In an interview for Haaretz.com, with writer Dalia Karpel, Tel Aviv University lecturer and author of the book, The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sands responded to a statement made by Israel’s Minister of Education, Gideon Sa’ar. Sa’ar said:
“We believe with all our hearts that the actualization of the settlement is a return to the land of our forefathers and that this right is intertwined with the Jewish people’s right to national security…the patriarch Abraham and the patriarch Jacob came to Beit El and Hebron about 4000 years ago, long before they were subjects of media interests.”
Sands responded saying:
There is no such thing as national territory that has belonged to the Jewish people since the Biblical period and I prove that in my book. That is a mythic statement which is characteristic of national leaders in the modern history of the past 200 years. The territorial myth has worked well since the start of the 20th century.
Zionism is not the only case. To create nations in the present and with a view to the future “eternal” peoples are created with a view to the past. Seventy years ago, every Frenchman was convinced that he had been a Gaul, just like the Germans in the first half of the last century, who believed they were the descendants of the Teutons. That (sort of perception) generally disappears amid the philosophy and thought and everyday life of the Western Europeans. Here though, it remains implanted within the historical-political consciousness of many Israelis.
Sands is just one of a growing number of historians, archeologists and Biblical scholars who are looking into the Bible for truths that are not so commonly known and that in some instances actually refute what many of us have come to accept as absolute truth about Judaism, Zionism and Israel. Sands mentions in his interview with Harpel, that Professor Israel Knohl, an observant Jew and author of the book, Ha Shem: The Secret Numbers of the Hebrew Bible and the Mystery of the Exodus from Egypt, does not believe the Exodus story as it is portrayed in the Torah. According to Sands, Knohl does not believe that the Exodus from Egypt has “anything to do with reality. “ The exodus is crucial to the Zionist myth of homeland since it was supposedly during this exit from Egypt that God guided the prophet Moses to Canaan and told him to enter and conquer the people and take it as a Jewish homeland.
Other researchers such as Israel Finkelstein and Ze’ev Herzog from Tel Aviv University, Nadav Na’aman and also non Jewish scholars such as Niels Oeters Lemche, Philip Davies, Thomas Thompson along with Sands himself have a new approach to Biblical research. These scholars among others believe that the Bible was written around the 5th century B.C.E. and the third century C.E. According to Sands,” It (the Bible) began to be written after the political intellectual elite were exiled from Judea to Babylon. The books of the Bible were apparently preserved and composed only after many of those who have been in Babylon went to Jerusalem, with the agreement of the Persians. There is no doubt that the talented authors knew the meaning of exile first hand. Sands added, “It resonates like a concrete threat throughout the Torah and the books of the prophets.”
This implies that more than spiritual guidance to mankind, or real history, these researchers believe that the Bible is actually a political treatise, written in coded languages to the masses of people who were under the thumb of hostile rulers. This theory is shared by researchers who studied the Dead Sea scrolls. They found that the scrolls represented a body of political literature that was hidden in the language of an elite religious sect known as the Essenes who may have been planning a Jewish revolution against Rome.
Not only do the modern secular scholars of the world realize that the idea of Jewish homeland and Jewish nationality are foreign to the Jewish religion, the very construction of such ideas are considered heresy by the authentic Jewish religious authorities. This is explained in a discussion on this topic found at the website “Jews not Zionists.” On a page entitled “The role of Zionism in the Holocaust”, we find the following:
It is self-understood that not just anyone has the right or the ability to make a decision regarding the philosophy or law of a religion. Especially matters in which that person has no qualification. It follows then that those individuals who “decided” that Judaism is a nationality are to be ignored and even criticized. It is no secret that the founders of Zionism had never studied Jewish Law nor did they express interest in our holy tradition. They openly defied Rabbinical authority and self-appointed themselves as leaders of the Jewish “nation”. In Jewish history, actions like those have always spelled disaster.
To be a Jew and show open defiance of authority or to introduce “amendment” or “innovation” without first consulting with those officially appointed as Jewish spiritual leaders is the ideal equation to equal catastrophe. One can not just decide to “modernize” ancient traditions or regulations. The spiritual leaders of contemporary Judaism better known as Orthodox rabbis have received ordination to judge and interpret matters pertaining to the Jewish faith. These rabbis have received their rights and responsibilities and form a link in the unbroken chain of the Jewish tradition dating all the way back to Moses who received the Torah from Almighty G-d Himself. It was these very rabbis who, at the time of the formation of the Zionist movement, foresaw the pernicious outcome that was without a doubt lined up.
This statement makes two very important points that cannot be ignored in an exploration of the heretical concepts of Jewish homeland, Jewish people and nationality that led to the Balfour Mandate and the UN partitioning of Palestine to create a Jewish homeland. They are 1). Theodore Herzl, who is credited with being the father of Zionism was a secular Jew with no rabbinical training or background. 2). He had no political, or religious authority to interpret Jewish law, nor did he have the authority to create any new laws or introduce any innovations to Jewish law or tradition such as the creation of a Jewish homeland, or the existence of a Jewish nationality or people.
If Jewish researchers such as Shlomo Sands and others are revealing the truth about the Zionist hoax that led to the establishment of Israel in Palestine and understand the importance of these facts in respect to peace, why is it that Muslim and Arab researchers are not addressing these issues? The liberation of the land is difficult because the hearts and minds of the world must be free from guilt, which is the effects of the century old Zionist myth of an historic Jewish people and homeland in Palestine.