Shlomo Sand at SOAS: Israel is “a shitty nation” and “the most racist society in the world”


Cross posted by London based blogger, Richard Millett

Shlomo Sand in full flow at SOAS last night.

Shlomo Sand in full flow at SOAS last night.

Last night Tel Aviv University history professor Shlomo Sand referred to Israel as a “shitty nation” (clip 1).

He called Israel “the most racist society in the world” and said that he has been fighting “Jewish racism all my life” (both clip 2).

And he declared that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in the western world today (clip 3).

He was speaking in London at the SOAS launch of his new book The Invention of The Land of Israel.

The much discredited thesis of his previous book The Invention of The Jewish People is that there was no expulsion of the Jews from the Holy Land; diaspora Jews, therefore, must have all descended from converts and so have no right to return to Israel.

The already much discredited thesis of The Invention of The Land of Israel is, simply, that the land of Israel holds no religious significance for Jews either.

First, he claimed, there is no mention of “Israel” in the bible; it is only mentioned in the Talmud. This is not true (see note 1). Second, he claimed that political Zionism grew out of Christianity, not Judaism, and he solely credits Lord Shaftesbury and the evangelical Christian movement in London for the idea that Jews should return to the Holy Land.

But Sand, conveniently, regards great religious figures like Rabbi Alkalia and Rabbi Kalischer, who in the early nineteenth century wrote voraciously about the pressing need for Jews to return to Zion, as only minority influences.

Sand claimed that the Balfour Declaration came about due to three main reasons:

1. The ideological background of many leaders who wanted Redemption via a Jewish return to the Holy Land.
2. The colonialist interests of Britain in the Middle East.
3. Anti-Semitism – Balfour didn’t want suffering Jews from the East coming to Britain.

Sand said Jews preferred to move to America but after 1924, when America stopped eastern European immigration altogether, no country would accept Jews who then had no choice but to go to the Holy Land against their will.

Sand, again, conveniently ignores the examples of the Jewish pioneers in the Hibbat Zion and BILU movements who volunteered to move to the harsh conditions of the Holy Land during the 1880s to try to make a life there.

Sand views Israelis as a nation even if a “shitty one”. But, for Sand, they aren’t a Jewish nation because he doesn’t recognise such a concept exists. Sand views being Jewish as a purely religious concept and said that Hamas in Gaza are much more likely to be descended from the ancient people who once inhabited the Holy Land than he is.

Sand says he desires a two-state solution with equal rights for Arabs living in Israel and for Jews living in a future Palestine. Presumably, it would be an Israel where diaspora Jews would have limited, if any, rights to move to.

And on anti-Semitism Sand said:

“The century of anti-Semitism between 1850 and 1950 is finished. Pro-Zionists don’t understand history. I don’t think that political public anti-Semitism exists today in the western world. You cannot find members of Parliament in Britain or the United States who are openly anti-Semitic. You cannot find journalists who are anti-Semitic. You cannot find films that are anti-Semitic.”

This is what many in the audience wanted to hear. It was their official certificate that they are not Jew haters even though they focus solely on opposing the Jewish state while ignoring atrocities by both sides in Syria, by Hamas in Gaza and by the Saudi Arabian monarchy and the Iranian government which both brutally oppress their own people. To name but a few.

Once again, Sand conveniently ignores or is unaware of the example of Liberal Democrat David Ward who recently accused “the Jews” of inflicting something akin to a Holocaust on the Palestinians.

Sand is the master of cherry-picking anything that backs up his argument while ignoring anything inconvenient that might detract from it.

His recent books are not based on proper fact, record or history. They are simply driven by a hatred for the Jewish state.

