Not so innocent: Israel, genocide, and the myth of the “chosen people”
Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska and attending Temple Baptist Church, I grew up with the same beliefs that many Evangelical Christians hold towards Israel: Israel is the promised land of the descendants of Abraham. When I read in the books of Joshua and Judges about the legendary conquest of Palestine by the Hebrews after their 40 years wandering in the wilderness, no one seemed to even notice that these military campaigns of conquest amounted to GENOCIDE where civilians, including and especially women and children, were put to the sword so the Hebrews could come in and take their land. This was GOD’S WILL and therefore it was okay. If God wants it, the killing is moral and just, right?
In my 20 years in the Church, no one ever questioned this doctrine. No one ever said “hey, wait, these are war crimes.” Instead since it was divinely mandated, it must be right — and historically true, of course.
This sentiment is echoed in temples, both reform and orthodox, especially at Hanukkah and Passover. Israel belongs to the Jews as a right forged in an ancient covenant with God. Jews are the Chosen People.
Being the “Chosen People” of God carries a lot of weight. Being chosen means you are granted a measure of special grace from God, the right to do certain things without consequences. You can kill as you please because God wants you to.
Now before anyone gets in a huff and calls me anti-Jewish, let me be very clear: I love Jewish culture, food, tradition, and especially my many Jewish friends and acquaintances. I lived for over four years in a orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York as not only a gentile, but one of the Old Religion of Britain and Ireland who strives to honour and embrace the British-Irish part of my heritage in my day-t0-day life.
As a historian who often favours being the outsider because of the objectivity this offers me for learning and study, I was able to listen, learn, and observe without the social-psychological chains that often blurs most people’s perspective. I have no agenda except discovering the truth. This is why my writing is so powerful and my books are to be believed. I’m not a slick politician or sales person trying to sell something to you; just an honest researcher looking for truth.
The Bible of course covers ancient history — legendary or literal is a matter of debate. Yet in Christian churches and in many Jewish congregations as well this doctrine that Israel is the God-given promised land of the Hebrews/Jews persists.
This Zionist idea that Israel rightfully belongs to Jews transcends denominational differences and enters the realm of politics. Israel has certain rights to behave in whatever is perceived as its own interests. To gainsay Israel’s decisions is to be anti-Jewish. I am here to say that nothing could be further from the truth.
Last week I found the above video in a facebook feed exploring the modern state of Israel’s history. In it and you discover that Israel is hardly this innocent and moral God-blessed nation who can do no wrong. Far from it. Objectively speaking, the Israelis are guilty of genocide and war crimes such as the West typically condemns when done by any other nation — except Israel.
Indeed anyone from any country who even remotely questions what Israel does is quickly labelled as anti-Jewish, especially politicians. It would seem that to be pro-Jewish means not noticing Israel’s faults — or its war crimes.
I stand here asking you to now question that dogma. Take a step back towards objectivity. When Iraqis do this to its peoples, when Syrians do this in its civil war, when Russia treats a minority group this way, DO WE NOT CALL THEM WAR CRIMES and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
Perhaps it is time to abolish this whole “chosen people” propaganda and instead look at all human beings as humans. No one is expendable. Life is life! Every single human in this world deserves a decent and safe home, clean and nourishing food and water, the best possible education, decent clothing, safety from harm, and the chance to live a satisfying life. Anyone who steals any of these things from anyone else needs to be sanctioned and dealt with. Everyone has the right to live. Everyone.
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