“Israel” Got It Wrong

As featured on The Huffington Post:

Today Israel is being held to a higher standard. When it is attacked and has the audacity to defend itself, it is termed ‘genocidal’ by those who are not only quick but also pre-programed to cast the most disingenuous and inflammatory accusations that all too often extend far beyond the parameters of the issues at hand, but drift into the realm of crude anti-Semitism. Running in tandem to the most rancid terminology and vesting them with an element of validation are the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Carter’s use of such freighted terminology as ‘apartheid’ and imbuing the current occupation of Palestinian territories with the grim misnomer as being akin to “colonization” (Please see “Jimmy Carter, John Kerry and Their Best Friends” 4.28.14)

The ongoing drumbeat seeks to put into question Israel’s legitimization, to question the rationale of the Jewish people’s presence in what is today the land of Israel, to cast it as a figment of postwar contrition, created in response to the cruel events and experiences visited on the Jewish people in the 20th Century. What is progressively overlooked are the deep historical links of the Jewish people to what is now viewed as the Jewish presence in the land called ‘Israel.’

Israel is a name understood by all Jews as coupled to their identification. Yet outside the Jewish community its resonance in historic terms is marginal and doesn’t begin to encompass the totality of the Jewish historical ties to the history of the Middle East. The name Judea bespeaks clearly of the Jewish people’s deep ties to the region itself, ranging from the Kingdom of Judah dating from 934 until 586 BCE, and thereafter to its numerous manifestations through the Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods of domination. The Jewish revolt against the Romans in 132-135 CE failed but Judea has always continued deep in the consciousness of the Jewish people and is an especially epochal segment of Middle Eastern history as it is to Jewish history. The land of Israel is not a contemporary phenomenon but rather has ties that run deep into the core history of what we know and understand as the “Middle East.”

The name “Judea” for the nation today known as “Israel” would make these profound and historical ties of the Jewish people to Judea with its storied presence in the history and traditions of the Middle East compellingly clear to all.


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