After reading Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People, President Moncef Morzouki of Tunisia asks about the lessons Sand's book might have for other nations and peoples.
Do we, too, have a fabricated history?
There is no doubt about it - the book The Invention of the Jewish People by the Jewish Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, which stirred up great controversy in Israel and was translated into 26 languages in less than a year, came as a pleasant surprise to all its Arab readers, including to the author of these lines.
What this historian, whose hostility towards Zionism cannot be dismissed as mere Anti-Semitism, establishes very clearly is that the Zionist claim to their right to the lands of Palestine is void. He proves, relying on a vast amount of sources – many of them Jewish – that the forceful expulsion of the Jews from Palestine after the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans is a myth.... that the preservation of a pure race during years of exile is a myth... that the claim that the ones who returned to conquer Palestine were the grandchildren of those exiled thousands of years earlier is a myth... And even the exodus from Egypt and the Kingdom of David and Salomon, all of these are legends upon legends.
Shlomo Sand, an Israeli historian and the author of The Invention of the Jewish People, received a death threat on Sunday. According to Ha'aretz, an envelope containing white powder and a letter that referred to Sand as an anti-Semite and a Nazi arrived at Tel Aviv University's Department of History, where Sand is a professor. The Israeli police have since examined the white powder and found that it is probably not dangerous, but the investigation is still ongoing.
Sand's newest book, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland, is a follow-up to 2009's The Invention of the Jewish People. He told Ha'aretz that he believes it is possible that his books, which have previously sparked controversies, prompted the death threat.
Visit Ha'aretz to read the article in full.
The Nakba, or "day of catastrophe," remains the central issue of struggle for the Palestinian people. Commemorated each May 15th, the Nakba began in May 1948 when the State of Israel was founded on Palestinian lands, leading to the forcible expulsion of 75% of the indigenous population. Today, over 5 million Palestinian refugees remain in refugee camps in countries around the world, unable to return to their land and homes. They are the oldest and largest refugee population in the world.
With the announcement, just one day before the Nakba, that Israel has settled with hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike, we reflect on 64 years of Israeli occupation—and Palestinian resistance—with a survey of Verso's responses to this struggle.