When European colonists settled on Turtle Island, which is today referred to as the Americas, they did not find centuries-old copies of Shakespeare, nor the King James Christian Bible. Neither did these settler-colonialists find Greek and Roman artifacts. They did not find Christian crucifixes, Mediterranean mosaics or copies of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Why do you think that is?
Anyone and everyone understands that the reason they did not find such things, on their settler-colonial enterprises, is simple: because Europeans are not Indigenous to Turtle Island.
As Europeans are not Indigenous to Turtle Island, we should not expect to find such artifacts or manuscripts.
Now fast forward to the 19th and 20th centuries, when Jewish refugees, expelled from antisemitic Christian and Islamicate lands, began returning to the Ancient Land of Judea, the Land of Israel, to rejoin existing Jewish communities, which had remained established there all along.
Contrary to popular misconceptions and even deliberate antisemitic propaganda designed for the purposes of cultural and historic erasure of our Indigenous Judean roots, the Jewish community did not begin in Modern Era Syria Palestina (the name the Ottomans called this region under their control, before British Mandate Palestine). It did not even begin with the ending of the Christian Crusades. Rather, Jewish communities have been part of the landscape of this region, now so dogmatically termed “Palestine” by those who prefer this Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Yisrael.”
“Palestine” Is Greek For “Israel”
Linguist Martin Noth argues that the name likely comes from a proto-Semitic word, and that there is a strong similarity between Palaistine and palaistes, the Greek word for “wrestler, rival, adversary.” This, of course has the same etymological meaning as the Hebrew word “Yisrael.”
It should further be noted that there is no word for Philistia found in the sparse archeological evidences unearthed of the Philistine language. It would thus seem a fair assessment that the name, as employed in the Hebrew, Egyptian, and Assyrian, derived from a common source, evidenced in the Greek meaning.
Most scholars agree that the Philistines were of Greek origin. This view is based upon the fact that archaeologists found similarities in the strata dated to the Philistine time-period in the coastal plains and in adjacent areas. These archeological evidences of material culture have led the vast majority of scholars to conclude that the Ancient Palestinians – that is “Philistines” – came from Crete and the rest of the Aegean Islands and modern-day Greece, suggesting common origins.
Thus, naturally, the Greek meaning of this name seems the most likely original etymology. With that in mind, the Greek term was nothing other than their rendering for the Land of Israel, as it is etymologically explained in Sefer Berashit, the Book of Genesis in the Torah.
Now in the Land of Israel, what do you suppose we have found in strata matching historical records of our ancestors there?
We find ancient manuscripts written in Hebrew, the language which only the Jewish people, and none other, have preserved and liturgically (and otherwise) used in an unbroken tradition and lineage for thousands of years. We find the same language spoken today in the State of Israel: Hebrew.
The sources we have found tell of the same teachings, rituals, religious beliefs and prophets, as well as corroborating the histories of our people, which we have preserved in the Diaspora (Galut) and within our communities which never left our ancestral home to begin with.
Why would this be?
Because the Jewish people, all over the world, are ancestrally indigenous to the region which was called Syria Palestina by the Ottoman Caliphate, who formerly controlled it, and Palestine by the British (and originally, by the Romans). Palestine, as we have seen, is merely the Greek rendering of “to wrestle,” just the same as in the Torah’s etymology of the word Yisrael (Berashit/Genesis 32:29). In other words, “Palestine” or “Philistine” is simply the Greek way to say “Israel.”
The Ill-Informed Settler-Colonialism Narrative
Possibly the most history-revising talking point of online antisemitic propaganda is that Jewish presence in the historical land of Eretz Yisrael Hashlamah, is that Jews returning to our ancestral homeland are “settle-colonialists.”
Settler colonialism occurs when colonizers invade and occupy territory to permanently replace the existing society with the society of the colonizers. On the surface, this would seem to potentially fit the bill in the Israel-Palestine conflicts. But what is a colonizer? If we are to accept this definition of settler-colonialism, we must first define what colonialism is.
