The historian and author of How I stopped being a Jew, The Invention of the Land of Israel, and The Invention of the Jewish People comments on Michel Houellebecq's book Soumission and the global dynamics of contemporary dialogue over "Islam and the West".
"Reading the Koran is a disgusting experience. Ever since Islam’s birth it has been distinguished by its desire to make the world submit to itself. Submission is its very nature."- Michel Houellebecq, 31 August 2001, speaking to Sébastien Le Fol and Anthony Palou
Nothing can justify a murder, still less a mass murder committed in cold blood. That’s what happened in Paris at the beginning of January: an absolutely inexcusable crime. There’s nothing original about saying that: millions of people already think and feel the same, and rightly so. But seeing this terrible tragedy, one of the first things that came to my mind was this: does the deep disgust we feel when faced with a murder necessarily oblige us to identify with the victims’ actions? If – as President Holland declared – the victims are the supreme incarnation of freedom of expression, then do I have to be Charlie, too? Am I Charlie, not only because I am a secular atheist, but also on account of my fundamental antipathy toward the oppressive bases of the three great Western monotheist religions?
Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Land of Israel, The Invention of the Jewish People, and most recently How I Stopped Being a Jew,was this month prevented from speaking at the University of Nice.
The following is a statement from the UJFP, the French Jewish Union for Peace:
Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People, The Invention of the Land of Israel and most recently How I Stopped Being a Jew, has contributed to Rony Brauman's Pour les Palestiniens: manifeste (Autrement, October 2014) alongside Frank Eskenazi, Caroline Abu-Sa'da, René Backmann, Gilbert Achcar and others. Below is an excerpt of Sand's contribution, translated from french by David Broder:
The renowned historian Shlomo Sand - author of The Invention of the Jewish People and The Invention of the Land of Israel - was interviewed by the French magazine Télérama in 2009. The recent re-publication of this French interview still contains powerful responses to the violence that we see in Gaza today. How can we still be asking the same questions 5 years on? Both then and now, Sand continues to be one of the few Israeli intellectuals – even on the Left – who has continued to condemn the bombardment of Gaza.
Israeli public opinion supports the (2008-2009) Gaza War. You are a dissonant voice...
I have reached the peak of my academic career, I have nothing to lose and I am not afraid. Of course, yes, I do feel very alone. But do not forget that almost ten thousand young people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on 3 January. Even in 2006, at the beginning of the war against Hezbollah, there was no mobilisation of such an extent. It was a very politicised demonstration, with the far Left as well as the Israeli Arabs who live in Tel Aviv and Jaffa.