Yair Davidiy in his books Origin: You Too Are From Israel and Ephraim: The Gentile Children Of Israel makes the claim that the Anglo-Saxon peoples are the lost ten tribes of Israel. His reasoning differs from Armstrongism, but seeing his views are increasingly popular and have the appearance of academic integrity, we feel we have to make a comment.
We’ve chosen to mainly just analyze his statements that Australians are Israelites. Our concern is particularly with his research process, and it is this which we wish to critique, as what we say in this area could be repeated on every other claim he makes.
Yair repeatedly makes the equation: Australia = “the land of Sinim” of Isaiah 49:12. Stones found in Australia have Phoenician writing on them, he claims, which mentioned “Yahweh”. Source- some unheard of local newspaper ["Maggies Farm"] in rural Queensland, of which we see no mention on the internet at all. The source of primary evidence is thus both obscure, and impossible to verify. There is a rock music radio station in Queensland called "Maggie's Farm" according to the internet, maybe Yair is referring to that. For that to be at all validly researched there would have to be a) dating of the rocks. If Yair had done that, or if someone had done it, well, the reference would be natural to give. There's none b) Evidence the form of Phoenician matches a certain era of Phoenician language in history, to establish the date [as languages are all dynamic]. c) The obvious objection that these are stone monuments of the type Aborigines created all over Australia would have to be deconstructed- e.g. 'Well THESE monuments are SO different to any the Aborigines did'... etc etc. d) Why can nobody show the actual mention of the word “Yahweh” in the inscriptions? If, as Yair claims, Israelites started going to Australia after 600 B.C., isn’t it rather strange that they would use ha shem, the Name, so glibly? And why are the inscriptions supposedly in Phoenician and not Hebrew?
Yair quotes Barry Fell as a specialist who proved that Phoenicians went to Australia. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Fell Fell was no specialist in Australian origins, his supposed work on their history isn't even quoted there in his academic summary, rather he wrote about native Americans, even though actually he was a biologist at Harvard and not an ethnographer at all; but got into serious problems for unprofessional twisting of primary data relating to native American inscriptions, and resigned from academic life- can't Yair find someone more credible to quote?
Yair quotes "Rex Gilroy" as an authority who has a Phoenician inscription in his "museum" in Tamworth NSW . There appears to be no such museum. You can search the net yourself on "Rex Gilroy" and see what sort of 'authority' he is... seems he has a few things in his home he shows visitors. We don't call that a "museum". If you poke around online you can see the inscriptions- and they are typical Aboriginal inscriptions. OK I am not an expert of course on Australian ethnic archaeology, but when serious research debunks the people quoted, and when they are falsely made out to be authoritative, I have a problem. I don't mean 'experts must be right'. Not at all- look how many scientists are utterly wrong re evolution! What I mean is that any claim made must be backed up by verifiable evidence, and when that "evidence" is provided by non-specialists who pose as specialists, and is carefully debunked by people who are specialists... well for me that obviously is significant. It's the process of research, however, which is my concern. If Yair's hermeneutic and research pattern was solid, e.g. serious presentation of sources, not making major but unsupported and unreferenced claims in some areas, considering the obvious counter-arguments before arriving at a conclusion and offering it to others to accept, then the objections of the specialists could be re-worked and re-considered. But Yair simply doesn't do this- he makes wild claims, contradicting a lot of evidence, quoting unverifiable sources or sources which simply lack integrity, and then presents his claims as hard, researched fact. And he presents a map showing Australia as the "land of Sinim"- a map which has absolutely no basis for that identification, because it's produced by Yair himself or his publisher.Of course he tries to cover himself at times- e.g. "According to the Latin Vulgate translation the intention is that they will return "from Australia"... the Hebrews had knowledge of Australia". [pp. 88,89 , Ephraim]. "The intention is..." ? Well the Vulgate speaks of the land of the South, following a Jewish interpretation rather than translation, but every Biblical reference to that phrase is not to Australia but to Egypt. "The intention is... "- well, in Yair's mind, yes, but I am sure the Vulgate translators were not "intending" a reference to Australia when they did it in AD400 [at the latest]. I'm sure they had no clue where Australia is, it would've been unknown to them.
Yair says, in claiming to interpret the Bible and prove Australia is mentioned in it, "One Midrashic source implies..." . Well Jewish Midrash contains interesting stuff, but it's not an authority at all. And we're told "it implies..."? Why not give the quote from the Midrash referred to, so we can decide for ourselves whether it "implies" what he says it does? It's like saying 'A commentary on the Bible I have here on my shelf implies that verse A means B, so, there you are, that is evidence". Sorry, to me there is something basically the matter here.
