Saturday, October 28, 2023

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History

This history of Palestine focuses on providing historical references to the name "Palestine" and the various cities as a counter to Israeli Zionism. There are bits and pieces of actual history that show up in the process, but they get lost in the anti-Zionism. This book fails as both a history and an anti-Zionism work.

The first part of the book spends an undue amount of time focusing on history of the name "Palestine". There are various sources quoted that record the name Palestine. There are some variants of the name and geography, but it generally refers to the same area. I suppose the author must feel this is important for his argument. Alas, with the different languages and the way languages change over millennia, this seems somewhat irrelevant.

There is discussion of the history of the land. The author sees the Old Testament as a book of legends. He feels much more confident of the mentions in Herodotus. (Alas, his reliability is also questioned.)  Palestine has had a rich history including with various populations and religious traditions through its history. Christians, Muslims and Jews had lived there, with the area under Islamic rule for much of the last Millennium. 

The author criticises many of the Zionist as being Europeans that had no claim to the land. They created a new language (Modern Hebrew) and adopted new names. They pushed out the resident population and changed the names of cities. (The book contains a long catalogue of changed names.) The author sees them all as colonizers that pushed out the mostly rural peasants to create their new kingdom. I just wish the book could have spent more time on history and less on modern counter-arguments. 

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