Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.
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Tel Aviv, January 6 - A resident of the affluent northern section of Israel's commercial and financial center expresses disgust and animosity toward those who disregard what she touts as the objective, clinical, and therefore unimpeachable approach to policy questions such as COVID mitigation, while she ignores more robust evidence undermining her political assumptions regarding her people's origins.
Adi Bar-Lev, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tel Aviv University, rails at colleagues, students, and fellow Israeli citizens who fail to maintain adherence to government and institutional distancing, masking, isolation, and vaccination guidelines, even as a consistent stream of studies has demonstrated the questionable benefit of such guidelines, which were based on flawed modeling and framing. At the same time, Professor Bar-Lev insists Jews have no historical, legal, moral, or other claim to the land on which they have established a state of their own, a position that flies in the face of mountainous genetic, archaeological, documentary, and cultural evidence that Jews emerged as a people in what is now Israel several thousand years ago and have maintained their distinct character despite centuries of exile and dispersion.
"Those who refuse to follow the science, and thus endanger us all, must be shunned, perhaps punished," the academic declared at a faculty meeting this morning. She proceeded to delineate various violations of COVID protocols she had witnessed among university staff, including minimum-wage custodial workers whose lax attitude toward keeping a cloth or disposable mask properly in position over the nose prompted the professor to suggest dismissal. Initial, but soon reversed, and more recently reversed again, input from scientists downplayed the utility of cloth or standard masks. Shifting scientific consensus on masks and other elements of public health policy in the shadow of COVID has not seen Professor Bar-Lev waver from her commitment to a late-2020 moment in that consensus.
By contrast, Bar-Lev waves away firmly-established factors disproving her contention that Jews represent a foreign element in the Arab Middle East, such as haplotypes that Jews whose ancestors spent centuries in Europe share with Jews of Mizrahi heritage and with no one else, haplotypes that point to a Levantine common origin; uninterrupted genealogical and historical documentation tracing Jews everywhere to the land of Israel; ancient artifacts and sites confirming Jewish traditional accounts of Israel as the cradle of the Jewish civilization; and the centrality of the land and Jerusalem in particular in Jewish worship. The professor, who touts the scientific method and the integrity of changing one's view in light of evidence, has given no indication she intends to shift her understanding of reality in light of the robust evidence of Jewish Levantine origins and attachment.