Palestinians are Israelites, actually, genuinely
Hermann Ploppa 27.oct.2008
Israeli history professor Shlomo Sand thinks it is probable. Sand demands therefore a constitutional amendment
Hardly another state in this world can refer Israel to such a comprehensive creation history like the straight only sixty years old country. Whether in condition and declaration of independence, whether in the canon for stories instruction, whether at the particularly furnished university specialist areas for Jewish history: everywhere the narration maintained of the homogeneous Jewish people, whom after the excerpt from Egypt the fantastic kingdoms create of David and Salomo have; also banishing after Babylon projected. And after the rebellions in the year 70 after Christ of the Romans into all world one scattered, and in the Diaspora held together, in order to be able to return a daily to the praised country to Palestine. After the Holocaust the homogeneous Jewish people could itself have met finally again in his legitimate homeland to a nation state. Thus the Israeli declaration of independence formulates of 1948: "After the people (Israel) was driven involuntarily from his country in the exile, remained it in the firm faith, also after its scattering, and heard on to never pray and hope on its return and on a re-establishment of its political freedom."
Now however the historian Shlomo Sand ensures of the University of Tel Aviv with its newest book for lively discussions.
Shlomo Sand: "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?", Resling, Tel Aviv.
French edition "Comment le peuple juif fut inventé -- De la Bible au sionisme", Paris 2008.
English translation not before 2009!
Because the work with the title was invented "as the Jewish people" stands on the best-seller lists in Israel. Sand plucks-to-pieces all national creation stories of Israel specified above and refers it into the realm of the mythology.
The reactions in the Israeli public do not exist always in well-meaning open-mindedness. Roll commands try to blow up Sand's lecture meetings. Threat letters and insults belong to daily bread of the unerschrockenen stories researcher. Sand was born 1946 in the Austrian Linz as a son of Polish Holocaust survivors, and already in the sixties organizations new linking in Israel followed, which face the Zionism critically. As a professor in Tel Aviv and Paris Sand is actually expert for modern European history, with emphasis France. He saved his trip into Israeli history until he became full tenured professor not subject to be fired. Because, so Sand: "One must pay a price in the academic life of Israel, if one represents such opinions."
The more deeply the historian from Tel Aviv into the ancient sources in-worked itself, all the more surprised him, how few creation stories of Israel are to be occupied by documents. That catches on with Biblical history of the excerpt of the enslaved Israeliten under Moses from Egypt in the praised country. This in 13. Century before Christ settled exodus is occupied by no Egyptian chronicles, and the praised country belonged at that time to the administrative territory of Egypt. Also for the existence of the golden kingdoms of David and Salomos are no archaeological proofs.
In the year 70 after Christ rebellions of fundamentalist Jewish sects took place against the Roman occupying power. Alleged following driving and scattering of the Jews out into all directions are likewise free invention, judges Sand. Because around a whole people to drive out, simply the means were missing:
The Romans did not drive peoples in the exile, and they could not do it also at all. They did not order over railways and trucks, in order to deportieren whole populations.
Are the Palestinians the descendants of the Israelites?
With the exception of the ringleaders nobody was abroad created. Most Jews were native farmers, who remained under strange upper rule in the country. Later they would have accepted the Islamic faith and with other peoples would have mixed themselves. The descendants of the native Jews would thus nowadays be the inhabitants, that were pushed of the Israeli new settlers to the edge - thus the Palestinians in Israel, in the Gaza Strip or in the West Jordan territory!
The new settlers, who constitute the population of state modern Israel, do not have to do anything with the ancient Israeliten, says Sand. These people are the descendants of Jewish missionierter peoples. Because between the first century before our time calculation and the fourth century after Christ Jewish mission acres swarmed into all regions of the Mediterranean area out. Beside innumerable Jewish minority communities whole kingdoms were bekehrt to the Judentum. To call the realm is here e.g. Himya in the area today's Yemen. Another Kingdom was in the area of the today's Kurdistan.
