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Fantasized homeland: Review of Shlomo Sand's new book

A review of Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Land of Israel” and other musings on religious Zionism.

“After the people was exiled from its land by force of arms, it kept faith with it in all the lands of its diaspora, and never ceased from praying and hoping to return to its land and renewing in it its political sovereignty.”  Among the many falsehoods contained in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, this must be the most baseless, yet you can hardly describe the core of Zionism without it. After dedicating his earlier book, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” to debunking the notion that there is a Jewish nation, and the lie that it was “exiled from its land by force,” Sand now turns attention in his new book, “The Invention of the Land of Israel” – to the second part of that sentence.

[whine] I’ll begin with a technical remark. Israeli publishers are sadly behind the times when it comes to digital books. Reading a book on the Kindle is a completely different experience than reading the dead tree edition: you can mark the text and keep it for future reference without damaging the book itself; you can easily copy relevant parts and quote them; and you can write remarks as you read, and read them later. I’ve been using a Kindle for two years now, and every time I have to crack open a codex I feel like I’ve been kicked back to the 19th century. Yet there is no proper Hebrew e-reader. [/whine]

Whines aside, this is a much better book than the first one; that book was published by the highbrow (read: poseur) Resling publishing house, and was accordingly tongue-tied and heavy on jargon. This one was published by a popular publisher – Kineret, Zmora Bitan – and now we see Sans at his prime, his writing much better and clearer than in “The Invention of the Jewish People.” Sand knows how to tell a tale and leaves the reader gripping for more.

The heart of Sand’s thesis is the intentional confusion in Zionism between the Halachic – Jewish law – concept of Eretz Israel (“The Land of Israel”, EI) and the concept of a place which is under Jewish sovereignty, and yearning for such a place. “Eretz Israel” is, originally, a Talmudic concept – not a biblical one – which delineates it as a territory that imposes extra religious obligations on Jews living in it, which Jews living outside of it are unburdened of. Talmudic legend grants EI various mystical qualities (wisdom, beauty and other nonsense which could only be written by people who haven’t lived here), but does not refer to EI as the “homeland ” of the Jews, and neither does it require them to live in it.

Judaism is of no homeland. It is a religious movement which can exist anywhere, whose last territorial anchors were cut down with the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. Were contemporary Judaism what Zionism later made it out to be – a people living in their homeland – it would have suffered a terrible shock. And while many were horrified by the destruction, and while a few haunting mourning poems were written in Greek or Aramaic, Judaism survived the destruction of the Temple amazingly well.

Most of the Jews in the world at the time – Sand quotes Philo of Alexandria on the issue – did not consider either Jerusalem or Judea their homeland, which is quite natural as they were not born there; and they didn’t think of EI at all. They made pilgrimage – or, rather, sent envoys on pilgrimages on their behalf, and sent their contributions with them – but they never saw it as a political center. When Judea erupted into insurrection in 66 and again in 132, it received no support worth mentioning from the rest of the Jews. The Sadducee priesthood class lost all its power, but the Pharisees prepared the ground well: every Jewish community already had its “minor temple,” the synagogue.

Under threat. Shlomo Sand. (Photo: Yossi Gurvitz)

Under threat. Shlomo Sand. (Photo: Yossi Gurvitz)

Pharisee Judaism, which would in time morph into rabbinical Judaism, made a shady deal with their Roman overlords after the destruction of the Temple: they would lead the people with Roman support, and a descendent of Hillel the Old would serve as patriarch (Nasi, in Hebrew) until 415. The rabbis kept their part of the deal: they did their best to tame Jewish nationalism. They turned the messiah, formerly just a successful warrior king – king because of being a successful warrior – into a being of marvel, super-human and inhuman, so as to avoid the misfortune of ever seeing one. The messiah, after all, is supposed to return the world back to what it was before the rise of the rabbis: a temple, sacrifices, and gleefully smirking priests back in their station. Can’t have that.

As part of this process of taming, the rabbis came up with the Three Vows, which forbade Jews from massively emigrating to EI, forbade them from rebelling against the nations of the world (it’s worth noting the rabbis, servitors of the emperors, gave divine sanction to their rule), and the third vow is directed at the nations: “That they should not enslave Israel too much.” Rabbinical Judaism left EI behind. Sand quotes some later rabbis who opposed emigrating to EI since the Halachic demands on those living in it are very high, and failure to meet them would make the land impure.

