An old book, written by one George Jones, claims to prove the American “Indians” were originally Phoenicians and Israelites, and that the Apostle St. Thomas had Christianized the land. (The History of Ancient America, by George Jones. Third Edition. London: Longman, Brown, etc., 1843)
George Jones, apparently an Englishman (based on his book’s dedication to “His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury”), yet acknowledging himself to be a U.S. citizen, wrote his book circa 1843. It seems unlikely he could have been aligned with the then-fledgling Mormon Church, but this is not definitely known by me. Yet Jones perceived “Hebrew analogies” amongst the Native Americans. (I myself do not credit the belief that the American Aborigines originated with the “Lost 10 Tribes” of Israel.)
What is now the nation of Israel was once divided into two parts: Israel to the north and Judah to the south. “In c. 732 BC, the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III sacked Damascus and Israel, annexing Aramea and territory of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh in Gilead including the desert outposts of Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. People from these tribes including the Reubenite leader, were taken captive and resettled in the region of the Khabur River system in Assyria/Mesopotamia.” (“Ten Lost Tribes”, Wikipedia, September 21, 2012) Notice these people were not put on boats to depart for parts unknown.
Anita S. Dole, author of Bible Study Notes, largely concurs with the Wikipedia summary: “In the early years of Hezekiah’s reign in Judah, Israel was conquered by the king of Assyria, and all its people were carried away to lands in the east.” (Dole, Anita S. Bible Study Notes, Vol. 3. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press, 2001)
Those “Lost Tribes” never came back. “The king of Assyria sent in people from the east to take their places. Their descendants were the Samaritans of the Gospel story, still despised as foreigners by the Jews even after five hundred years.” (Anita S. Dole, op. cit.)
A worthwhile article in The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine offers an intriguing theory on what became of the Lost Tribes of Israel. These exiled people migrated to the area of the Caspian Sea. There, they were known as the Parthians, a name which means “exiles.” From the Caspian area, the Persians forced the “Parthians” (Lost Tribes) to flee northwest, into Europe. Britain (B’rith-ain) is essentially today one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, according to Trumpet magazine. (“Why Most People Don’t Understand Bible Prophecy,” by Gerald Flurry. The Philadelphia Trumpet, Oct./Nov., 2012)
Jesus, notices The Philadelphia Trumpet, had great hopes for the Lost Tribes. He told the Apostles to “Go not into the way of the Gentiles” but “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10: 5-6) Again, in Matthew 15, verse 24, Jesus says, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Of course, opinions no doubt differ as to the meaning, but the Trumpet magazine interprets Jesus as referring to the actual Lost Tribes of Israel.
The Phoenicians were not Jews, per se. “Their origin is probably Semitic though some references trace them back to as far away as India about 10,000 BC.” (“The Phoenicians were probably Semitic — neither Europeans nor Africans”) As the dominant sea traders of the ancient Mediterranean, the Phoenicians interacted with many nations. Among those nations were the Hebrews. Mixing with various cultures, the Phoenicians took a smorgasbord approach to the different beliefs. This would explain how Phoenicians in America could later be mistaken for Jews: they had acquired a potpourri of beliefs.