Terrorists Lay Waste to ME Antiquities

Destruction of antiquities and ancient artifacts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has received considerable news media attention. Not so for other acts meant to erase the history of pre-Islamic peoples.

A Lexis-Nexis search shows that from July to September 2015, 13 editorials and articles appeared in The Washington Post alone on the threat to and eventual destruction by ISIS of one notable ancient site: the ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria. Yet, ISIS is far from alone when it comes to defacing and destroying evidence of ancient, non-Islamic civilizations.

Just as the al-Qaeda breakaway and now larger terrorist movement seeks to destroy antiquities that reflect a time before Islam (in Islamic terminology the Jahiliyyah or “age of ignorance”) and the Taliban dynamited the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan in 2001, Palestinian Arabs have sought to erase evidence of the existence of the Jews on the land of Israel (eretz Yisrael) that predates any Arab or Muslim presence.

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