Settler-colonialism is a form of exogenous domination typically organized or supported by a foreign – that is non-Indigenous – imperial authority. Settler colonialism contrasts with exploitation colonialism, which entails an economic policy of conquering territory to exploit its population as cheap or free labor and its natural resources as raw material. In this way, settler colonialism lasts indefinitely, except in the rare event of complete evacuation or settler decolonization. Writing in the 1990s, Patrick Wolfe theorized settler colonialism as a structure (rather than an event) premised on the elimination rather than exploitation of the native population, thus distinguishing it from classical colonialism.
Today, there are 1,957,270 Israeli Arabs of Palestinian Druze, Muslim and Christian backgrounds. This Palestinian population has increased, rather than having been replaced. As such, even if our Indigenous Judean roots were ignored – as antisemites are wont to do – the statistics simply do not fit the definition of “settler-colonialism.” As such, the continued use of this phrase is nothing more than propagandistic, dismissive cultural erasure of Jewish ancestral identity. It is hyperbolic, and clearly ill-fitting.
Make no mistake: those who massacre non-combatants for returning to their ancestral indigenous homes are the settlers – in this case descendants of the Arab Caliphate, mixed with those they forcibly converted and thus raped through non-consenting “marriage” – NOT the Jewish descendants of Ancient Judeans. This isn’t rocket science… unless you hate Jews and are only for decolonization when it comes to everyone but the Jewish People returning to our ancestral home.
If you wish to live in peace with us, in our ancestral land, which both the Torah and Qur’an say was assigned to us, that we must never turn away from willingly, and must always strive to return to (5:20-21), then al-hamdulillah, barukh Ha’Shem. The Torah speaks of such Noachide “Gerei Toshav” which Muhammad called “Muslimin“, and tells of such examples as the City of Giv’on, which did not xenophobically challenge our return, and thus did not face any defensive violence from us.
Can You Be A “Settler-Colonialist” In Your Own Ancestral Land?
All of this brings us to the underlying implicit question of whether or not it is possible for Jews to be in the region of our Levantine ancestors, without being settler-colonists? Or is there a statute of limitations on how long those of us directly-forced and coercively-forced into exile, diaspora, galut have before returning to the Jewish communities which never left the area?
Did our time run out? If so, what was the year in which it ran out?
Moreover, if the Descendants of Arab Colonialism and Imperialism Are “Indigenous” to Palestine, then so too must European Americans be “Indigenous” to North America, since they have been on the continent for centuries now. Does this mean that since it’s been centuries, Europeans are now Indigenous Native Americans?
Obviously, this is a patently absurd assertion. So why do we accept such a claim when it comes to Arab Settler-Colonialism and the descendants of the “Arabization” of the Middle East and Africa.
Isn’t it convenient that we have this term “Arabization” in academia, to refer to what would otherwise, in reference to any other culture, be termed “Imperialism,” “Colonialism” or “Settler-Colonialism”?
The remaining Jews in Israel are still either all ancestrally INDIGENOUS to Ancient Israel, or they are rare fractions of a percent who converted – that is “immigrated” – to Yahadut. Their immigration to the Land of Israel would be akin to a Muslim convert wanting to move to Mecca. Should Muslim converts not be permitted in Mecca the way Jews are currently not?
“‘Come let us REASON together!’ Says Ha’Shem!” (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1:18)
- American Jewry
- Arab Jews
- Ashkenazic Jews
- Black-Jewish Relations
- Christian Zionism
- Ethiopian Jewry
- European Jewry
- Gaza Border
- Gaza Disengagement
- Gaza Rocket Attacks
- Gaza Strip
- Iranian Jews
- Israel At War
- Jewish history
- Jewish Identity
- Jewish Refugees
- Jewish-Arab violence
- My Judaism
- Religious Zionism Party
- World Zionist Congress
- Zionist Youth Movements
- ZOA Zionist Organization of America