Thus, while hordes of Christian pilgrims flooded the country, the number of Jewish pilgrims coming to see the land which they supposedly ” never ceased from praying and hoping to return to” was miniscule. The noted Hebrew writer Boaz Evron’s book “Ha’Heshbon Ha’Leumi” seems to breathe life into every page of Sand’s book. Evron used to quote A. B. Yehoshua, who wrote in despair that, judging by medieval and early modern travel books, Jews seem to have made every effort to avoid EI; they often travelled around it.

Until nationalism came around, and Eastern European nationalism was possibly the worst. Intolerant and often murderous, its arrival sent a large number of Jews – always a convenient scapegoat – away. Millions of the Jews of Eastern Europe fled to the Americas, mostly to the US. A significant number of the remaining either joined or formed socialist or communist movements, and many became ultra-Orthodox, rejecting modernism in all its forms. A small minority formed the Zionist movement.

The rabbis have, as a rule, rejected it and persecuted it with fury, both Orthodox and Reform. The first because they saw how Zionism twists Judaism into a nationalist heresy which greatly resembled the nationalist movements of Eastern Europe. This was no accident: Zionism and anti-Semitism were, and to a large extent still are, mirror images of each other, both accepting the axiom that Jews have no place in Europe and that they must be “returned to their homeland.”

This baseless concept – most Jews living today have nothing to do with the Jews living in Palestine in the Roman era as those have long ago converted – is what made Reform Judaism an enemy of Zionism. Taking a page from Philo, the Reform rabbis stated Jews were loyal to their actual homeland. And by returning to Philo’s formulation, Reform is much more authentic than Zionism, which as Sand describes, turned EI into an ancient Hungary or Poland, as envisioned by the respective nationalist movements.

I recommend the book – presumably there will be an English edition – particularly for people whose understanding of Jewish history derives from Zionist sources. The nationalist brainwash did not begin with Gideon Sa’ar: as Sand notes, the very word “hellenizer”, or Mityaven, is Zionist in origin. Our main sources for the Hasmonean period, the Makabim books, do not mention the term: they speak only of “sinners” and “breakers of the covenant.” In order to turn the religious sinner into a national sinner, Zionism had to come up with terms which the people of the time would have found meaningless.

Sand further notes an inconvenient fact: once “Eretz Israel” became a Zionist weapon, it cannot contain itself with Israel’s current borders. Our religious nationalists would commit a sin if they would agree to give up God’s promise, which would force them to reach from the Nile to the Euphrates.  This is the historical logic of taking EI out of the narrow borders of Jewish law and into the wild, borderless plain of religious nationalism.

Sand’s last chapter deals with a forbidden subject, the Nakba, on whose memorial the original version of this post was written. He examines it through the history of the village of Sheikh Munis (where Tel Aviv University is now located), and shows how its inhabitants were forced into exile through no fault of their own. It is important, then, to read the book today, at a time when the goons in Herzl shirts and MK Michael Ben Ari sing “He’venu Nakba Aleichem” (“We have brought a Nakba upon you)”, showing again how thin the border between the denial of an atrocity and its justification is; when the police prevent the activists of Zochrot from leaving their own building; and when Sand himself receives a death threat, in the form of white powder in the mail.

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    1. aristeides

      This is a far more important issue than that of Sand’s previous book, as it addresses the historically verifiable lies that underlie Zionism’s exile theology.

      Reply to Comment
    2. caden

      This all became an intersting academic debate when the einzatzgruppen rolled. And that’s all it is.

      Reply to Comment
    3. CigarButNoNice

      The world according to +972 Mag:
      Non-Jewish Palestinian nation: An ancient reality, even though no mainstream publication before 1960s mentions it. Jewish nation: A recent fiction, despite all the historical record.
      How do I get out of the rabbit-hole?

