I was asked on Facebook, “What is your response to many Jews and Christians who believe the Bible makes it clear that the land belongs to the Jews?” Here’s is my (slightly edited) response:
- The Bible isn’t a history book, and archaeology has not been kind to it. See Spinoza’s and Paine’s critiques, and more recent work by Rabbi Elmer Berger and Shlomo Sand.
- If it is, Joshua committed genocide, which can’t be grounds for legitimate title.
- If it is, God threw the Jews out. Where’s the Messiah?
- Most Jews are the descendants of converts who never set foot there. Judaism, which proselytized widely for nearly a thousand years, from the later centuries BCE to well into the Common Era, is a religious community and does not represent one people in a genetic sense. Jews have many ethnicities, races, cultures, nationalities, languages, foods, etc.
- The Palestinians, as Ben-Gurion and others argued at one time, are the descendants of people who have lived in Palestine continuously from time immemorial. These Palestinians have included Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
None of these points are original with me (they are well-documented most recently by Shlomo Sand), and all this is discussed in my forthcoming book, Coming to Palestine.