SIR – Bob Storey is once again incorrect when he claims that ‘Biblical scholars consider Israel of the Bible to be a spiritual Israel and not a physical one.’
The Moabite Stone, or Meshe Stele, which has been dated to around 840BCE, confirms a battle between the ancient Moabites and the ‘house of Omri.’ The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, an Assyrian ruler, refers to ‘Jehu son of Omri.’
Omri is named in 1Kings 16:23 as one of the kings of Israel. Mr Storey may inspect a copy of the Meshe Stele in the Weingreen Museum of Trinity College Dublin if he is unable to visit the original in Paris.
The existence of Hezekiah, king of the southern kingdom of Judah whose capital was Jerusalem, is confirmed by the Annals of Sennacherib, the Assyrian emperor who laid siege to Jerusalem. The siege is recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 18:13-19 and Isaiah 36 and 37.
One of Sennacherib’s prisms, dated to around 690BCE, can be seen at the British Museum in London. Discovered in Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian capital, it confirms significant elements of the Bible record.
The rule of Hezekiah is further confirmed by archaeology in Jerusalem, where seals, inscriptions and the famous Siloam tunnel provide extra-Biblical evidence.
These are just a few examples of well documented, internationally accepted archaeological evidence of ancient Israelite kingdoms.
Mr Storey cites Ilan Pappé as a historian of modern Israel and its supposed sins. Mr Pappé has been described by one of his contemporaries as ‘At best ... one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest.’
Mr Storey’s grasp of both ancient and modern history appears to be unreliable. As for the Frances Black Bill, it is difficult to see what the proposed legislation will do, other than perhaps put Palestinians out of well-paid jobs and most likely cause Israel to remove Ireland from the list of fair peace-brokers.
A fine contribution.