The late, great archeologist,  Prof. Hanan Eshel. Joe Zias tried to get him fired.

The late, great archeologist, Prof. Hanan Eshel. Joe Zias tried to get him fired.

I’ve been contending with a number of colleagues against the present mind-numbing environment in Biblical archeology, where a group of pseudo-scholars have managed to bully many, many creative thinkers into stone-cold silence.

My goal is to draw a clear line between legitimate criticism and libel. The intellectual inquisition must stop. To this end, I have sued Joe Zias, former employee of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who has repeatedly defamed me in various forums.

Today’s front-page article in the Times of Israel by veteran Canadian journalist, Michael Posner, is an eye opener. It portrays Zias as a serial defamer who has attempted to sully the careers of some of the greatest academics of our age, including the late legendary archeologist Hanan Eshel. After the Times of Israel article, it’s hard to imagine anyone left in Zias’ “camp” except, of course, people like anti-Israel pastor, Jim West and Bob Cargill, who calls himself an academic while commenting on my Kippa (skullcap) and urging his followers to beat me up (“metaphorically”, of course).

No more bullying. Zias, West, Cargill and the like are no longer the flavour of the day. As for the rest of us, we will continue to debate the facts of Biblical archeology in an atmosphere of journalistic and academic freedom.