In the sixth after-Christian century a Jewish bekehrtes Berberreich in the Maghreb, whose remnants affected the Iberian Khalifate in the following centuries substantially, developed. Approximately to the same time the halfnomad Turk-people of the Khasaren took over the mosaic faith. The Khasar empire extended over the area of the today's Ukraine. When the Mongols extinguished the realm of the Kasars, the Kasars mixed itself with likewise Jewish missionised Slavs and GermanJewish refugees of the Pogrome of Mainz and Worms. The eastJewish "Schtetl" - inhabitants are thus likewise few descendants of a Jewish Diaspora from Palestine like the Iberian Sephardic or the mosaic Yemenites, finds Sand.
These facts were earlier generations of Judaists quite well-known. Even prominent Zionists did not conceal that the Palestinians were the descendants of the Israelites. Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later second president of the Republic of Israel, expressed 1929: ". the overwhelming majority of the small farmers do not have their origin with the Arab conquerers, but rather, before these, in the Jewish farmers, those at number were rich and the majority with the structure of the country placed." One heard something similar at that time of David Ben Gurion.
National state thought led also in zionistist thinking to a re-orientation
And that the Khasars was not in the ethnic sense Jews, it belonged in the nineteenth century to general knowledge. As in Germany still Jewish scholars such as Isaak Markus Jost (1793-1860) or Leopold Zunz (1794-1886) influence exercised, was considered the Judentum still as a purely religious phenomenon. When however in Germany the nationalism at ground won, the accentuation began itself to shift also in the Jewish community. In Germany was formed the national state thought, which should be connected inseparably with a prominent, homogeneous gentleman race. That was the time of the Teuton cult. In the USA the view, the national gentleman race in North America was formed is consisting the Nordic Race, of blond, naive descendants of the Englishmen, Germans and Skandinavier according to. This of Madison Grant formulated view flowed into the immigration, sterilization and marriage prohibitory laws of the USA.
That radicalization of the national state thought, which was not carried out in such a way in France, led also in the zionistischen community to a re-orientation. The Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891) interpreted the Judentum in demarcation to the Prussian historian Heinrich of Treitschke no longer than a purely religious network, but increasingly than nationalistic movement.
Shlomo Sand subordinates the zionistist settlers in Israel first of all the fact that her imperialistic motives of the colonization with the construct of a refugee now returning of people would embellish:
The exposure that the Jews do not originate from Judea, would pull obviously the legal standard away of our Hierseins under our feet. Since beginning of the decolonising settlers could not say simply only: We came, we won, and now we are here, in the way, how the Americans, who announced white ones in South Africa and the Australians.
Procured Sand states one since the sixties more strongly becoming bio logism in the Israeli debate over an alleged Jewish national people: "'The origin of the Peoples' is in the meantime an accepted and popular research field of molecular biology." The officially fixed definition of the Israeli democracy as "Jewish" prevents however at least one fifth of the citizens to identify itself with Israel. Here a tension is pre-programmed, and it is questionable whether the small state can bear these tensions permanently. Therefore Sand demands a reformulation of the Israeli condition:
In the Israeli discourse over the roots a certain measure of Perversion lies. This concerns a ethnozentrischen, biological and genetic discourse. But Israel orders over no existence as Jewish state: if Israel does not become an open, multicultural society, then we experience a Kosovo in Galiläa. Consciousness of the claim on this place must be more flexible and more variant-rich, and if I contributed with my book to the prospect that I and my children able will be, to live with the other groups here in the country in a more equivalent situation together then have I my Scherflein to it contributed.
via babelfish systran robot-translation from www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/28/28975/1.html
What do you think of Shlomo Sand's "When And How Were the Jewish People Invented?"?
It's a bestseller in Israel and doing well also in France,but no English edition
I have read enough abstracts to be reasonably familiar with the content. It is not really a new theme,except perhaps to "Israelis". Many prominent American Jews denounced the "racial" concept of a "Jewish people" from the very inception of Zionism in the 1890's. Judaism is a religion. There is no such thing as a "jewish people",i.e. an ethnic group associated with the religion.
Same here,only read reviews. One,by Jonathon Cook explains the book's theme,which is not really new; David Ben Gurion wrote a book along the same line way back in 1910 - that the modern Palestinians are direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews. I'm still pleased to see something new appear from a modern qualified scholar; Dr. Sand is a professor of history at Tel Aviv University so you can't hardly accuse him of being antijewish.
