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May 15 2013

Legislators Declare God Gave Land to Israel

Jonathan Turley notes several resolutions passed in states across the country that contain very specific language declaring that Israel was given its land by God, as recorded in the “oldest recorded deed” — the Bible, of course. Some of the details:

In states from Texas to Oklahoma to Iowa, legislators have introduced resolutions that appear to proclaim Israel as a nation ordained by God. Most recently, the Texas enrolled SR 694 — a resolution introduced by Republican Senator Ken Paxton of McKinney, Texas and entitled “Commending Israel for its relationship with the United States.” It is not the title but the first sentence that is surprising: “WHEREAS, Israel has been granted her lands as recorded in the Old Testament.” That sounds a lot like saying that the nation of Israel is ordained by God and that religious claim is being ratified by the Texas legislature.

The first proclaimed fact in many of these bills introduced across the country is a whooper for those concerns about the wall of separation between church and state: “Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed, as recorded in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and revered by Jews and Christians, alike, as presenting the acts and words of God.”

The oldest recorded deed? Seriously? Someone saying “God said I could have it” is not a “recorded deed,” for crying out loud. This is pure political posturing, of course. It’s done so that those who vote for it can go back to their constituents and say “See, I support Israel.”

30 comments

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  1. 1
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    It’s done so that those who vote for it can go back to their constituents and say “See, I support Israel.”

    And also to embroider their faith on their sleeve. Also for their constituents. It’s like a two-fer dog-whistle.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    Whenever some god gives someone something, some other poor bastard gets some shit!

  3. 3
    Synfandel

    Not an American here, so I may be mistaken, but I thought foreign affairs were under the sole jurisdiction of the federal government. Aren’t state legislators supposed to be spending their time and their taxpayers’ money on other matters?

  4. 4
    Synfandel

    Thank goodness there’s a deed. Now we can see whether the granted land includes the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights.

  5. 5
    justsomeguy

    @3:

    Yes, foreign affairs are entirely within the jurisdiction of the federal government. The US constitution is pretty clear on that one.

    However, symbolic but ultimately useless gestures are very common and popular. Sometimes they manifest like these declarations, where a state “passes a resolution” on one subject or another that is entirely toothless. Other times they’ll pass a law that is illegal under federal law to enforce (like the various state constitutions that decree it necessary for one to be a christian to hold public office) or they’ll throw out a law that either hasn’t been enforced in decades or that has already been annulled by the feds. Part of it is asserting individuality (“We agree with this thing so much that we’ll sign a symbolic document in support of it” or “we’re only doing this because we’re being forced to, and we’re putting that in writing”), and I’m sure part of it is contingency planning, in case something happens at the federal level that would change the rules.

  6. 6
    d.c.wilson

    Synfandel:

    Yes, they are supposed to be spending their time on other matters, but pandering to the fundjelical crowd is a full time job. It’s like pissing on a tree to mark you territory. You can’t do it just once and done. You have to keep asserting it over and over again.

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    How nice that lawmakers are doing the people’s business of creating jobs, improving education and fighting poverty.

  8. 8
    matty1

    A brief google suggests the Bible may not be the oldest recorded land title. This land transfer document from Sumeria apparently dates from between 2600 and 2350 BCE.

  9. 9
    Trebuchet

    God, of course, subsequently changed his mind and gave it to the Romans, Arabs, Turks, and Brits.

  10. 10
    slc1

    Re Trebuchet @ #9

    Before giving it back to the Jews.

  11. 11
    Synfandel

    Before giving it back to the Jews.

    I think that was Lord Balfour.

  12. 12
    anubisprime

    Extraordinary…Seeing as Israel was originally Palestine during the whole of the biblical chronicles and it was the “Balfour Declaration” in 1917 that attempted to define parameters for the land.
    In 1948 Israel officially gained the title as a country and establishment as a Jewish state!

    This was not mentioned in the bible as far as I can determine.

    Seems there are some rather historically ignorant and chronically dumb legislators on the loose!

  13. 13
    Modusoperandi

    Israel’s head is going to be sooo big. They’ll be all “Oooo! Look at us! Oklahoma’s on our side! Nya, nya!”. Now nobody else will get to play on the monkey bars.

  14. 14
    Abdul Alhazred

    FWIW, the government of Israel makes no such claim.

