Shlomo Sand and His Arab Admirers

January 13, 2015 | Shaul Bartal
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The Israeli historian Shlomo Sand has attracted attention by resuscitating long-discredited theories about the supposedly non-Middle Eastern origins of the Jewish people and ostentatiously declaring that he himself has ceased to be a Jew. Much more interesting than his arguments are their sources, and the way they have been eagerly endorsed by Arab anti-Semites, as Shaul Bartal writes:

Sand’s ideas regarding race theory are borrowed from Nazi, Islamic, Arab, and Palestinian sources that claim to have scientifically proved that the Jews of today do not descend from ancient Israelite stock. One example is a book by the Islamic activist Hassan Bash, at-Tarbiya as-Sahyonia, Min Ansariyat at-Torah ila Damu’ya al-Ihtilal (“Zionist Education, from the Racism of the Torah to the Bloodletting of the Occupation”). . . . [In the Arab world,] Bash is considered a leading researcher of Zionist culture and Jewish religion and has written 32 books, most of which slander the Jewish religion, the Torah, and Christianity. . . .

The unique aspect of Sand’s book thus is not its content but rather its context. Sand’s innovation is that he, a Jewish professor of history from a leading “Zionist” university, step-by-step, in beautifully phrased Hebrew, justifies and approves all the Palestinian historical claims. It is no surprise that The Invention of the Jewish People became a major best-seller in the Arab world and is treasured by Palestinians.

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