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:
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In 1982, the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze interviewed the Palestinian author Elias Sanbar, founder of the Journal of Palestine Studies (La Revue d'Études Palestiniennes). They examine the importance of the journal and the existence of the people and land of Palestine. Disgracefully, over 30 years later, these discussions are still despairingly relevant to today's climate.
We have waited a long time for an Arab journal in French, but instead of coming from North Africa, it's being done by the Palestinians. La Revue d'Études Palestiniennes has two characteristics obviously centered on Palestinian problems which also concern the entire Arab world. On the one hand it presents very profound socio political analyses in a masterful yet calm tone. On the other hand, it mobilizes a specifically Arab literary, historical and sociological "corpus" which is very rich and little known.
-Gilles Deleuze, 1982
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.