      Reply to Comment
    4. CigarButNoNice

      Quote: “Judaism is of no homeland. It is a religious movement which can exist anywhere, whose last territorial anchors were cut down with the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD.”
      Yeah. Ignore all the passages in the Orthodox prayer-book that say otherwise. Ignore the halachic ruling of the Chazon Ish (famous Charedi anti-Zionist rabbi of last century) that a Jew living in Eretz Yisrael (the physical Eretz Yisrael, yes) is not permitted to leave except for marriage, trade deals or saving oneself from persecution by the gentiles. Ignore it all, because who need facts when there’s revisionist propaganda to maintain?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kolumn9

      @Cigar, the readers of 973mag is the audience that Shlomo Sand writes for. I believe that the general notion here is that Judaism is dreck except where we can find pieces that support the bashing of Israel. According to 972mag, Judaism is the religion of those who must eternally be damned to suffering and should take pride in the bestowed mission. Modern Orthodox Judaism and Religious Zionist Judaism are thus not real Judaism, as that label is only bestowed on the groups that still think they have a covenant with the nations of the world that theologically allows and legitimates the oppression of Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    6. CigarButNoNice

      @Kolumn9: How the pendulum swings! There was once a time anti-Semites had “Jews go back to Palestine!” as their rallying-cry. Now it’s “Jews get out of Palestine!” Between those two sorts, it looks like they share the idea that the Jew must forever be a Wandering Jew. You got that just right: the view of Jews and Judaism here is a curiously Christian one.

      Reply to Comment
    7. XYZ

      It is amazing how somehow who claims to have studied in Yeshiva High School could write such nonsense as this. Didn’t you ever open a TANACH (Bible)?
      On the night the UN voted to partition Palestine and give the Jews the ability to create a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, the famous Ameican newscaster Lowell Thomas, a non-Jew, stated in his news broadcast something to the effect that “millions of people around the world will be opening their Bibles to see the fulfillment of the prophecies there”. Thomas and the millions of others and those who made the Balfour Declaration were all damned fools who didn’t know a thing and only Sand, Gurvitz and some Yevseksia Communists know the real truth. Such arrogance!
      This kind of stuff discredits 972, in my humble opinion.

      Reply to Comment
    8. XYZ

      Yes, Jews and Judaism survived exile “remarkably well” according to Gurvitz, if we ignore all the pogroms, inquisitions, Yevseksias, Holocasts, forced conversions and all those other wonderful exilic experiences.
      As Orwell wrote in “1984” (he knew the radical Left very well):

      Reply to Comment
    9. I understand that Yossi is pissed of at Zionism. But that is no reason to exaggerate.

      First, Sands earlier book, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” did not “debunk the notion that there is a Jewish nation.” it merely claims that it is a cultural construct (as are all modern nations.) This is hardly shocking to any modern student of history or sociology. And it wouldn’t have shocked most 19th or early 20th century secular Zionist leaders either. They were actively constructing that nation, and they acknowledged it often. The point in fact was to “create a nation like any other.”

      Sands other claim, that Jews are not genetically pure and that most of us can not trace our DNA back to Avraham “Avinu” (a fact that even Maimonides understood), was one that most early modern secular Zionist leaders also understood quite well. Sands pet theory in that book (one that has a grain of truth, but whose significance he exaggerates in the view of most Jewish history scholars) – that modern Jews are mostly descendants of the Khazars – was also a favourite theory of Itzhak Ben Zvi, the second President of Israel. Sands claim, that modern day Palestinians are likely descendants of ancient Jews, was also not controversial. David Ben Gurion believed that, and – pre WWI at least – believe that the Palestineans would therefore eventually welcome us Jews, there long lost cousins, back to EI.

      So really, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” should have shocked no one. The fact that it did, only shows how far Revisionist Zionism and the religious Zionism of Rav Kook, as well as ignorance and just good old fashioned jingoism have taken over Jewish consiousness.

      As for the new book, I can only comment on this review. And I hope the book is not as simplistic as the review implies.

      To say that rabbinic Judaism eschewed entirely the dream of Jewish sovereignty is to (a) assume a unanimity that never existed, (b) to ignore the Bar Kochba revolt – which did have significant(though not unanimous) rabbinic backing (c) to ignore the many referenced to Jewish sovereignty built into the classic Jewish liturgy developed by the rabbis and expanded upon through the centuries.

