Janet Lahr Lewis is a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church serving in the Middle East as liaison between ecumenical groups.
From her biography:
Focusing on advocacy and activism, Janet's responsibilities are numerous. She is the main contact for VIM teams and United Methodist visitors who wish to follow the recommendation of the General Conference to spend a significant amount of time in the area with local Christians, acting to make those connections with UMC partner organizations.
In an essay entitled “Remember al Nakba too” published this week at the United Methodist Website, Janet has written
“Israel has even gone so far as to destroy archaeological artifacts in an effort to wipe out evidence of non-Jewish cultures, except Roman, throughout history in the region.”
This is a grotesque inaccuracy (in an essay full of gross inaccuracies), and is particularly abhorrent in light of Israel’s painstaking and meticulous efforts at protecting and documenting its rich archaeological legacy.
The Archaeological Survey of Israel was established in 1964 with the goal of creating a comprehensive archaeological study of the land . It is one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken in the country and has lead to the creation of an online database which documents over 15,000 archaeological sites.
During the 50th anniversary of the survey
Dr. Ofer Sion, head of the Antiquities Authority Surveys Department, noted the unusual nature of the archeologists’ ongoing work...
“Sometimes the surveyors rappel into ancient caves, or even scuba dive in the sea to gather information,” he said.
“Without the survey we would know nothing about the history of the country.
”Who would know about the famous site at Gamla, the monastic sites, the ancient life in the desert or the hiding refuges and the story of the zealots and rebels in Judean Desert caves?”
Janet is stationed in the region. Could it be possible that she has never gone to the Israel Museum, or to any of the myriad of archaeological sites in Israel?
Could it be possible that she has never picked up a National Geographic to read about the tombs of the early Natufians?
Has she never heard about the magnificent bronzes and ivories of Israel’s Chalcolithic Period?
Hasn’t she picked up a newspaper or read online about the recent discovery of a cache of coins from the period of Alexander the great?
Janet Lahr Lewis writes:
Ironically, there apparently is no written set of standards similar to those in engineering, for example, by which archaeologists can be held accountable.
Whether the issue with Janet Lahr Lewis of the United Methodist Church is one of bias or blindness, the end result is the same- a hateful, inaccurate and dishonorable screed.