The Black Hebrew Israelite Movement has gained significant attention in recent years due to its distinctive beliefs and practices.
This movement asserts that African Americans and other people of African descent are the true descendants of the Ancient Israelites. While the movement’s members passionately advocate for their beliefs, it is crucial to critically examine the historical claims they make.
In particular, the association of the Black Hebrew Israelites with Bernal’s Afro-Asiatic model of the origins of civilization, highlighting the misinterpretation of historical evidence and the erroneous link between the Canaanites and Hebrews because they both belonged to an Afro-Asiatic identity.
Afro-Asiatic as a Linguistic Category Not Ethnic Identity
Martin Bernal, in his work “Black Athena,” proposed the Afro-Asiatic model, suggesting that ancient civilizations, including those of Greece, originated from African cultures. This theory challenges the prevailing Eurocentric narratives of history.
One crucial point of contention in the Black Hebrew Israelite narrative is the connection between the Canaanites and the Hebrews.
The Canaanites were indeed a significant population in the Levant, which encompasses modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and parts of Jordan and Syria.
Afro-Asiatic is a linguistic category that encompasses a group of languages spoken primarily in regions of Africa and Western Asia.
It is important to note that Afro-Asiatic is a classification of languages and not an ethnic group. In the same way, Indo-European is also a linguistic classification and not an actual ethnic group.
The term “Afro-Asiatic” is thus used to describe a language family that includes several major branches such as Semitic (which includes Arabic and Hebrew), Berber, Cushitic, Chadic, and Omotic. These branches encompass languages spoken by diverse populations across a wide geographical area
However, although the use of the term “Afro-Asiatic” recognizes the historical and linguistic connections among these languages, suggesting that they share a common ancestor, it does not imply a single ethnic or cultural identity.
As such, the speakers of Afro-Asiatic languages belong to various ethnic groups with their own distinct identities, histories, and cultures.
Similarly, Indo-European is a linguistic category that encompasses a large group of languages spoken in Europe, South Asia, and other parts of the world. It includes languages such as English, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, and many others.
Like Afro-Asiatic, Indo-European does not represent a specific ethnic group but rather a linguistic classification that connects various languages.
In summary, both Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European are linguistic classifications that group together languages based on historical and linguistic similarities. They do not reflect any particular ethnic group or single cultural identity.
The Black Pharaohs and the Assyrian Invasion
A historical episode often cited by the Black Hebrew Israelites in support of the argument that the Israelites of the Bible were Black Hebrews is the account of Taharqa, a ruler from the 25th Dynasty Black Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt, assisting Judah against the Assyrians, as mentioned in the Book of Kings.
However, Tarhaqa’s intervention in the Levant can also be seen as a means of defending Egypt’s long-established sovereignty in the Levant at the time.
As such, the Black Hebrew Israelites mistakenly claim Tarhaqa’s assistance of migrants from Kemet in the Levant as an episode in which Black Hebrews from the nation of Israel were assisted by the Black Pharaohs of Kemet.
However, it is important to note that the influence of Ancient Kemet in the Levant does not automatically mean that the Black migrants from Kemet in Canaan were the same people as the Hebrews or Israelites who created Judaism in the Bible.
The Hebrews who founded Judaism were descended from other Semitic peoples of the Levant such as the Amorites.
The Black Hebrew Israelites’ claim of direct descent from the Canaanites, who they associate with the Biblical Hebrews is based on a misinterpretation of History.
The Canaanites of the Bible were Black Africans from Kemet who were displaced by the Semitic Hebrews who founded Judaism by borrowing some of the principles from Kemetic Spirituality in the conception of their own new Supreme Deity El also known as Yahweh.
In this respect, the concept of Afro-Asiatic is misleading because it creates the impression that Hebrews may have been Black since they formed part of the Afro-Asiatic peoples of Canaan where the worship of El/Yahweh was established.
However, Afro-Asiatic is merely a linguistic designation and does not denote ethnicity.
In reality the Hebrews or Israelites were descended from the Semitic peoples of the Levant such as the Amorites, and they severed their ties with the Black Africans of Canaan from Kemet when they developed their own new Religion of Judaism which was influenced by the earlier and much older Kemetic Spirituality in concept and form as shown by the Primordial Hebrew Deities Baal and Asherah who were both based on Kemetic Gods.