Letters to the editor 6/28

Mort Malkin’s Gadfly: Our origins in ancient history

Jews and Palestinians are both Semitic people — originally from the Arabian (not necessarily the Saudi Arabian) desert.

In the fifth to third millennia BCE, the Sumerians migrated from Central Asia to the Mesopotamian Valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers where they became farmers and herders. Between farming and trading, the Sumerians became prosperous and built towns and cities. Some of the nomads from the nearby desert became attracted to the life in the settlements and were welcomed, even as the Semites and the Sumerians exhibited different physiognomies.

The centuries went by—the Sumerian Early Dynastic time from 3,000 BCE to mid-millennium, the Akkad period of empire, the invasion of the barbaric Gutian mountain tribes and dark times, and then the Third Dynasty of Ur resurgence. It was 2,000 BCE, the time that Abraham lived—1,000 years into the Bronze Age. Religion had been polytheistic among the people in all the cities: Shamash, the sun god; Enlil, god of wind and storm; Inanna, goddess of love; Ea, god of sweet water; and a patron god of each city-state. People liked the idea of choice, and they especially liked the stories about the relations between the gods.

At the time of Ur III, God revealed Himself to Abraham (then called Abram) as the one true God and promised a land for his descendants. The story went through Moses and the Ten Commandments, Jesus and the New Testament, the Prophet and Islam. The bottom line is that Abraham was and is the Patriarch of both Jews and Muslims, both having been desert nomads and of Semitic origin.

So why are the Jews and Arabs forever fighting with each other? As Rabih Alaneddine, the Lebanese writer told us, “At the heart of most antagonisms are irreconcilable similarities.”

[This is part of Mort Malkin’s “Gadfly” series of political/social commentary. Malkin is a resident of Milanville, PA]


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