DNA Points to the Philistines’ European Origins

Historians have long supposed that the Philistines—the perennial enemies of the Israelites in the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel—came to Canaan’s Mediterranean coast via the sea from various hypothetical points of origin. Thanks to a recent study of Philistine DNA, strong evidence now suggests that those proposing a departure point in southern Europe were correct. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

In [a recent scientific article], an interdisciplinary team of scholars from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon proves that, coinciding with the arrival of the Philistines in Ashkelon in the 12th century BCE, there was an influx of southern European genetic material into the local population. DNA analysis was completed on samples from three periods within the Bronze and Iron ages (approximately 3,600–2,800 years ago) from remains of Canaanites and early and late Philistines, which were taken from three sites: a Philistine cemetery discovered in 2016, graves discovered in the 1990s, and infant burials uncovered under Philistine homes.

The Philistines’ ancestors, said Daniel Master, [the head archaeologist involved in the study], left their southern Mediterranean homelands during a time of flux: it was the [putative] period of the Trojan War; with the collapse of the “heroic empires” in the 13th and 12th centuries BCE, these Philistine migrants sought a new life in a new land. They primarily settled in five cities—Ashkelon, Gaza, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron—along or close to the southern coast of modern Israel. “They are survivors who set up a new life for themselves, which lasted for six centuries,” said Master.

With the new DNA study, researchers are getting ever closer to pinpointing the Philistines’ exact origins, but require more ancient DNA samples from the Aegean to provide a precise location. Cautious not to overreach from the study’s general impressions, Master said that there are “better matches from Crete,” emphasizing that until there are more samples available, “at the moment we cannot prove the specific location whence they came.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hebrew Bible, Philistines

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media