Customer Reviews for

The Invention of the Jewish People

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Blend of Myths and Historical Facts Underpinning Any Nationalist Cause

    Shlomo Sand bluntly challenges the official narrative surrounding the history of the Jewish people from antiquity to the rebirth of Israel. Mr. Sand wants to convince his audience that the Jews are descendants from a great variety of cultural-linguistic groups that appeared and settled in different areas of the world, rather than a single population that shared a common origin in what is today Israel and wandered in permanent exile (pp. 22; 253). Mr. Sand relies on numerous archaeological and literary findings to poke holes in the narrative of the Old Testament that serves as the repository of national memory (pp. 115-128; 255). In their mission to formulate a common origin for the Jewish people, Israeli historians adopted uncritically the old Christian idea of the Jew as the external exile. In doing it, these historians ignored the mass proselytization carried out by early Judaism (p. 255).

    What Mr. Sand found out about what he calls the "ancient, mythological, and religious past" of the Jewish people is not unique to the Jews or Israel (pp. 74; 255). In his recent book "Two Faiths, One Banner," Ian Almond notes that history is similar to driving a car in a thick fog without much visibility ahead or behind. Mr. Almond came to the realization that the writing of history was not like climbing a hill from which one could acquire an expanding view of an increasingly bigger area. Most people do not learn more and more about themselves. They modify their history continually (pp. 220-221).

    Many adults around the world come to the realization that what they learn in school is most often a selective reading of what really happened in the history of their native or adopted country. As a native of Belgium, I was never taught about the brutal colonization of Congo in Central Africa under the leadership of Leopold II, the second king of Belgium and his henchmen. I learned about this inconvenient truth when I stumbled on Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost." Unsurprisingly, Mr. Sand quotes Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities" that "the nation . is an imagined political community (p. 35)."

    As a side note, either The History Channel or the National Geographic Society could realize a new documentary about the history of the Jewish people that takes into account what Mr. Sand covers in his controversial book.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    Keep an Open Mind...

    I have to commend this author for having the chutzpah to write this book. It isn't going to get him any popularity votes in the Jewish world, but he has thoroughly researched his material and one has got to keep his or her mind open and say, "Yeah...you've got a point here!"

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    Distorting History to Delegitimize Israel

    It is rare indeed when a person writes a book whose aim is to help in the destruction of the state he is living in. But this is Shlomo Sand's self- proclaimed aim. He has written this book in order to delegitimize Israel, the Jewish people's claim to a state of their own. There is presently a world-wide campaign to delegitimize Israel as prelude to destroying the Jewish state. Just as Yassir Arafat in rejecting peace with Israel in September 2000 claimed that the existence of two Jewish temples in Jerusalem was a 'myth' and that Jews in fact had no real history in Jerusalem, so Sand claims that the Jewish people itself is a 'myth'.
    In making this claims Israeli historian Israel Bartal claims that Sand uses misleading citations, shows disrepect for historical details and shows a 'slippery tendency to present extreme theories as though they reflect the scholarly consensus'. One of the most distinguished of historians of Jewish modernity Anita Shapira of Tel Aviv University "found something "warped and objectionable in the assumption that for Jews to integrate into the Middle East they, and they alone of all the peoples in the region, must shed their national identity and historical memories and reconstruct themselves in a way that may (perhaps) find favor with Israeli-Palestinians."
    Sand essentially joins the camp of those who would make the Jewish people the only people in the world who have no right whatsoever to their own national and communal identity. He not only in doing this sins against the truth of history but insults that great majority of Israelis who actually care for and believe in the value of their own people and state.
    Sand claims that his own parents Polish refugees from the Shoah came to Israel not because they wanted to , but because they had no choice. They could never really feel themselves a part of the Jewish people just as the parents of another Israel- basher Norman
    Finkelstein's parents could never really feel sympathy and any solidarity with their fellow survivors of the Shoah. Out of such self- hating and people- denying parents comes this work, one which will certainly join with the Koestler's work on the Khazars as documents which seek to make the Jews a people who do not know their own origins and ancestors.
    Intellectual treason may not be the greatest sin in the world, but when it contributes to a worldwide campaign aimed at destroying one's own nation and people it certainly makes one a candidate for one of the Underworlds's lower circles. Sand has already received much publicity and will receive a large royalty for his work. But my suspicion his ultimate reward will be that he will be wholly despised by the great share of Jews who know of his work.
    If there is a Circle lower than the Ninth he should be in it. Permalink | Why no voting buttons? We don't let customers vote on their own reviews, so the voting buttons appear only when you look at reviews submitted by others.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2009

    beautiful book, intellectually stimulating

    A must read book. Illuminating.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Excellent Book Exposing the Truth

    Israel has Distorting History in an attempt to legitimize its exhistance. This book does a fantastic job in pointing out what is the truth. Some people will only look at the book as an attack on the Jewish people but I say look at the facts and you be the judge,this book does a good job providing those facts.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Wow

    Just read it, YOU will be glad you did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    It shlomo its shlomo its shlomo oh.yeah.

    SHLOMO IS AWSOME IT MEANS PANTS BTW THIS IS FOR EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WHO DIDNT KNOW THAT ECCEPT FOR ME :P

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

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