Myth and Memoricide: Shlomo Sand’s “Invention of the Jewish People”

Denise Buonanno's "Le Juif Errant"

This review essay was published at The Drouth.

A nation is “a group of persons united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbours.” Karl Deutsch.

“I don’t think books can change the world, but when the world begins to change, it searches for different books.” Shlomo Sand.

Our Assumptions About Israel

Here is what we in the West, to a varying extent, whether we are religious or not, assume about the Jews and Israel:

The Jews of the world, white, black and brown, are the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses, after leading the Jews out of Egyptian enslavement, gave them laws. Emerging from the desert, the Jews conquered the promised land of Canaan, which became Judea and Israel, later the mighty kingdom of David and Solomon. In 70CE the Romans destroyed the temple at Jerusalem and drove the Jews from their land. A surviving Jewish remnant was expelled when Muslim-Arab conquerors colonised the country in the 7th Century. And so the Jews wandered the earth, the very embodiment of homelessness. But throughout their long exile, against all odds, the Jews kept themselves a pure, unmixed race. Finally they returned, after the Holocaust, to Palestine, “a land without a people for a people without a land.”

This story has been told again and again in our culture. Today we find bits of it in Mark Twain and Leon Uris, in Hollywood’s output and in church pulpits, and of course in the mainstream news media. American Christian Zionists – devotees of the Scofield Bible – swear by it, and swear to support Israel with all the power of their voting block until the Risen Christ declares the apocalypse.

Continue reading “Myth and Memoricide: Shlomo Sand’s “Invention of the Jewish People””

Avi Shlaim and Shlomo Sand in conversation with Jacqueline Rose

Avi Shlaim and Shlomo Sand in conversation with Jacqueline Rose at the Frontline Club (via PIWP).
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Event description:

Few modern conflicts are as attached to history as that of Israel and Palestine. Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford will be in conversation with Shlomo Sand, professor of contemporary history at Tel Aviv University, at the Frontline Club for a seminal evening of discussion. Continue reading “Avi Shlaim and Shlomo Sand in conversation with Jacqueline Rose”

Khalil Bendib interviews Shlomo Sand

(Download Mp3)

Sand Invention-of-the-Jewish-smallFollowing an interview earlier this year, Khalil Bendib once again speaks with Tel Aviv University historian Dr. Shlomo Sand about his brand-new book, The Invention of the Jewish People. The book has become a best seller both in Israel and in France: Did the world’s Jewry truly originate in Palestine, and if not, why does that myth persist to this day?

Sand is currently touring the US: see also an interesting review of Shlomo Sand’s recent NYU lecture by Philip Weiss here.

Continue reading “Khalil Bendib interviews Shlomo Sand”

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