24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A powerful demolition of the "mythos of a stolen land",
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This review is from: The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland (Hardcover)
This book is not the easiest of reads. It is densely academic in places, repetitive in others, and dwells for too long (chapter 1) on the theory of national homelands. But at its heart this book has a controversial truth which, on the basis of Professor Sand's compelling analysis, is difficult to dispute: that "the mythos of a wandering Jewish people that was uprooted from its homeland two thousand years ago...is based entirely on historical fabrications" (p255).
One-by-one Sand demolishes the pillars upon which the "demon of mythic territoriality" has been built by modern-day Zionists. He notes the Zionists' misuse of the Bible as a "title deed for Palestine", the anachronistic use of the term Israel by Zionists (in fact the land was called Canaan and Jerusalem itself was in Judea), the opposition of most of the pre-1939 rabbinate to Zionism, and the fact that until the US and European nations closed their doors to Jewish immigration in the early 20th century, there were hardly any Jewish immigrants who actually wanted to move to "the land of Israel". This was because few saw it as their 'home'. Indeed, there were few Jews who even wished to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land; it was the Christians whose religious zeal caused them to flock to Jerusalem. The founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, would actually have been happy with Argentina or Uganda as a Jewish national home (p197). But the rise of 20th century nationalism combined with anti-Semitism in Europe and restrictive immigration policies in the US to create "a dangerous ethnoterritorial policy" (p252) which led to the creation of the state of Israel, the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Palestinians (which Professor Sand documents in a powerful Afterword section) and the brutality of occupation, dispossession and displacement.
This book is not without its flaws (inexplicably, for a revisionist historian, Professor Sand seems to attribute no responsibility to Israel for the annexationist war in 1967), but even allowing for these, this is a powerful book which deserves a wide audience. The Zionists will condemn Professor Sand as a "self-hating Jew", but I doubt they will be able to counter his inexorable logic.
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Initial post: 20 Apr 2013 19:40:31 BDT
Isn't the assertion that biblical Israel and Judah are not the same as Israel (in its modern meaning) a whopping category mistake? Is there any self-defined 'national' group that is impervious to intellectual/rational delegitimisation?
Posted on 29 Apr 2013 12:56:18 BDT
'''''there were hardly any Jewish immigrants who actually wanted to move to "the land of Israel"''
Actually, this is not true. Conditions were indeed horrendous, which made it impossible for many to go. However all religious Jews believed that they ideally should live in the land of Israel, and Jewish law deals extensively with the propriety of living there if possible.
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