  15. 15
    sqlrob

    Isn’t that Sharia?

    Oh wait, that’s only when the other guys do it. I’m sure Paxton doesn’t have an irony detector or it’s long broken.

  16. 16
    birgerjohansson

    Modusoperandi,
    This reminds me of when Fidji joined the “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq. “We have Fidji on our side! Nothing can go wrong now!”

  17. 17
    birgerjohansson

    Also I recall Denmark sent a …submarine….to that particular conflict.
    What will Oklahoma have to do to top that?

  18. 18
    steve84

    No surprise that these country bumpkins never heard of the Sumerian cuneiform script

  19. 19
    sqlrob

    No surprise that these country bumpkins never heard of the Sumerian cuneiform script

    Of course they have. In Texas, Sumeria is three of the four seasons, duh.

  20. 20
    bmiller

    Gregory in Seattle:

    The Lege IS creating jobs. or at least preserving them. By catering to fundies, they are preserving their place in Austin!

  21. 21
    John Pieret

    a tome of scripture held sacred and revered by Jews and Christians, alike

    Hmmm … Muslims also hold the Bible to be sacred and revere it. I wonder why they left that out?

  22. 22
    Pierce R. Butler

    Trebuchet @ # 9 – not to mention the HIttites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Sea People (aka Philistines*), Macedonians/Greeks, Franks (& fellow Crusaders), French, and the League of Nations.

    The title, as realtors say, has become clouded.

    * Aka Palestinians – remember them, Oklahoma legislators?

  23. 23
    Scr... Archivist

    Would that deed fall under foreign law, or religious law? And if either, wouldn’t it be outside consideration in a state that recognizes neither?

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/02/08/142590/sharia-states/

  24. 24
    Nick Gotts

    This was not mentioned in the bible as far as I can determine. – anubisprime

    According to wikipedia:

    The Bible contains three geographical definitions of the Land of Israel. The first, found in Genesis 15:18-21, seems to define the land that was given to all of the children of Abraham, including Ishmael, Zimran, Jokshan, Midian, etc. It describes a large territory, “from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”, comprising all of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Oman, Yemen, most of Turkey, and all the land east of the Nile river.

    The other definitions are found in Deuteronomy 11:24, Deuteronomy 1:7, Numbers 34:1-15, and Ezekiel 47:13-20. They describe smaller territories

  25. 25
    Marcus Ranum

    God told me that I can have any politician’s car, drug stash, salary, house, spouse, son, or daughter. It’s true.

  26. 26
    gardengnome

    “(My) God said I could have it”. Fixed!

  27. 27
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Okay, but if the Bible contains land deeds, then whoever was doing their conveyancing was CRAP. How do you let four different definitions of the land to which title is being transferred from the deity of the first part to the possibly-modern-day-descendants-of-the-people-who-also-lived-here-a-while-ago-along-with-some-others of the second part stand in your deed? Who’s the land registrar who signed off on this transfer? Was there corruption that resulted in the widely differing descriptions of the deeded land?

    ENQUIRING MINDS, PEOPLE.

  28. 28
    chadfinley

    “In states from Texas to Oklahoma to Iowa”

    My, that’s some diversity you’ve got there.

  29. 29
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    No, we (as in the UK) gave Israel to the Jews, and it was the stupidest fucking thing we ever did.

    “Hey, let’s kick all of the Arabs out of a country they’ve lived in for centuries, give the land to the descendants of the Jews who ran away to Europe, and trust that they can all get along. I’m sure it’ll work out great; and it totes makes up for the fact that we refused to believe that the Holocaust was happening.”

  30. 30
    slc1

    Re thumper1990

    Hey, let’s kick all of the Arabs out of a country they’ve lived in for centuries

    Wrong. Most of the Arabs living in what is now Israel are descendents of Arabs who migrated there in the 19th century when economic development got underway due to the competition between Imperial Germany and Great Britain. Prior to that, it was a backwater of the Ottoman Empire. As for ethnic cleansing, there are currently more then 1 million Arabs living in Israel so it would appear that the Israelis are incompetent ethnic cleansers. This is to be compared with the Arab countries that cleansed nearly all the Jews living there (who had been there a lot linger then the Arabs in Palestine); they were much more competent at ethnic cleansing.

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