While denying and downplaying Jews' presence in their ancient homeland has long been a mainstay of Arab anti-Israel propaganda, at times this particularly noxious type of delegitimization of the Jewish state also finds a platform in international media coverage.

Curiously, it's precisely media items supposedly about Jewish history that tend to minimize the historical connection between the Jews and their ancient land. 

In 2015, The New York Times, for example, infamously called into question whether the ancient Jewish Temples were located on the Temple Mount ("Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem's Holiest Place"). In fact, serious archeologists agree with the indisputable evidence of the Temple's location at the site, and The Times subsequently published a lengthy editor's note.

In a 2019 feature entitled "Six periods in Jewish history," Agence France Presse unbelievably reported that Jerusalem became a city sacred to Jews during the Muslim conquest in the seventh century. In reality, Jerusalem held a sacred status in Jerusalem for some 1500 years prior to the Muslim conquest, as the media outlet was compelled to correct.

This week, The Times again flunks on the facts regarding Jews in their homeland during antiquity. The Sept. 11 article examines lessons for present-day Israel from "Legend of Destruction," an animated film about the destruction of the Second Temple and the fall of Jerusalem in the Roman conquest against the backdrop of internal disunity ("For a Fractured Israel, a Film Offers Ominous Lessons From Ancient Past").

Leaving aside whether Israelis have absorbed the lessons about the past concerning unity and civil discourse, it's clear that The New York Times has not learned its past lessons. Once again, it mangles the historical record, minimizing the Jewish people's presence in ancient Israel. 

Thus, Isabel Kershner errs:

". . . the Jews enjoyed two previous periods of sovereignty in the land in ancient times, but both lasted only about 70 or 80 years .  . ."

In fact, the Kingdom of Judah was extant for more than 300 years, from the time of the collapse of the United Kingdom of Israel in 922 BCE until the Babylonian conquest in 586 BC. (The United Kingdom lasted for approximately a century, starting around 1020 BCE).
The northern Kingdom of Israel, the other half of what became of the United Kingdom when it fell apart in 922 BCE, lasted for approximately 200 years, until the Neo-Assyrian empire conquest.

Besides these three separate kingdoms of Jewish rule (two of which were contemporaneous), there was also the Hasmonean dynasty, which achieved autonomy from the Seleucides in 147 BCE and independence in in 129 BCE. The Kingdom lasted for some 80 years.

Thus, four Jewish kingdoms pre-dated the modern Jewish state during antiquity, and the longest one lasted more than three centuries, not 80 years. By falsely reporting that the longest Jewish rule in Israel fell in less than 100 years, The Times minimizes the historic Jewish connection to ancient Israel, eroding the legitimacy of the present Jewish state.
# Media Bias # Israel Advocacy # Anti-Semitism # Anti-Zionism
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