A historical tour de force, The Invention of the Jewish People offers a groundbreaking account of Jewish and Israeli history. Exploding the myth that there was a forced Jewish exile in the first century at the hands of the Romans, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand argues that most modern Jews descend from converts, whose native lands were scattered across the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
In this iconoclastic work, which spent nineteen weeks on the Israeli bestseller list and won the coveted Aujourd'hui Award in France, Sand provides the intellectual foundations for a new vision of Israel’s future.
In support of Palestinian Prisoner's Day, taking place today on 17 April we publish this account of lawyer Abdelrahman Al-Ahmar's imprisonment and torture by the State of Israel. This is an extract from Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation. To find out more about Palestinian Prisoner's Day see here.
Guard tower at Damun Prison, Israel near Haifa. the facilities were once used as a tobacco warehouse during the British Mandate, but they were converted to a prison by Israel in 1953. It houses up to 500 prisoners.
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: