JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THOMAS FRIEDMAN TALKS OF HIS “ANCESTRAL HOMELAND” – AND HE DOESN’T MEAN MINNESOTA WHERE HE WAS BORN – THE SLIPPERY IDEA OF ISRAEL AS AN ANCESTRAL HOMELAND – FUN WITH SOME OF FRIEDMAN’S PAST QUIRKY WRITING AS A PENTAGON PR AGENT   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY YOSSI GURVITZ IN MONDOWEISS

 

“Tom Friedman’s belief in an ‘ancestral homeland’ is a toxic myth and not history”

 

Yes, and there’s a whole lot more that could be said.

The Ashkenazi – who make up most of Israel’s population and the bulk of early Zionist writers and, indeed, provide the very model for what most Americans think of as being Jewish – are simply a Germanic people, a European people, not a Middle Eastern people.

What’s Middle Eastern about Deli food? It’s Germanic and Eastern European. And what’s Middle eastern about the attire of ultra-Orthodox Jews? It’s from rural 18th or 19th century Eastern Europe.

The native language is Yiddish, a derivative of German. Hebrew is adopted and related to religious study, just as many non-Arabic Muslims study Arabic to be able to read the Koran in the original.

An historic period saw Jews, at least some, become evangelistic – perhaps envying the immense success of Christians who, after all, started as a small Jewish sect – and saw Jewish religious colonies founded in a number of places, as in Africa and in the Caucasus. Later, there was undoubtedly movement and travel among these diverse places, with the search for suitable mates in a relatively small population playing a role.

There likely are, then, bits of the Hebrew people’s DNA in many of the Ashkenazi, but that doesn’t make them the Hebrew people.

The Ashkenazi share the Hebrews’ religion, although even that is vastly changed from 2,000 years ago.

The Palestinians are almost certainly the nearest we have to the direct descendants of the Hebrews. And what a bitter irony that is. Of course, two thousand years of history and intermarriage and conquests have changed their culture and religion.

The Roman did not remove local populations from their conquests. They expected people to keep farming and working and paying taxes to Rome. And those great record-keepers left no record of having done so to the Hebrews. Rome typically didn’t even interfere in local religious practices. The entire story of wandering Jews kicked out of the Holy land is just that, a story, perhaps another way to bind a distinct modern people to the ancients whose religion they practice. It has no more historical validity than Noah’s ark or Jonah and the whale.

In any event, nothing could be more of an invitation for trouble than basing modern national boundaries and identities on ancient texts. If, for example, the Greeks were to do that, they would claim part of Turkey, where ancient Troy was defeated and sacked 3,000 years ago. And there are innumerable such cases in the world offering possibilities for endless conflict.

Apart from his focus on Israel, Friedman in his writing is one of America’s greatest living apologists for the Pentagon and the use of American military power, an association which goes to my often-stated view of modern Israel being an American colony in the Middle East, a very special kind of colony, but a colony nonetheless. As for Friedman’s absurdities over the years, and there have been a great many, readers might enjoy:

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/the-dumbest-story-ever-written/

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/thomas-friedmans-life-as-a-pet-hamster/

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/thomas-friedman-spokesman-for-enlightenment/

 

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