      This is not to say that historically Jews thought that they would regain sovereignty in EI by practical / political means. They did not. They were waiting for the Messiah. But that does not negate the longing for or emotional/mythic connection to EI. Jews with last names like Mandelbaum or Boxerbaum did not get them from the local European flora. The early Zionist understood this fully and tried to move that emotional connection from the realm of longing to the realm of practical and political action. This was the Zionist revolution – to make the dream seem practical and doable and not (solely?) in the hands of God. They would not have succeeded if there had not been the underlying historic emotional/mythic connection. Herzl tried to have the Zionist movement accept Uganda – and failed precisely because there was a pre-existing attachment to EI in the psyche of the Jewish masses.

      The fact that, historically, the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in EI had been tied to the coming of the Messiah – when everything on earth would be WONDERFUL – only aided the early Zionists in their work. Each Jew understood the messianic era as he saw fit, and imagined the renewed Jewish homeland as the fulfillment of not only (or even primarily) his national dreams, but more importantly of his social/religious/ideological ones as well. For the religious Zionists (ala R Kook) this meant ultimately the the re-establishment of the Temple. For the socialists, social democrats and Marxists it would be the fulfillment of their egalitarian visions.

      It is true that before the 19th century there was no Jewish nationalism. But then there was not much nationalism of any sort before then. It is also true that the early Zionists stoked and used and turned the historic Jewish emotional / mythic connection with EI for their own purposes. But they did not invent it. To claim that would be a bridge too far, and I hope that is not what Sand is actually claiming in his new book.

      I do intend to read it when it comes out in English and I thank Yossi for bringing it to my attention.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Kolumn9

      @Cigar, alas, it is a very Jewish view of Jews. Jews who when told ‘Jews, you don’t belong here’ said ‘no, I like it here, and if I just accept my suffering in silence, can I please stay? Look, I am a socialist, a monarchist, a communist. I am just like you, so we are all good, right?” Jews who sought to convert and assimilate while treating their brethren with contempt. Jews who suffered in silence and sought safety in the imaginary three vows made with the gentiles. It is amazing how often Jews take the position that the problems facing them are an internal issue, to be remedied by throwing themselves into a common struggle under a banner of liberalism, socialism, communism, only to find that the world is just simply a brutal, cruel place which inevitably goes through convulsions, during which their former ideological allies turn against them regardless of how committed and devoted they were to ‘the cause’.

      Reply to Comment
    11. XZY

      I fail to even understand what the purpose of Sand’s exercise in writing this stuff is. Does he think he is going to convince millions of Jews and Christians to change their minds?
      Suppose I could convince Gurvitz and Sand that they were wrong about the historical record. Would they change their political views? Of course not. So why waste their time?
      I have a better idea to make peace. Let’s convince the one billion Muslims that their religion isn’t true. Then it will be easier to convince them to give up their claim to Palestine. Makes about as much sense.

      Reply to Comment
    12. XYZ

      For those of you who object to Sand’s fanatasies…take comfort from this:
      After 70 years of brutal effort to stamp out Jewish identity and belief in the USSR, with the enthusiastic support of their Jewish Yevseksia collaborators, they completely failed in their mission, and today, 1 million Jews from the old USSR have come to Israel and and are living Jewish lives again. So does Sand stand a chance to change anything?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Orwell was talking about WW2-era Britain, which was hardly ‘radical Left’. Specifically, he was talking about his own experiences as editor of the BBC’s Indian Service.

      This line in Yossi’s review seems odd: “By returning to Philo’s formulation, Reform is much more authentic than Zionism.” Philo died in the year 50 c.e., twenty years before Titus sacked Jerusalem. So his views on Judaism and the Land of Israel can hardly be called uncontested in his own day.

      Reply to Comment
    14. XYZ

      Orwell was talking about the USSR and other Communists….he knew them well from his time fighting on the side of the Trotskyite Party (I think it was called POUM) allied with the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      What the reactionaries here are omitting is the fact that the Judaism they revere as so authentic is a product of the Diaspora they condemn. Sand’s point is sound: Judaism as practiced today is a product of the Diaspora.

      It was the Jews of Canaan who were always doing evil in the sight of the Lord and being driven out of the place.

