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.
Writing in Libération, Jacques Rancière talks about populism and French politics today.
The People Are Not a Brutal and Ignorant Mass
Not a day goes by without the risks of populism being denounced on all sides. But it is not so easy to grasp what the word denotes. What is a populist? Despite various fluctuations of meaning, the dominant discourse seems to characterize it in terms of three essential features: a style of speech addressed directly to the people, bypassing representatives and dignitaries; the assertion that governments and ruling elites are more concerned with feathering their own nest than with the public interest; a rhetoric of identity that expresses fear and rejection of foreigners.