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Israel’s Establishment Narrative is Challenged by a Tunisian Historian

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
30th October 2023
Israel’s Establishment Narrative is Challenged by a Tunisian Historian
The Jewish Council in occupied Jerusalem in 1947 (Getty)

Zionism relied on systematic deception to establish the state of Israel on Palestinian lands, through the narration of narratives that have been proven over time to be false.

Tunisian historian and researcher Hayat Amamu, in her discussion about deception in the narrative of the Zionist state's establishment during an intellectual session held on Wednesday, October 25 in the Tunisian capital, points out that the narrative aspects used to establish the Zionist entity emerged through the fusion of religion and nationalism after the diaspora that the Jews experienced in the early 2nd century AD, which was the beginning of Roman rule.

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The Tunisian researcher Hayat Amamu (The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights)

The Roots of Israeli Narratives: Misleading Religious Beliefs

Despite Zionism being a nationalist movement, it relied on narratives in its establishment of the state of Israel that were based on what is found in the Torah. This led Israelis to believe that the Jews received the Torah in Sinai, and that the Jewish people left Egypt and later settled in the Promised Land after the construction of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, which were later divided into the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel.

According to the Tunisian historian, Israelis also believe that the Jewish people experienced two exiles. The first occurred after the destruction of the First Temple in the 6th century BCE, and the second after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, approximately six centuries after the first exile. After the second exile, the Jewish people are believed to have wandered and dispersed for nearly a thousand years, residing in regions ranging from Yemen to Morocco, Spain, Poland, and deep within Russia.

In their narrative, despite this dispersion, these people managed to maintain blood relations among their diverse sects, which were far removed from each other. They consider their unity to have remained unchanged despite the long years of dispersion.

Returning to the "Virgin" Land of Palestine

The Tunisian historian states that "the circumstances were suitable for the return of the scattered Jews to their ancient homeland for settlement because they had dreamed of this return for a thousand years. The Zionist movement established this narrative starting from the second half of the nineteenth century and deepened it further after the 1967 war."

The Zionist movement promoted another narrative, which is that the virgin land of Palestine awaits its original people (the Jews) to return to make it flourish once again because it belongs to them, and it does not belong to the Arab minority (the Palestinians) who have no history and coincidentally arrived in Palestine.

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The first Zionists in the Old City of Jerusalem (Getty)

Building on these narratives and the misleading story, the scattered Jews launch a war to reclaim their land (as they believe it to be), while any resistance by the local population within Palestine is criminalized.

According to Amamu, this achievement can be attributed to prominent storytellers who were dedicated to reconstructing the past since the mid-nineteenth century. They succeeded in inventing a continuous genealogical sequence for the Jewish people through their fertile imagination, which was based on assembling pieces of memory from biblical and Christian traditions. The extensive historiography of Judaism encompasses multiple approaches.

Despite modern discoveries that could have debunked Zionist narratives, they have not gained any acceptance among the Zionists, and the dominant narrative, seen by historians as based on deception, remains unchanged.

Amamu emphasizes that the Zionist national historical narrative has not seen any maturity or development since the establishment of the Zionist entity. However, revisiting the events raises remarkable questions for an impartial historian, such as whether the holy scriptures can be considered as historical texts given that the Zionist narrative is built upon them.

Historical Facts Confronting the Myths of the Zionist Entity 

According to the Tunisian historian, new archaeological discoveries were made in the 1980s that challenged the Torah-based myths that form the foundation of the Zionist entity. These myths contradict the possibility of a major migration in the 8th century BC, and they argue that Prophet Moses did not lead the Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land, as the land was under Egyptian control at the time, meaning that he could not lead them from an Egyptian territory to another.

Researchers also found no traces of a slave revolt in the Pharaonic Empire, and there is no evidence of a rapid invasion of the land of Canaan by an external group. Recent archaeological findings only reveal the existence of two small kingdoms, Israel and Judah, as explained by Amamu.

She adds, "The population of the Kingdom of Judah was not subjected to any exile during the 6th century BC, and it has only been established that the political and intellectual elite settled in Babylon, Iraq, and their interaction with Persian religions laid the foundation for the development of monotheistic Judaism."

Here, the Tunisian historian questions, "Was the Jewish exile of 70 AD, as recounted in the Torah-based narrative that the Zionist entity is founded upon, actually carried out?"

She answers, "Ironically, this influential event in Jewish history, from which the diaspora traces its historical roots, has not been historically confirmed. The Romans did not exile the entire people on the eastern side of the Mediterranean, except for prisoners who were turned into slaves. The inhabitants of Judah continued to live on their land even after the destruction of the second temple. Additionally, a portion of them embraced Christianity from the 4th century AD, and the majority converted to Islam during the Arab conquest in the 7th century AD."

The Tunisian historian continues, "This is what most Zionist thinkers have not overlooked, as David Ben-Gurion continued to write until 1920, during the time of the Great Palestinian Revolution, that the farmers in Palestine, which means its inhabitants at that time, are the descendants of the ancient Judah, and there has been no denial that the Palestinians have been present since the state of Judah existed."

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David Ben-Gurion in 1967 (Getty)

Temporal Narratives and Post-National Ethnography

According to Amamu, hidden behind the curtain of national ethnography lies a remarkable historical reality, because Judaism evolved into an evangelical religion between the Maccabean revolt in the 2nd century BCE and the Bar Kokhba revolt.

She adds that Judaism is an evangelical religion, and thus spread across the world, living in various forms of diaspora. The Samanids, for example, imposed the conversion to Judaism on several surrounding tribes in Judah, contributing to the spread of their faith across the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, and even other areas in East Asia, like Afghanistan.

In this context, the historian emphasizes that the decline of Christianity in the early 4th century AD did not lead to the fading of Judaism but rather pushed it towards the fringes of the Christian world, including Yemen, some parts of Morocco, and the Iberian Peninsula, where the Amazigh and Jews were introduced during the Islamic conquest.

She adds that most of those who converted to Judaism lived between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. During the 8th century AD, the vast Khazar Khaganate emerged in this region. The dispersed Jews from the Caucasus, along with Slavic and Germanic Jews, played a pivotal role in the development of Ashkenazi Jewish culture in Eastern Europe.

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Armed patrols in the streets of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967 (Getty)

These diverse narratives about the origins of Jews introduced a lot of hesitancy into Zionist ethnography up until around 1960, when these alternative stories began to be marginalized and gradually faded from the collective memory of Zionism. After the 1967 war, they started claiming to be the direct descendants of the legendary Kingdom of David, denying their various ethnic affiliations. Their aim in making this claim was to establish a distinct ethnos, leading them to return to Jerusalem, their capital, after two millennia of diaspora and wandering.

Amamu adds, "Those who embrace this linear, indivisible narrative not only promote it in historical education but, since 1970, have also begun to rely on biology. Their scientific research has worked tirelessly to prove the genetic proximity of all Jews worldwide as a new form of deception."

This historical perception forms the basis of the Zionist entity's identity, and this is where the fatal error lies because the Zionist entity insisted on glorifying the central ethnicity of Judaism. This fueled racism that discriminates between Jews and other races and religions, especially Arabs.

Can a History of the Jews Be Written Outside the Framework of Zionism?

Amamu says that writing a new history of the Jews outside the framework of Zionism is not an easy task because Jews have historically lived in the form of religious groups that were often formed through continuous conversion to the religion in various places around the world. Therefore, they do not represent an ethnicity holding the same origins that have remained unchanged, even though they experienced the diaspora for centuries, and this is the misinformation. 

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