We invite the president of the Palestinian Authority to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
This is the same Mr. Abbas who denies that the Jews have any historical connection to Palestine — that the ancient Holy Temple was a myth, and so is archaeology, in his view.
Let Mr. Abbas move from exhibit to exhibit, one more detailed than the next; one from a certain period in antiquity and another from another period in antiquity; one from this part of the ancient land of Israel and one from that part of the ancient land of Israel; one showing scrolls and another showing artifacts; one with items discovered by Arabs, another with items discovered by Israelis, and still another with items discovered by non-Jewish archaeologists; one discovered by archaeologists in the Middle East, another discovered by archaeologists from around the world.
Yet, according to Mr. Abbas, all the archaeologists, in all their diversity, are frauds. All the evidence, in all of its diversity, is meaningless. The whole idea of evaluating history by standards of evidence is foreign.
A piece of advice — an invitation, really. Let Mr. Abbas move through these exhibits at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. They are overwhelming in their verification of the ancient Israelite, Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Denying that is like denying the nose on one’s face. That is how obvious the proof of the ancient Judean presence in ancient Israel is — as if the obvious needed proof. But apparently it does for Mr. Abbas; and equally apparently, it does not make a difference. All the more reason for Mr. Abbas to take it all in. It’s a great exhibit.
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit is at the heart of the polemics in the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Face the facts. Face the truth. It is the framework within which all of the debates and conflicts and wars occur. The ancient — and sustained — presence of the Israelites and Jews and Judaism and Jewish houses and synagogues and temples and Jewish pottery and utensils and ritual baths motivate and justify the return of the Jewish people to its ancient homeland.
This return predated the Holocaust. It stemmed from allegiance to history, to the Hebrew Bible and, as this exhibit amply shows, to history. The longer Mr. Abbas denies this, the more distant is peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr. Abbas, meet the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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