This is a book published in Israel by an Israeli publisher and is by an Israeli author who teaches at an Israeli university,but you know what? I bet the zionists will try to get it deleted.
No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel.s bestseller list . and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel.s biggest taboo.
Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation . whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel . is a myth invented little more than a century ago.
An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more . all equally controversial.
In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today.s Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country.s conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.
Zionist nationalist myth of enforced exile
Israel deliberately forgets its history
An Israeli historian suggests the diaspora was the consequence, not of the expulsion of the Hebrews from Palestine, but of proselytising across north Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East
By Schlomo Sand
Every Israeli knows that he or she is the direct and exclusive descendant of a Jewish people which has existed since it received the Torah (1) in Sinai. According to this myth, the Jews escaped from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land, where they built the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, which subsequently split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD.
Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia. But, the story goes, they always managed to preserve blood links between their scattered communities. Their uniqueness was never compromised.
At the end of the 19th century conditions began to favour their return to their ancient homeland. If it had not been for the Nazi genocide, millions of Jews would have fulfilled the dream of 20 centuries and repopulated Eretz Israel, the biblical land of Israel. Palestine, a virgin land, had been waiting for its original inhabitants to return and awaken it. It belonged to the Jews, rather than to an Arab minority that had no history and had arrived there by chance. The wars in which the wandering people reconquered their land were just; the violent opposition of the local population was criminal.
This interpretation of Jewish history was developed as talented, imaginative historians built on surviving fragments of Jewish and Christian religious memory to construct a continuous genealogy for the Jewish people. Judaism.s abundant historiography encompasses many different approaches.
But none have ever questioned the basic concepts developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Discoveries that might threaten this picture of a linear past were marginalised. The national imperative rejected any contradiction of or deviation from the dominant story. University departments exclusively devoted to .the history of the Jewish people., as distinct from those teaching what is known in Israel as general history, made a significant contribution to this selective vision. The debate on what constitutes Jewishness has obvious legal implications, but historians ignored it: as far as they are concerned, any descendant of the people forced into exile 2,000 years ago is a Jew.
Nor did these official investigators of the past join the controversy provoked by the .new historians. from the late 1980s. Most of the limited number of participants in this public debate were from other disciplines or non-academic circles: sociologists, orientalists, linguists, geographers, political scientists, literary academics and archaeologists developed new perspectives on the Jewish and Zionist past. Departments of Jewish history remained defensive and conservative, basing themselves on received ideas. While there have been few significant developments in national history over the past 60 years (a situation unlikely to change in the short term), the facts that have emerged face any honest historian with fundamental questions.
Founding myths shaken
Is the Bible a historical text? Writing during the early half of the 19th century, the first modern Jewish historians, such as Isaak Markus Jost (1793-1860) and Leopold Zunz (1794-1886), did not think so. They regarded the Old Testament as a theological work reflecting the beliefs of Jewish religious communities after the destruction of the first temple. It was not until the second half of the century that Heinrich Graetz (1817-91) and others developed a .national. vision of the Bible and transformed Abraham.s journey to Canaan, the flight from Egypt and the united kingdom of David and Solomon into an authentic national past. By constant repetition, Zionist historians have subsequently turned these Biblical .truths. into the basis of national education.
But during the 1980s an earthquake shook these founding myths. The discoveries made by the .new archaeology. discredited a great exodus in the 13th century BC. Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.
Nor is there any trace or memory of the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon. Recent discoveries point to the existence, at the time, of two small kingdoms: Israel, the more powerful, and Judah, the future Judea. The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.
Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.
Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea (2).
But if there was no exile after 70 AD, where did all the Jews who have populated the Mediterranean since antiquity come from? The smokescreen of national historiography hides an astonishing reality. From the Maccabean revolt of the mid-2nd century BC to the Bar Kokhba revolt of the 2nd century AD, Judaism was the most actively proselytising religion. The Judeo-Hellenic Hasmoneans forcibly converted the Idumeans of southern Judea and the Itureans of Galilee and incorporated them into the people of Israel. Judaism spread across the Middle East and round the Mediterranean. The 1st century AD saw the emergence in modern Kurdistan of the Jewish kingdom of Adiabene, just one of many that converted.
