’ of bricolage and debricolage” (Chapman et al 1989:6) All these archeological findings which are regularly celebrated by Zionists are like bricks upon bricks in building the house of Israel anew.

Archaeology is the instrument for building national identity, and it grants the right to claim territory," once noted Prof. Ze'ev Herzog, of Tel Aviv University. If most of the Jews were never in Israel and are mostly actual descendants of a people in eastern Europe who converted to Judaism circa the twelfth century then the aphorism absence of evidence may become evidence of existence must march on unassailable with incorrect and biased scholarship -- at the behest of armaments if necessary.

Herzog summarizes the paucity of integrity in the myth making industry that Zionism embodies in an article in the magazine of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, titled Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho," (Ha'aretz Magazine, 29 October 1999: 6-8). In the article, Herzog described how what he calls the "crisis stage" in Israeli archaeology has malignantly, matured. He coined it as nothing less than a scientific revolution [devolution]. It is a process well known to all research scientists familiar with the dynamic of scientific break­through:

“A crisis stage is reached when the theories within the framework of the general thesis are unable to solve an increasingly large number of anomalies. The explanations become ponderous and inelegant, and the pieces do not lock together...

“This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David &: Solomon described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom... (Ha'aretz, 29 October, 1999)”

Consequently, even if the ancestors of these people walked the sands of what is now Israel, the myths of Zionism would still be false. Point of the matter is, we must not overlook that despite the fact that the myths are false the state of Israel remains and rests on a certain and verifiable fortress of unparalleled military power in the region. The munitions therefore, make European Jews semites and invoke into reality their insistence of existence in Palestine thousands of years before the Palestinians ever existed.

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