7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland (Hardcover)
As a Muslim, there is a great lesson of self reflection to be learnt from this critical analysis for creation of the 'myth' of land of Israel, conjured up by Zionists in order to justify forced annexation of Palestine. I have to give credit to Jewish culture for relatively more accepting alternate views instead of rejecting any criticism like my own Islamic culture. This way all the positive and negative aspects of any contentious issue can be very effectively ring fenced within, instead of leaving voids for outsiders to take shots at, like Islam has to go through repeatability.
Sholomo makes a very convincing case against the whole legality of Israel especially when he points out that there was no tradition of pilgrimage in Jews unlike Christianity and Islam. He calls this shift towards pilgrimage 'Christian Zionism'. But I don't really see his objective, for even if Jewish traditions were relatively late in adopting pilgrimage aping Christians, Jewish pilgrimage is here to stay. For I know that in Islam pilgrimage to Kaaba made prominence after the death of the Prophet, for during his life he only made one proper pilgrimage. His first attempt to get to Kaaba was thwarted and he had to make the pilgrimage away from Kaaba, a tradition never really adopted by popular Islam. In this regards I do agree with the author when he suggests that history is directed by a select few writers and scholars of that time who may not be reflecting the view of ordinary masses of that era. I guess the author is attempting to convey his alternate fringe point of view so that future generations can objectify. I don't seriously believe that public opinion will ever change in Israel due to his work though. Because at the moment, the Jews have managed to acquire majority in Israel and successfully ousted Arabs from the land of their forefathers. World opinion was partly responsible for creation of Israel but mainly Jews after years of being on the run in Europe were finally given a golden opportunity to finally settle down, which they accepted with a lot of rigour. State propaganda based on selective reading of history occurs in almost every country. In the country of my birth Pakistan, we have similar trend in education where Pakistan is directly linked with the advent of a distant Islamic culture, blatantly ignoring the strong cultural ties with the local Hindu culture, which seems far more plausible in my opinion. I guess this strong need to forge an identity is required to cover atrocities against minorities which both Pakistan and Israel are sort of known for.
Sholomo after a slowish start makes a very powerful case in favour of his primary argument (Holy-land to Homeland). His analysis considers the personal religious inclinations of the primary movers for a Jewish homeland in Britain. I think he has very successfully demonstrated the influence of religion on politics in the book as in my opinion religion may not be the primary motive, but is very useful for justification and motivational purposes when making convincing arguments. Sholomo has demonstrated the urgent need for a Jewish homeland in the wake of the huge number of immigrants in mainland Britain after the Bolshevik revolution. The threat of the new immigrant coupled with religious justification that Jews have to installed in the Holy-land (as per the Bible) created huge supporters of Zionism in Britain.