The Invention of the Jewish People Hardcover – Oct 19 2009
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“Israel’s Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of the Roman rile, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Sand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There was never a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened—hence there was no return.”—Tom Segev, Haaretz
“The reader will have understood the message: what this well-documented and fearless book explodes is the myth of a unique Jewish people, miraculously preserved, in contrast to all the other peoples, from external contamination ... [Sand’s] conclusions, which are prudently formulated, nonetheless lead one towards a sole solution: the construction of a secular and democratic Israel.”—Jacques Julliard, Le Nouvel Observateur
“Shlomo Sand has written a remarkable book ... Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read it.”—Tony Judt, author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
“The Invention of the Jewish People is an indispensable challenge and a very complex intellectual exercise ... a more secure society [than Israel] would include the book in the core curriculum of its school system.”—Avraham Burg, former Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth
About the Author
Shlomo Sand studied history at the University of Tel Aviv and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris. He currently teaches contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People, On the Nation and the Jewish People, L’Illusion du politique: Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900, Georges Sorel en son temps, Le XXe siècle à l’écran and Les Mots et la terre: les intellectuels en Israël.
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Top Customer Reviews
Zionism, by contrast, in Shlomo Sand's readable and fascinating book, remains shackled to a crude nationalism that embodies discredited essentialist ideas that have not changed much since the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Out of this has arisen an instrumental view of history, where facts that do not meet the realpolitik objectives the movement that brought the State of Israel into existence are ignored or suppressed, and where trained historians, archaeologists and scientists face pressure to adapt their findings to political exigencies.
But Sand also paints a portrait of a country fraught with contradictions that are, inevitably percolating up to create a new consciousness of Jewish History, where the tools of modern historiography bring the possibility of change. Whether this is too little too late, Sand clearly understands that the mistakes and brutality of Israel's Zionist ideology, and the contradictions that the 4 and a half decades occupation of Palestinian lands, have created the conditions where change is inevitable.
Sand seems to suggest that Israel's best chance is to try to guide, rather than control these forces, to bring israel into line with the normative standards of democracy, liberalism and identity of the modern states Israel compares itself to.Read more ›
Take your pick: the "Unified Kingdom", the great "Exodus", the great historical "nation" of Israel, etc. ad nauseam. Sand takes each myth perpetuated by and about the "Jewish" people and exposes it for what it is: absolute, complete fiction. He uncovers the ethnocentrism that hides behind all of the slogans, their historical roots, and he does so with precision. He documents the rise of "nationalism", how played itself out in our history, and the different methods and means people go about creating these fictional divisions we now call "nations", with particular reference to the "Jewish nation". This is the essence of the book that makes it all makes sense. Sand shows HOW such myths could become so thoroughly entrenched and believed, and why they were created in the first place. In that regard, the book is so much more than a treatise on how much of a misnomer the term "Jewish People" really is. It gets to the heart of modern society and the lies we tell ourselves to keep the facade in place.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Controversial book. Got me to read a bunch of other books along the same line.Published 8 days ago by Michael Brusselers
First, I will give my own background in the context of trying to understand such a book. I have a degree in molecular biology and am an MD. Read morePublished 10 days ago by AMD
A fascinating exploration of the history of the Jewish people. The fact that it is written by a Jewish professor of history at Tel Aviv University increases its impact. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wow. Just wow. It's hard to believe this guy ever graduated. Sure, there is always a target audience for this kind of junk, but I find Hans Christian Andersen's books more... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mark
Good read. But the rulers are too stupid to understand this...Published 16 months ago by Usama Al-Khudairy
First, an apologia. I am a gentile who grew up in a Canadian city in a neighbourhood with many Jewish people. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2014 by William L. Day
This is an exceptionally well written (particularly in the Hebrew original) and bluntly presented exposition. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2013 by Hephaestos
This is one of the most important non-fiction books (outside of science) published in years, dealing as it does with a topic which has caused immense pain and difficulty to so... Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2013 by John W. Chuckman