Shlomo Sand on “The Invention of the Jewish People”

January 22, 2010
Professor Shlomo Sand, approved portrait 3 (c) Olivia Grabowski-West, (low res)

Picture taken by Olivia Grabowski-West.

In his controversial book, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” author Shlomo Sand challenges historical notions of the link between Judaism and Israel, and argues that there is no record of exile of the Jewish people.

Israel has deliberately forgotten its history and replaced it with a myth, writes Sand, a Jewish scholar and historian based at the University of Tel Aviv. Without exile, there is no right to return, he says.

“The disparity between what my research suggested about the history of the Jewish people and the way that history is commonly understood – not only within Israel but in the larger world – shocked me as much as it shocked my readers.”

Early Rabbis and 19th century Zionist Scholars were responsible for the construction of a continuous genealogy for the Jewish people, Sand argues. He attributes the Jewish diaspora to early Judaist evangelism across North Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East, not a biological lineage.

Sand spoke with Reuters about his thesis at Verso Books headquarters in London. Watch the video here:

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