Mideast Narratives Done In By CamelsFebruary 14, 2014 0:01 by Pesach Benson
Is it time to shut down the Zionist project?
A pair of professors from Tel Aviv U. did some carbon dating of the Mideast’s oldest camel bones. The study (pdf format) was picked up by the NY Times, and from there, National Geographic, Time, and others.
Why the interest?
The researchers , Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, say their findings disprove the earliest Biblical accounts of camels, claiming that camels weren’t domesticated in the Mideast until centuries after the camel-riding Patriarchs.
I don’t know anything about carbon dating or the history of dromedary domestication. But I do know that one reaction by Israel’s critics (expressed by The Guardian‘s Andrew Brown) was predictable.
Let’s just cut to his conclusion:
The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.
I’m still wiping Brown’s oozing condescension off my computer.
Interesting that only the Zionist narrative takes a hit here, because the Bible also forms the basis of Christian and Muslim belief. Christians trace the ancestry of Jesus to the Patriarchs through Judah. Arabs trace their ancestry back to the Patriarchs through Ishmael. And Palestinians (at least some of them) have recently adopted Canaanite, and even pre-Canaanite, heritage.
From where do they all know all this ancestry?
And why do you think The Guardian only questions the credibility of the Zionist narrative?