Monday, May 09, 2011

Sands, Invention of the Jewish People, reviewed in Al Ahram

SHLOMO SAND'S THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE gets a long cheerleading review by Gamal Nkrumah in Al Ahram:
Scriptural non-sequitur
The Invention of the Jewish People, by Shlomo Sand. Translated by Yael Lotan (2009). Verso, London

Complacency and political convenience have conspired to blur the vision of Israeli historians and biblical scholars to gross factual errors unearthed by contemporary archaeology since the inception of the Zionist state. Israel is today repeating that folly. The Zionist entity is continually reinventing the wheel. Its politicians and academicians, historians and archaeologists monotonously sound like a scratched gramophone when they insist that the Jews of the world are simultaneously a race, an ethnicity and a religious community.

In harking about exile and return they do not exude a positive message about either Zionism or Judaism. Their ideas are outdated and antiquated no matter how much high-tech they smear on the ultra-modern veneer. There is a paradox in hearing this from an Israeli academician.

That gives you a sense of the tone and the political orientation. Some critical reflection about aspects of the book (e.g., theories about the Khazars or the relevance of recent developments in genetics) would have been welcome as well. For earlier reviews, etc., some of which do better on the critical reflection front, go here and follow the links back.