Are the Jews an invented people?

How the Jewish people were invented, from the Bible to Zionism is the provocative title of the most recent book to be published in Israel by Shlomo Sand, a professor at Tel Aviv University (forthcoming in French with Fayard). Sand, one of the “new” historians, attacks what he calls the myth that the Jews are the descendants of the Hebrews, exiled from the kingdom of Judaea. He has attempted to show that the Jews are neither a race nor a nation, but ancient pagans – in the main Berbers from North Africa, Arabs from the south of Arabia, and Turks from the Khazar empire – who converted to Judaism between the fourth and eighth centuries CE. According to Sand, the Palestinians are probably descended from Hebrews who embraced Islam or Christianity.

Sand doesn’t challenge Israel’s right to exist or the notion of its sovereignty, but he thinks that sovereignty is undermined by its exclusively ethnic base, which stems from the racism of Zionist ideologues. In other words, Israel shouldn’t be a Jewish state, but a democratic secular one which belongs to all its citizens.

Quoted in Haaretz on 21 March 2008, Sand was pessimistic about how his work would be received in Israel: “There was a time when anyone who claimed that the Jews had a pagan ancestry was accused on the spot of being an anti-semite. Today, anyone who dares suggest that the Jews have never been and still are not a people or a nation is immediately denounced as an enemy of the state of Israel.”

Sand may be mistaken. A no less challenging work which presents the Torah as in large part a collection of myths and legends, has been well received by the Israeli media and in secular circles.

In their book The Bible Unearthed, two eminent Israeli archaeologists, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, present an argument based on excavations and ancient documents which calls into question long-cherished convictions.

Israeli society may be more receptive to challenging questions than it is given credit for.

Ref: Le Monde, By Eric Rouleau

Also read: death-of-a-myth

and the MUST READ israel-deliberately-forgets-its-history-a-must-read

11 Responses

  1. How and when were the English invented?
    How and when was France invented?
    How and when was Turkey invented?
    How and when were the Chinese invented?
    How and when were the Slavs invented?
    How and when were the Malays invented?
    How and when was Poland invented?

    What is “invented”? With the above as allegories, use of the term “invented” by Prof Sand must have been deliberately provocative. He could have used the normal terms “developed” or “evolved”. Having used the word “invented”, henceforth when he writes about human development of ethnicities such as those mentioned above, he should use the term “invented” to equally offend or entertain those peoples.

    Are all the non-Hebrew literature on Prof Shlomo Sand based on one single Ha-aretz article?

    Has any non-Hebrew commentator read his works in Hebrew before commenting?

  2. Soong, nations are a recent invented imaginary community which creates bodies of nations through nationalism. Look in your nearest libary after Benedict Andersen that will describe that WELL KNOWN perpsective for you. We all know how and when AFRICA was invented and it all started with the white mans greed. I think the word INVENTED points to the drivning forces and process of central importance of SOCIAL CONSTRUTION.

    Ofcourse, there are more reviews of Prof Shlomo Sand but mind you though there is also a will out there to silence these things. Which Prof Shlomo Sand is well aware of.

    How can a non-Hebrew commentator read his work in Hebrew before commenting? Hebrew is a language right and if you are to read something in one language you also need to know it right? Help me out…

    : a

  3. it’s clear, he only wants to sell his book.

  4. Every auther wants to sell her/his book!
    Whateles is new? That´s capitalism for you.

    Some authers also have something to tell. A stroy, facts
    and schemes. This book is surley one of them and the
    fact that he is an israeli jew trying to ADRESS THE TRUTH
    not only admirable but also stresses the importance of the

    It reminds me of that the song “Jerusalem of Gold” is stolen.
    As much of the land of Israel, water, life, future aso…
    Slowly the “glorious” veil is falling of and under it is another
    face of Israel.


    : a

  5. Zionism is Racism! WHAT A LOAD OF CHURCH! Zionism is a late 19th century secular movement which sought to gain international recognition supporting the right to Jewish self determination. Arab and church propaganda aside. Any sane person ie non christian, can recognize smoke for what it is. Zionism does not compare to the KKK and its charter. The Jewish state give equal health care to all its citizens and Arabs like it or not are citizens of the State. Arabs enjoy legal rights can elect their represenatives to the Israeli Parliament and an Arab judge sits upon the Supreme Court. This Zionism is Racism is a load of Church!

  6. No, the state of Israel do not give equal health care, services, educations investment aso to all its citizen ie the Israeli-palestines!!!! This is a fact which makes Israel a weak democracy if at all one since they have outsourced major function of the state to zionist organisations and to religous courts.

    Not even IRAN can flash with all that!!!

    Zionism is racisim as it argues one peoples rights over any other.
    Zionism is about colonialism, about stealing land. The same ideology acknowledge that there was no “empty land” in Palestine but the rethorics and strategy to capitalize on anti-semitism in Europe made it possible. Zionism is a product of Europe and that hate/racism. Zionism is a european racist ideology thrivning in the 2000 as a remider that old dark thoughts do still prosper!

    This contemt you hold for the church is intreseting. It´s one of your frequent slogans. You should take that up with your next meeting with your shrink moshe mush. Could defenitly be something in your childhood!

    : a

  7. Of course any attempt to classify Jews genetically is absurd. Jews are Jews because they share a common identty, and in some places, a shared history over several centuries. European Jews share in the genetic inheritance of other Europeans, as much as there ar probably no Euroopeans who do not have some Jewish ancestry. Similarly, I imagine that Ethiopian or North African Jews share in the genetic heritage of the peoples among whom they have lived. All this is not new. Nor is it new that we, as humans, are mythmaking creatures. Every society has its myths which give meaning to our lives. Zionism built upon Jewish myths which, in the present day, conflict with the myths of Palestinians. Would that we would listen and honor each other for our unique identities and discover our common ground – our shared humanity.

  8. This academic research confirms the suspicion of many that the claimed justification for the establishment of an Israeli state in the centre of the Muslim Middle East, just 60 years ago, was, and is, one of the most damaging confidence tricks ever perpetrated on a gullible world. Political Zionism is merely a highly successful European-based movement, barely a hundred years old, that has unfortunately destabilised the global community in a spectacular fashion over the past few decades. This has succeeded with the help of the evangelical Christian lobby in the U S that has misinterpreted a biblical narrative to further a new-style religious belief that the messiah will not come until all Jews live in Palestine. This illogical and impossible premise is supported by tens of millions of Christian Zionists in America who whilst having no interest, per se, in Judaism are quite prepared to support a political movement that makes no sense, has no valid justification and no historical basis.

  9. C U Vaird,

    Hear hear!
    Well said and understood!

    : a

  10. Incest, propagative activity with legal set members; noticeably seen in The Sagara

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