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dtotire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-26-12 08:33 AM
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Author of 'The Invention of the Jewish People' vents again
Author of 'The Invention of the Jewish People' vents again
The concept of homeland is one of the most amazing and most ruinous of the modern era, says Prof. Shlomo Sand.
By Dalia Karpel | May.24, 2012 | 12:34 PM | 6

The concept of homeland is one of the most amazing and also, perhaps, one of the most ruinous of the modern era, says Prof. Shlomo Sand. In his new book, When and How Was the Land of Israel Invented? ‏(Kineret, Zmora-Bitan Dvir, Hebrew‏), Sand examines the attitude of the Zionist movement toward that territory since its inception. More particularly, he is out to discover how Zionism adopted the idea of the historic right to that land, and consolidated an ethos based on the memory of an ancient people whose ancestors were Hebrews who lived in the Kingdom of Judah in the First and Second Temple periods. According to Sand, the Land of Israel was not the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

Zionism plundered the religious term Land of Israel and turned it into a geopolitical term, he says. The Land of Israel is not the homeland of the Jews. It becomes a homeland at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th − only upon the emergence of the Zionist movement.

Sands previous book, The Invention of the Jewish People ‏(Verso, 2009; translated by Yael Lotan‏), stirred a furor. Sand rejected the existence of a Jewish people that was exiled two millennia ago and survived. The majority of the Jews of Eastern Europe, he maintained, are descendants of societies or of individuals who were converted to Judaism on European soil. This concept flagrantly contradicts Israels Declaration of Independence, according to which Eretz-Israel ‏(the Land of Israel, Palestine‏) was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books . Sand argues that for 2,000 years the Jews did not constitute a people and that only religion, belief and culture united them.

It was to be expected that The Invention of the Jewish People would not be greeted in Israel with great acclaim. However, its author admits that he did not imagine the book would fall with the impact of a bomb. The negative reactions have been diverse. Some rejected outright the principal conclusion and the historical facts on which it was based, while others dismissed the research and claimed there was nothing new in the book, that everything was known and accepted, at least by historians. ‏(For a slightly different reason he was also disappointed when the Arabic-language edition of the book was published in Ramallah: Sand was not invited to the book launch, though he was hosted at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem by the institutions president, Prof. Sari Nusseibeh.‏)

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