Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Jews' Long Claim To Land That Iran Turns a Blind Eye To

Nadene Goldfoot
It's true that when Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE, many Jews were forced into the diaspora; the  neighboring states or countries that allowed them to enter.  Some had to go as far as Europe in order to find refuge in this unilluminated diaspora.   That it was 1,800 years after this expulsion that Jews have returned does amount to a long time, but the fact is that we didn't all leave.

As commanded in the Bible, Jews reenact and remember and retell their history of 400 years of slavery and their exodus from Egypt and their entrance into their Promised Land of Canaan, or Eretz Yisrael with Pesach, or Passover.  It's a time-honored tradition to feel that we were on this trek as well and celebrate it for 8 days, eating matzos, the unleavened bread prepared for their journey back home.  Our history burns in our memory.  We haven't forgotten that which Ahmadinejad denies.  In fact, Passover starts Monday evening.

Iran would like to pretend that we have no claim to the land.  In reality, the Jewish people have kept up ties to this historic land of their for more than 3,700 years.  They have maintained their national distinct language of Hebrew, which only they were speaking.  In the long diaspora they had to become bilingual and picked up the language of their host country.  Those remaining in the Middle East learned to speak Latino while those in Europe spoke Yiddish, but for all Jews, Hebrew was used in reading the Torah.  They have maintained their distinct civilization shaped by their religion.  Now Hebrew is again their spoken language.

When their 2nd Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, Jewish life in Palestine, as it was called by 135 CE, a Roman given name, life continued and often flourished by the remaining Jews.  Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the 9th Century.  In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.

Christian Crusaders came along in the 12th Century and massacred many Jews.  The community rebounded again in the 13th and 14th centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee.  Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed (Tzfat), Jerusalem and other places during the next 300 years. (Read "The Source" by James Mitchener.)

By the early 19th century, years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement, more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.  Beginning in 1870 started the 78 years of nation-building which ended with the reestablishment of the Jewish State.  The land cried for the Jews to return.  For 1,878 years no one did anything with the land.  It lay fallow, turning into desert, swamp, malarial marshes and dust.  Palestine was just a land to trample through on the way to some other place.  Even the landowners moved away to better places except for the communities upheld by the Jews.  Only weeds grew.  It had been in the hands of upteen million Muslim empires but they did nothing with it.

The Israelites were promised the land according to the Bible  which validated their rights.  It was given to them by G-d.  Moses was moved at age 80 to talk to the Pharaoh himself and take the Jewish slaves for a 40 year trek back to Canaan where Joseph and his family had come from after having moved there from Ur, a city that is in today's Iraq.  Canaan had people in it that had become quite despicable, sacrificing their own children and being idol worshippers.    Joshua was the man Moses picked to lead  the Israelites back there again.  They had the task of establishing monotheism;  Judaism.

Jews lived in Persia, today's Iran because of the Babylonian Empire led by Cyrus who invaded Israel in 538 BCE and took away many of 10 of the 12 tribes..  Queen Esther of Persia was married to the King Ahasueros.  Jews wound up living in 127 of the Persian provinces and many lived in Susa, the capital.  The 80,000 Jews of Iran left for Israel and the West under the Khomeini revolution in 1978 and 20,000 remained in 1989.  Where does Ahmedinejad think they came from?  How can he deny the Jewish origins of Israel?

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 gave the Jews a National Homeland, agreed to by all the nations of the world.  The League of Nations gave the mandate to Britain to carry this out.  The UN decided upon a partition resolution in 1947 to create out of the Jewish Homeland 2 states, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews. (They had already taken 80% of the agreed upon Jewish homeland and had given it to Transjordan).   It isn't Israel's fault that the Arabs turned down their opportunity not once but many times since.  Israel was admitted to the UN in 1949 and was created a state through the UN recognition.

And finally, in addressing Ahmadinejad's claims that Jews of today are not descendants of the original Jews who he refuses to say  ever existed anyway, DNA tests have found that Jews have a connection between the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi as well as the Mizrachi Jew but not to the nations of which they had been living in before returning to Israel born again in 1948.  Jews have a record in their DNA of where they have been and who they were and it differs from other groups. It shows we came from Israel.  The special Cohen gene itself, J1, has shown up in 40% of the Jewish men's haplogroup.   Take the test yourself, Ahmadinejad.  Maybe you have some Jewish connection, yourself!

Iran and other Arab states cannot say Israel has no right to exist.  It exists!  It is no different than the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states.  It is a legitimate state.

Resource:  Myths and Facts by Mitchell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb pages 1, 2.

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