      Reply to Comment
    16. CigarButNoNice

      @Aristeides: “the Judaism they revere as so authentic is a product of the Diaspora”
      Partly so, partly not. A lot of the Talmud goes back to Jewish Palestinian existence.
      “It was the Jews of Canaan who were always doing evil in the sight of the Lord”
      In worshiping strange deities, mainly, and also in corruption. This is far removed from saying the Jews today are interlopers in Israel. Food for thought: Joshua driving out the Canaanites was *not* among the things evil in the sight of the Lord. Not to imply anything for today, but this clearly shows the Biblical, traditional Jewish point of view on the rights to the land are a tad different from modern ones. Don’t look for the Bible for support of anti-Zionism, it just isn’t there.

      Reply to Comment
    17. I hope there will be an English translation soon. Those “united by a common error about their ancestry” clearly need another one, since not much has changed unfortunately. But, after all, it took the Catholic Church centuries to accept that a geocentric universe is just wishful thinking.
      Debunking myths that lead to narrow minded nationalism should be encouraged, in Israel as much as in other parts of the world.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Jack

      I like this contradicting passage:

      “It is amazing how somehow who claims to have studied in Yeshiva High School could write such nonsense as this. Didn’t you ever open a TANACH (Bible)?”

      Someone who study scientifically will obviously base his claims on facts and not religious belief. It tells us something that the Bible is alleged, your prime source.
      Today world is runned by international law grounded in secularism and consensus, both vehemently rejected by Israel.

      Another false claim is:

      “On the night the UN voted to partition Palestine and give the Jews the ability to create a Jewish state ”

      1. The partition was generated as a proposal.
      2. The proposal was offered by the UN G. Assembly.
      3. Proposals from UNGA is non binding, the state have no legal claim whatsoever. The goal was also total settlement over the whole of the area like today. So your arguments is flawed in atleast 2 ways.

      Reply to Comment
    19. CigarButNoNice

      @Engelbert: “Debunking myths that lead to narrow minded nationalism should be encouraged”
      Debunking myths that lead to narrow-minded Communist pipe-dreams, even more.

      Reply to Comment
    20. XYZ

      Here is Gurvitz’s quote:
      “Judaism is of no homeland”.
      Anyone with a slight knowledge of Judaism knows that is a totally false statement.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Kolumn9

      @XYZ, I always find it interesting to be told that real Judaism, like diaspora Reform Judaism in this case, is the one that has theologically chosen to gradually disappear.

      Reply to Comment
    22. I was saying this stuff back in the 70s back when I was an undergrad and developing my own special concentration in Eastern European and Jewish Studies. The ideas were not new back in the 70s, but the propagandists on the Harvard faculty gave me so much grief that I switched to math, engineering, and the sciences.

      Reply to Comment
    23. The nation-state as we know it is a relatively modern concept, so it’s illogical to try and superimpose it retroactively on the Bible. Feeling a spiritual affinity with a place and holding it to be your homeland are not the same as wanting to turn it into a political entity with an ethno-religious base. It is not a stark choice between being a political Zionist and denying the centrality of the Holy Land within Jewish spirituality. Some Jewish anti-Zionists would argue that such nationalism debases the connection with the land.
      Now we have a situation where political Zionism (a nineteenth century phenomenon) is being used as some sort of extra halachic criterion for determining Jewishness – if you’re not on board with it, you’re guilty of eroding Jewish identity or some such thing. The real erosion of identity lies in such a reductive view of a religious tradition that has often prided itself on the plurality of views it fosters.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Kolumn9

      @Vicky, really, if you read the article that you are posting on you might notice that the author is explicitly excluding the centrality of the Holy Land from Jewish spirituality. If you are going to attack someone for a reductive view of a pluralistic religious tradition, it should be the author.

      Reply to Comment
    25. The article argues that historically the land did not have the significance and the role that is accorded to it by modern political Zionism. Nowhere does it say that it has no place at all within the Jewish tradition. The line ‘Judaism is of no homeland’ made me think immediately of Heinrich Heine, who once picked up a Bible and said, “This is my portable homeland.” If you take that view, the land takes on symbolic and poetic value, but it’s not necessarily a place to live and it certainly doesn’t demand that you set up a state there. I am not even trying to say that any view is better or worse, only to point out that other views do exist within Judaism, predating political Zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    26. caden

      And let me reiterate. This intra Jewish argument was made moot at Babi Yar, Treblinka, and a thousand other places in Europe and the middle east.

