Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ah, The Troublemakers

Orwellian speak in The Chronicle Review, Volume 54, Issue 33, April 25, 2008, Page B15 :

Digging for Trouble
The politics of archaeology in East Jerusalem

Who are they?

Yigal Bronner and Neve Gordon. Yigal Bronner teaches in the department of South Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. Neve Gordon is a senior lecturer in politics at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. His book Israel's Occupation will be published in November by the University of California Press.

And what do they clainm?

"Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession," Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist, said in a recent telephone interview with us [Bronner & Gordon]. He was referring to the way archaeology is being used in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in the oldest part of Jerusalem, where, we believe, archaeological digs are being carried out as part of a concerted campaign to expel Palestinians from their ancestral home.

That effort is orchestrated by an Israeli settler organization called Elad, a name formed from Hebrew letters that stand for "to the City of David."...

...Silwan's residents have begun a campaign, "Citizens for Silwan," to stop the excavations. They are joined by a number of noted international scholars and a handful of Israeli academics, who are trying to help them remain in their homes. Among those involved are David A. Bell, dean of faculty and professor of the humanities at the Johns Hopkins University; Judith Butler, professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley; Lorraine Daston, director of Berlin's Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Natalie Zemon Davis, professor of history emerita at Princeton University; Rashid Khalidi, professor of Arab studies at Columbia University; Thomas W. Laqueur, professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley; Sheldon Pollock, professor of Sanskrit and Indian studies at Columbia University; Marshall Sahlins, professor of anthropology and social sciences emeritus at the University of Chicago; and Robert A. Schneider, professor of history at Indiana University at Bloomington and editor of The American Historical Review. We joined David Shulman, professor of South Asian studies, and Yaron Ezrahi, professor of political science, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as Israeli signatories. Notably absent from the list are prominent Israeli archaeologists, many of whom depend on funds from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Gee, I wonder why?

Well, let's see how they interpret archeology and history:-

...While archaeology's mission is to study the history of peoples by excavating and analyzing their material culture, inscriptions, and other remains, it has often been deployed in the service of nationalism. In Israel, for example, it has typically been used to underscore the Jewish and biblical past of the land to differentiate Zionism from more-traditional colonial ventures. Zionism, after all, has always portrayed itself as a return to the original Jewish homeland and not as a conquest of foreign lands.

According to the Old Testament, King David established Jerusalem as his capital, but the Jews were later conquered and expelled. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War four decades ago, and ever since Israeli archaeologists have been trying (unsuccessfully) to produce proof of David's presence in that area.

That is so stupid a claim that I wonder why they still hold academic degrees and positions.


Anonymous said...

Israeli archaeologists only need to describe what they find. They are not obligated to prove the Jewish heritage in Israel, or justify Zionism. Do Arab archaeologists need to prove that Mohamed ascended from Al Aqsa mosque? Do Christian archaeologists need to prove that Jesus was really born in Bethlehem? This attack on Israeli archaeologists is yet another thinly veiled example of mainstream anti-semitism.

YMedad said...

How can Arab archaeologists prove Muhammed's ascent to heaven? Even if it happened (and it didn't happen in Jerusalem), what could be left behind (yes, I know there's supposedly a footprint on the Sakhra but you don't believe that, do you?) but David and the remains of the Temples and the Jewish presence in Jerusalem we definitelty can record and prove which means that the silly Arab claim to have been the descendents of the Hittites and Jebusites to prove they pre-dated the Jews here is plain silly. Now, you wouldn't want to be silly, would you?