The writings of Flavius Josephus are not the only evidence of the proselytising zeal of the Jews. Horace, Seneca, Juvenal and Tacitus were among the Roman writers who feared it. The Mishnah and the Talmud (3) authorised conversion, even if the wise men of the Talmudic tradition expressed reservations in the face of the mounting pressure from Christianity.
Although the early 4th century triumph of Christianity did not mark the end of Jewish expansion, it relegated Jewish proselytism to the margins of the Christian cultural world. During the 5th century, in modern Yemen, a vigorous Jewish kingdom emerged in Himyar, whose descendants preserved their faith through the Islamic conquest and down to the present day. Arab chronicles tell of the existence, during the 7th century, of Judaised Berber tribes; and at the end of the century the legendary Jewish queen Dihya contested the Arab advance into northwest Africa. Jewish Berbers participated in the conquest of the Iberian peninsula and helped establish the unique symbiosis between Jews and Muslims that characterised Hispano-Arabic culture.
The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas. The expansion of Judaism from the Caucasus into modern Ukraine created a multiplicity of communities, many of which retreated from the 13th century Mongol invasions into eastern Europe. There, with Jews from the Slavic lands to the south and from what is now modern Germany, they formed the basis of Yiddish culture (4).
Prism of Zionism
Until about 1960 the complex origins of the Jewish people were more or less reluctantly acknowledged by Zionist historiography. But thereafter they were marginalised and finally erased from Israeli public memory. The Israeli forces who seized Jerusalem in 1967 believed themselves to be the direct descendents of the mythic kingdom of David rather than . God forbid . of Berber warriors or Khazar horsemen. The Jews claimed to constitute a specific ethnic group that had returned to Jerusalem, its capital, from 2,000 years of exile and wandering.
This monolithic, linear edifice is supposed to be supported by biology as well as history. Since the 1970s supposedly scientific research, carried out in Israel, has desperately striven to demonstrate that Jews throughout the world are closely genetically related.
Research into the origins of populations now constitutes a legitimate and popular field in molecular biology and the male Y chromosome has been accorded honoured status in the frenzied search for the unique origin of the .chosen people.. The problem is that this historical fantasy has come to underpin the politics of identity of the state .of Israel. By validating an essentialist, .ethnocentric definition of Judaism it encourages a segregation that separates Jews from non-Jews . whether Arabs, Russian immigrants or foreign workers.
Sixty years after its foundation, Israel refuses to accept that it should exist for the sake of its citizens. For almost a quarter of the population, who are not regarded as Jews, this is not their state legally. At the same time, Israel presents itself as the homeland of Jews throughout the world, even if these are no longer persecuted refugees, but the full and equal citizens of other countries.
A global ethnocracy invokes the myth of the eternal nation, reconstituted on the land of its ancestors, to justify internal discrimination against its own citizens. It will remain difficult to imagine a new Jewish history while the prism of Zionism continues to fragment everything into an ethnocentric spectrum. But Jews worldwide have always tended to form religious communities, usually by conversion; they cannot be said to share an ethnicity derived from a unique origin and displaced over 20 centuries of wandering.
The development of historiography and the evolution of modernity were consequences of the invention of the nation state, which preoccupied millions during the 19th and 20th centuries. The new millennium has seen these dreams begin to shatter.
And more and more academics are analysing, dissecting and deconstructing the great national stories, especially the myths of common origin so dear to chroniclers of the past.
Shlomo Sand is professor of history at Tel Aviv university and the author of Comment le people juif fut inventé (Fayard, Paris, 2008)
(1) The Torah, from the Hebrew root yara (to teach) is the founding text of Judaism. It consists of the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
(2) See David Ben Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Eretz Israel in the past and present, 1918 (in Yiddish), and Jerusalem, 1980 (in Hebrew); Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Our population in the country, Executive Committee of the Union for Youth and the Jewish National Fund, Warsaw, 1929 (in Hebrew).
(3) The Mishnah, regarded as the first work of rabbinic literature, was drawn up around 200 AD. The Talmud is a synthesis of rabbinic discussions on the law, customs and history of the Jews. The Palestinian Talmud was written between the 3rd and 5th centuries; the Babylonian Talmud was compiled at the end of the 5th century.
(4) Yiddish, spoken by the Jews of eastern Europe, was a Germano-Slavic language incorporating Hebrew words.