      Reply to Comment
    27. And let me reiterate. This intra Jewish argument was made moot at Babi Yar, Treblinka, and a thousand other places in Europe and the middle east.

      How so?

      Reply to Comment
    28. XYZ

      I think you can answer Caden’s question yourself. Why did you grandparents or whichever ancestors of yours come to Israel in the first place?

      Reply to Comment
    29. XYZ

      Heinrich Heine felt he had to convert to Christianity in order to get ahead in modern, cosmopolitan, multicultural Europe.
      Regarding the Bible, it has other uses. During the Peel Commission hearings in 1937 which, for the first time, recommended partition of Palestine to the British, Ben-Gurion was testifying in front of the Commission and he was asked by what right did the Jews feel they could come to Palestinian. He waved a Bible in front of them and said this gave us the right. So you see, many people viewed the Bible differently than Heine did. That is refers to a specific geographical place. Heine was certainly aware of that, he simply decided to ignore that part of it.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Cortez

      “And let me reiterate. This intra Jewish argument was made moot at Babi Yar, Treblinka, and a thousand other places in Europe and the middle east.”
      This is a completely lie. This was only made in Europe where nationalism and the myth of zionism evolved (or was created) without regard to the conceptions, ideas or experiences of Jews in the Middle East. There are other strands of ideas and not everyone thought or needed a territorial and exclusive nation state in the ME.

      Reply to Comment
    31. XYZ, back up the thread you invoked a particularly well-known cliche from Orwell’s 1984, and said it was about the ‘radical left’. I said: “Orwell was talking about WW2-era Britain, which was hardly ‘radical Left’. Specifically, he was talking about his own experiences as editor of the BBC’s Indian Service.” You replied: “Orwell was talking about the USSR and other Communists. He knew them well from his time fighting on the side of the Trotskyite Party (I think it was called POUM) allied with the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War.” You have a tendency to make remarkably categorical statements about things of which you know nothing except what the newspapers tell you. I suggest you read a biography of Orwell.

      Reply to Comment
    32. XYZ

      I know that Orwell worked for the BBC and how he noted how they used language to distort things, e.g. using the word “pacification” to mean having colonial troops wipe out a native village that had been restless. But how can you categorically state he was NOT talking about Communism in “1984” and “Animal Farm”?
      Are you claiming that his 3 slogans from “1984”
      is talking about British gov’t propaganda and not Communist propaganda?
      (BTW-the Israeli Left used these all the time, especially during Oslo when they claimed that “peace” inherently meant an increase in terrorist attacks, and Shimon Peres’ reiteration of Henry Ford’s statement ‘history is more or less bunk’ when Peres stated that ‘there is no point in studying history, all that matters is what we do for the future’-in fact when Israelis say ‘don’t talk about history’ they mean don’t bring up irrelevant matters).

      Reply to Comment
    33. XYZ

      I might add you do what you claim I am doing when you make categorical statements about Haredim being like Nazis when you completely confuse the “Hardalim” with the Haredim who do not accept each other’s views at all. Your knowledge about Jews and Judaism, although more than some people, is still very lacking.

      Reply to Comment
    34. You’re on the wrong thread with that, XYZ, but since you’ve imported it to this thread, I shall reiterate that I gave specific examples of not only hardalim but kachists using haredi front organisations. I explicitly stated that “you have to disaggregate ‘the haredim’ before you can say anything specific.” So what you are doing here is not only dragging an out-of-context argument from one thread to another, but dishonestly misrepresenting it. You seem so professional in your goebbelsian way that I wonder whether you are paid to spend your time here.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Just to make myself clear: the hardalim seem to me to be people from hassidic (or haredi) communities who are joining the settler movement under the guidance of R Dov Lior, R Haim Drukman, R Shalom Dov Wolpo, and R Yitzchak Ginsburgh, to name only the best-known figures. It would be well worth giving detailed histories of the activities of all these figures, but it is a topic in its own right, and quite hard for a non hebrew reader to research. Perhaps Yossi Gurvitz has given it some study.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Not to mention R Yitzhak Shapira, author of “The King’s Torah” (printed and and distributed by Kahane’s Yeshivat HaRaayon HaYehudi. Shapira, along with Ginzburg, is directly involved in the organisation of Bratslav chassidim to occupy the supposed tomb of Joseph in Shechem (Nablus). This is an especially clear example of the ‘hardal’ phenomenon, and one which has the support, as far as I know, of all Bratslav hassidim, although Ginsburg, like Wolpo, is a Lubavitcher. Sorry to go on so, but the links among all these groups really cry out for continuous detailed study.

