Historian admits idea of a 'Jewish People' was invented ... and he's alive to talk about it!
Book refuting Jewish taboo on Israel’s bestseller list
Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent
October 06. 2008 10:38PM UAE
Idea of a Jewish people invented, says historian
No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel's bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel's biggest taboo.
Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.
An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial.
In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country's conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.
The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world. A French edition, launched last month, is selling so fast that it has already had three print runs.
Translations are under way into a dozen languages, including Arabic and English. But he predicted a rough ride from the pro-Israel lobby when the book is launched by his English publisher, Verso, in the United States next year.
In contrast, he said Israelis had been, if not exactly supportive, at least curious about his argument. Tom Segev, one of the country's leading journalists, has called the book "fascinating and challenging."