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The Jewish Exile That Never Was

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By: Gulamhusein Abba

Even more than the oft averred promise by God to the Jewish people, exile is central to the Jewish claim on Palestine. Because they were exiled, they have a right to return. (Incidentally, this is precisely why the Zionists keep denying, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the Palestinians were forced out of their homes and villages by the Zionists during the formation of an Israeli state. If they admit that they were forced out, they would have to admit Palestinians' right to return. But if the Palestinians, as the Zionists insist, left of their own accord, they have no such right!)

The Jewish "exile" claim raises two questions. First: Even if they were exiled, and had a right to return, does that mean they have a right to claim Palestine, or a part of it, as a Jewish state? Second, the more important one: Were they in fact exiled from Palestine?

Research scholars, several of them Jewish and some of them ardent Zionists, have been asserting for quite some time that the claim of exile is a myth propagated by the Zionists.

Dr.Mazin Qunsiyeh, PhD, recently wrote: "archeologists and historians have long shown that this notion of enslavement in Egypt and redemption is simply not consistent with the facts or the historical record."

This is by no means a new or far fetched claim.

Dissertations by Dr. Shlomo Sand and Jeremiah Haber

Dr. Shlomo Sand the author of "Invention of the Jewish People" and an expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, has claimed in his book that "The Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land." most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel."

His earlier book, "When and How Was The Jewish people Invented", has been on Israel's bestseller list for 19 weeks.

Sand annotates what prompted him to write the book: "I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."

The original Jews living in Israel, contrary to the propounded history, were not exiled. Sand argues that most of the Jews were not exiled by the Romans. They were permitted to remain in the country.

Sand suggests that the story of the exile was a myth promoted by early Christians to recruit Jews to the new faith. They portrayed that event as a divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel. Sand writes that "Christians wanted later generations of Jews to believe that their ancestors had been exiled as a punishment from God."

Elaborating further, Sand continues: "The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of 'the people of the Bible' that preceded it."

Jeremiah Haber, an orthodox Zionist and a professor Jewish studies, writing under the nom de plume Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber, was critical of columnists like Charles Krauthammer and Leonard Fein. In the July 29, 2007 issue of the Magnes Zionist, Jeremiah admonished the two columnists for accepting "the myth that the Jews were forcibly expelled from the Land of Israel, and taken into captivity by the Romans."

Jeremiah went on to emphasize: "To this day, most lay people, Jews and non-Jews, accept the myth of the exile, whereas no historian, Jew or non-Jew, takes it seriously." And to further detox the seemingly blind addiction to this myth, he presented two assertions: : "The first point to make is that well before the revolt against Rome in 66-70 c.e., there were Jewish communities outside Palestine, most notably in Babylonia and in Egypt, but elsewhere as well. References to the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the civilized world are found in the book of Esther, Josephus, and Philo. There is no indication that these communities were small, satellite communities.

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I am a journalsit, writer and a justice-and-peace activist. I am also involved in safeguarding and promoting the rights of undocumented immigrants in USA. Originally from Bombay (now Mumbai) I have been residing in USA from 1982. My articles and (more...)
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