      Reply to Comment
    37. BOOZ

      Suffice it to notice to which extent the writing of this Mr Sand are being perused in Europe by Jew haters to conclude I am not going to pay the slightest attention to this book ; not to mention its obvious research flaws.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Jack

      Very mature, very mature…. You havent even read the book and still use slurs as “jew haters” and “obvious research flaws”.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Barry Rosen

      So if Sands dont like Israel, who’se stopping him from moving to Gaza where he can live under Hamastan and Sharia law.
      Better yet, he can move to Syria and live under Assad. Or he can move to Egypt and live under the Moslem Brotherhood who want Egyptians husbands to have sex with their dead wives.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Barry Rosen

      Elder on his website just destroyed all the lies by Sand about this new book.
      Just google, Latest nonsense from Shlomo Sand -“The Land of Israel is a myth”

      Reply to Comment
    41. Barry Rosen

      Sand’s last chapter deals with a forbidden subject, the Nakba, on whose memorial the original version of this post was written.

      The Nakba was the result of the Palestinians together with their Arab allies to perform ethnic cleansing on the Jews and their failure to complete it.

      Every single Jew in the parts of the Mandate seized by the Arabs was expelled from their homes. No exceptions. They even dynamited the entire ancient Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem in an attempt to wipe out the history of Jewish residence there. They also made it illegal for a Jew to live in the areas of the former Mandate that they controlled, including the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.
      850,000 Jews were also forced from the Arab countries.

      After the 5 Arab armies attacked Israel in 48,
      Haj Amin Al Husseini, the racist Nazi collaborator, stated:
      I declare a holy war, my muslim brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!
      The Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha declared “a holy war. He said, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.
      Sands is upset the Arabs couldn’t exterminate the Jews the way they did the Kurds and Black Christians of Sudan

      Reply to Comment
    42. Barry Rosen

      Sands next book will probably be theories on this.

      – An oral history proving the Germans never killed any Jews in Auschwitz.

      – An oral history proving that Lincoln actually shot John Wilkes Booth at that theater.

      – Proof that the Mossad was really behind the attack on the WTC on September 11.

      – Jews are told to kill Arab children for 72 virgins.

      – An oral history that proves that Jews drink the blood of gentile children on Passover after all.
      I bet Haaretz would proudly recommend this book.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Barry Rosen

      Shlomo Sand and his lies rebuked.

      Genetic evidence again links Jews to their ancient tribe, by Judy Simon. Wall Street Journal. Jan 8 ’02

      Genetic evidence continues to provide additional proof to the claims that the Jewish people are descended from a common ancient Israelite father: Despite being separated for over 1,000 years, Sephardi Jews of North African origin are genetically indistinguishable from their brethren from Iraq, according to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

      Genetic evidence continues to provide additional proof to the claims that the Jewish people are descended from a common ancient Israelite father: Despite being separated for over 1,000 years, Sephardi Jews of North African origin are genetically indistinguishable from their brethren from Iraq, according to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

      They also proved that Sephardi Jews are very close genetically to the Jews of Kurdistan, and only slight differences exist between these two groups and Ashkenazi Jews from Europe.

      These conclusions are reached in an article published recently in the
      American Journal of Human Genetics and written by Prof. Ariella Oppenheim of the Hebrew University (HU) and Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem.

      Others involved are German doctoral student Almut Nebel, Dr. Marina Faerman of HU, Dr. Dvora Filon of Hadassah-University Hospital, and other colleagues from Germany and India.

      The researchers conducted blood tests of Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Kurdish Jews and examined their Y chromosomes, which are carried only by males. They then compared them with those of various Arab groups – Palestinians, Beduins, Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese – as well as to non-Arab populations from Transcaucasia – Turks, Armenians and Kurds.

