(9) The role of biblical scholarship in ethnic cleansing

Is the discipline of biblical studies complicit in the appropriation of Palestinian land and the expulsion and dispossession of its inhabitants? Why did a ‘modern nationalist movement’ decide to use the bible as a ‘history book’ and derive its tenets from it, and how did it do it? Although the founding fathers of the Zionist movement were secular Jews, Israel has moved to the far right and fundamentalist religious parties sit in the Knesset.  In Israel today, any attempt to question the historicity of the bible is perceived as an attempt to undermine not only Jewish nationalism, but  the State of Israel itself, which they believe is a continuation and renewal of the  ancient  "kingdom of Israel".  This paper will look at where religious and secular Zionists met in their use of the Hebrew bible and will reveal the links between Zionist myth making, Zionist settler colonialism, and territorial expansion.

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