Keith Whitelam on Obama’s Speeches in Israel

Following Remnant of Giants‘ examination of Obama’s opening speech in Israel as buying into Israeli and biblical founding myths, Keith Whitelam comments on what Obama has been saying about Israelis, and what he hasn’t been saying about Palestinians:

Keith Whitelam - Rhythms of Time: Reconnecting Palestine's PastThe references to ‘our ancient homeland’, ‘our ancient capital’, the story of the exodus, ‘the promised land’ or the use of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a title deed to the land in the speeches of Obama, Peres and Netanyahu show why it is so important to challenge this biblical view of history. It is constantly used to justify Israel’s claim to the land and resonates powerful with Israeli, American and western audiences. It is used to deny Palestine’s connection to the past and undermines any claims to the present.

There is no mention in Obama’s speeches to Palestine’s past. The cultural struggle for an alternative history of Palestine that shows how the past is connected to the present is crucial in countering the biblical view of history.

– Keith W. Whitelam, Keith W. Whitelam Facebook page, 22 March 2013

Whitelam is a former biblical studies professor at the University of Sheffield and, most recently, the author of  Rhythms of Time: Reconnecting Palestine’s Past (BenBlackBooks, 2013) – which was reviewed by Remnant of Giants here.

H/t: Jim West, “Keith Whitelam: Right on Obama’s Visit to Israel

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