      The study is based on 526 Y chromosomes typed by the Israeli team and
      additional data on 1,321 individuals from 12 populations. The typing of the Jewish groups was performed at the National Genome Center at HU’s Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.

      The Fertile Crescent of the Middle East was one of the few centers in which the transition from hunting-gathering to permanent settlement and agriculture took place. Genetic studies suggest that migrating Neolithic farmers dispersed their technological innovations and domesticated animals from the Middle East towards Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia.

      Studies of Y chromosomes have become powerful tools for the investigation of the genetic history of males, since these chromosomes are transmitted from fathers to sons.

      Surprisingly, the study shows a closer genetic affinity by Jews to the
      non-Jewish, non-Arab populations in the northern part of the Middle East than to Arabs. These findings are consistent with known cultural links that
      existed among populations in the Fertile Crescent in early history, and
      indicate that the Jews are direct descendants of the early Middle Eastern
      core populations, which later divided into distinct ethnic groups speaking
      different languages.

      Previous investigations by the HU researchers suggested a common origin for Jewish and non-Jewish populations living in the Middle East. The current study refines and delineates that connection.

      It is believed that the majority of today’s Jews – not including converts and non-Jews with whom Jews intermarried – descended from the ancient Israelis that lived in the historic Land of Israel until the destruction of the Second Temple and their dispersal into the Diaspora.

      The researchers say that a genetic analysis of the chromosomes of Jews from various countries show that there was practically no genetic intermixing between them and the host populations among which they were scattered during their dispersion – whether in Eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal or North Africa.

      A particularly intriguing case illustrating this is that of the Kurdish Jews,
      said to be the descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel who were exiled in 723 BCE. to the area known today as Kurdistan, located in Northern Iraq, Iran and Eastern Turkey. They continued to live there as a separate entity until their immigration to Israel in the 1950s. The Kurdish Jews of today show a much greater affinity to their fellow Jews elsewhere than to the Kurdish Moslems.

      Reply to Comment
    44. BOOZ

      @Jack :

      I have read Sand’s first book and found it uninteresting . What was characteristic however over here was the acclaim it got from the extreme rightist and leftist loonies and tthe tool it became in the hands of pro Palestinian supremacists ( and of anybody who have foam at, the mouth when the J issue is raised).

      Therefore please give me a break about my “maturity”.

      Reply to Comment
    45. aristeides

      The extreme overreaction from the reactionary set suggests that Sand has really struck a nerve by exposing the sacred lies they rely on.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Jack

      I doubt that you have even read that book, (it was not the first neither.)
      What the other book have to do with this new book is something you are not telling us neither.
      You are ideology is driving you. Therefore you reject authors from the new historians camp.

      Reply to Comment
    47. BOOZ

      How so patronizing of you, Jack.

      Sand’s other book was his first translated to French, and one has to wonder how come except for the fact it was serving certain purposes.

      Besides, you swing accusations in an authentic Vychinsky style. You have absolutely no idea of which sort of “ideology” as you put it, I can carry.

      Therefore, again, give me a break.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Jack

      Besides ignoring my claims, maybe you understand this clear cut question that will inevitable prove me right.
      Do you reject the works of the new historians?

      Reply to Comment
    49. Richard Witty

      Ultimately, there is no people (as what is past is past, and people’s associations is a present-future phenomena), and there is no intrinsic home (for the same reasons).

      For anyone.

      And yet, there are families. Sand’s parents care about him more than they care about me. Sand cares more about his children than he cares about mine.

      And, there are communities that have affinity with each other, for varying reasons.

      There is the claim that the sephardic and ashkenazi and other more isolated diaspora Jewish communities do have a coherent identification.

      Neither the Palestinian nor the Jewish communities are invented. They may be constructed. They may be intentionally molded over time. And, they may have internal conflicts.

      But, there clearly is a cultural identity, however defined, however formed.

      It should be honored, loved, respected internally and by others.

      All is new, even what we think of as never-changing.

      Reply to Comment
    50. BOOZ

      You like simple situations , don’t you, Jack ? You like to be in bad guy/good guy situations ?

      My response is : I reject the agendas of many of them .

      Conclude whatever you like, I don’t care.

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