As to the claim that Isaiah referred to Australia when he spoke of the "land of Sinim". How does Yair know what was in Isaiah's mind. Did Isaiah know of Australia? "Sinim" appears to be a plural of "Sinai", i.e. the area of Mount Sinai. "Sinim" is simply not the Hebrew word for "the south". Anyone with a concordance or basic knowledge of Biblical Hebrew can check that out. Yet Yair claims: "Sinim is an Ancient Hebrew term for Australia". Sorry, it isn't. He gives no evidence for his claim at all. How come every available Hebrew dictionary, concordance, lexicon, doesn't agree? I return to my issue of process. If Yair can make this blanket claim, knowing every authority is against him, well, why would he think that? Where's the evidence? The usual process would be to say: A,B, C etc. deny this- but they're wrong, here's why [evidence presented]. I say this because of that and this evidence [and present your case].
And, quite simply, Australia was the homeland of the Aborigines and not the Anglo Saxons. Even today due to more recent immigration from Asia, far less than 50% of Australians are ethnically Anglo Saxon. Are the Aborigines, then, also ethnic Jews? There seems a huge logical fallacy going on here. The Jews, we're told by Yair, went on expeditions to Australia and knew the place from 600 BC. Strangely, in a culture with such a rich written historical legacy, this was unrecorded by them. But does that therefore make the inhabitants of Australia, Jewish? Over the last few centuries, Australia has been colonized and inhabited by people from about every nation on earth. By reason of living in a country that was allegedly visited by Jews over two millennia ago, does that make those people 'Jewish'? How is ethnicity affected by the visit of Jewish people to a country?
The Root Fallacy
Another difficulty I have with Yair’s process is his constant claims regarding root meanings of Hebrew and other words. Thus: "the name Sambation was understood to be another form of the term Sabbath" (Ephraim p. 100). Understood by whom? Why no reference to back that up? Because two words superficially sound the same is irrelevant. As has been noted elsewhere: "Easy access to Hebrew lexicons lead many Bible students to look up a word, then look at it’s root, and decide that the root is therefore the meaning- especially if it fits in to their idea of what the passage under study should mean! But this isn’t a true way of analyzing language. Words with different meanings can have the same root. Take the words ‘unity’ and ‘uniformity’. Sadly, these two words are confused all too often in Christian churches- e.g., ‘To create unity in the church, everyone must come to the breaking of bread meeting uniformly dressed, all wearing a certain kind of clothing’. No, ‘unity’ and ‘uniformity’ are two quite different things; and yet they come from the same root word, ‘uno’." - http://www.aletheiacollege.net/mm/4-7-A_How_To_Interpret_The_Bible.htm Yair on almost every few pages repeats this root word fallacy- p. 101 has it a few times on the same page.
Yair quotes Bochart's "Sacred geography". Seeing this book is referred to by many writers as evidence that Russia=Gog / Ros, I tried very hard to locate this once, seeing that it was my impression they were just name dropping. Being then a member of the RGS [Royal Geographical Society] I did locate one of the very few originals, in the RGS Library up near Buckingham Palace. It's in Latin, has never been translated to English, and I very much doubt Yair ever got hold of it and read it. The original was so frail they let me open a few pages and read them [with my limited Latin] but only under their watchful eye lest I damage the original. So to me, that's just name dropping to reference it- and he gives the date of the edition as 1692, published in Frankfurt. I am almost certain he never read that original edition. He'd be hard put to get his hands on one! And, sorry, but the edition published in Frankfurt was in 1674- http://www.smitskamp.nl/644-RAR.htm. If all these conclusions are rooted in well researched solid fact, then why resort to name dropping? That he's name dropping is again shown when he states that the word "Scotti", used by the Scots in the UK, is from a Hebrew word. And he references Bochart for reference [Ephraim p. 101, note 20]. When we turn to page 111 to see note 20, we read simply "Bochartus". OK, what page? If he had really gotten hold of that book and read it in Latin, then he'd have made so much effort for sure he'd give the page number! Of course it happens you read an old, hard to access author quoted in a more modern one. As Yair ought to know, the way to proceed is to say "Bochart, as quoted in [author, title, publisher, date, page]". Why the lack of transparency?