Notes:

1. For a superb taking down of Sand’s new book see here via Elder of Ziyon.

2. For  a superb analysis of Sand speaking at The Frontline Club the previous night see here via Jonathan Hoffman.

Clips from last night (not good sound quality):

Clip 1 – Sand declares Israel a “shitty nation”:

Clip 2 – Sand declares Israel “the most racist society in the world” and says he has been fighting “Jewish racism all my life”:

Clip 3 – Sand claims there is no anti-Semitism in the west today:

 

42 comments on “Shlomo Sand at SOAS: Israel is “a shitty nation” and “the most racist society in the world”

  1. As he was speaking amidst a hotbead of anti-Semites its not surprising he can’t find one in the West. Apparently, as our solar system is tucked safely in one of the spiral arms of the galaxy we can’t really see, even with the best telescope what most of it looks like. Shlomo the Shmo needs only to look at himself in the mirror every morning…..

  2. Well, well a way to get attention, published, kudos and dirty income, frankly there is a discourse in the west which allows mediocres who are not intellectuals of any worth a platform. Come up with something which is counter to reason, come up with something that fits the left narrative, agenda and helps propaganda and discredits all that is good and you can be promoted by universities which are no bastions of freedom or intellect, the Al Beeb and so it goes… And dare I add which tickles ears because it is new and demolishes that which is true, credible, moral and historically factual. Grandma disenchanted with the lies and foolishness of the so called intelligentsia and despairs at the way the west is allowing forces of evil and lies to take over.

  3. Well, no one can deny that Sands is an expert on sh*t as he talks nothing else. But why O why is this corrupter of young minds allowed to go on teaching at Tel Aviv University or even remain in the country he hates?

    • Because the lefties have hijacked higher learning: some of them directly complicit for the spread of normative antisemitism in our schools, others riding the post-colonial/post-modern education agenda in hopes of landing some unnecessary bureaucratic position in the gov’t. Bunch of useless twits.

      • Come now Daniel. Most of my direct family are either in teaching, have been, or just finished, higher education. Trough their political stand is none of your, or my, business but its none of what you refer to.

  4. Israel is far from being a shitty nation, but like anywhere else there are some shitty people there who insist on shitting where they eat.

    I give you Shlomo Sands as one.

    • You forgot to mention things for perspective:

      150 million Arabs (8500 are Jews) and 7.7 million Israelis (1.5 millions are Arabs)…

  5. Last year, A Palestinian man, Muhammad Abu Shahala, reportedly confessed under torture to selling his home in Hebron to a Jewish man. He has been sentenced to death after a hurried trial. Caroline Glick writes on her blog:

    The PA was established in May 1994. The first law it adopted defined selling land to Jews as a capital offense. Shortly thereafter scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.

    Leaders of the Jewish community of Hebron wrote a letter to international leaders this week asking them to intervene with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and demand that he cancel Shahala’s sentence. They addressed the letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the director-general of the International Red Cross, Yves Daccord, as well as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. In it they wrote, “It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a ‘capital crime’ punishable by death.

    “The very fact that such a ‘law’ exists within the framework of the PA legal system points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices implemented during the dark ages.”

    They went on to make the reasonable comparison between the PA’s law prohibiting land sales to Jews to Nazi Germany’s Nuremburg laws that constrained and finally outlawed trade between Jews and Germans. The letter concluded with the question, “Is the Palestinian Authority a reincarnation of the Third Reich?”

  6. Sand is a shitty historian with communist leanings who knows that what sells best is an Israeli Jew who is against Zionism, no matter how absurd his thesis.
    To stand out as an academic he has chosen to pander to sensationalism rather than to serious and creative research. Shitty work, professor!

  7. …what sells best is an Israeli Jew who is against Zionism…
    This is an interesting logical jump in his narrative -according to him there is no Jewish nation/ethnicity only religion. He’s obviously an atheist so how could he be a Jew too?
    I would be interested to know how he defines himself? An Israeli what? He’s not an Arab (an ethnicity), not a Christian, not a Muslim (religions) so what is he exactly apart from being a piece of trash? (Whether Israeli or not is irrelevant in his case).

    • “He’s obviously an atheist so how could he be a Jew too?”

      Sorry to disagree with you, but I’m also an atheist and I’m Jewish. And no one has the right to tell me I’m not.

      • Seems to me there is a misunderstanding here. I’m Jewish and an atheist too. I wrote about Sand’s opinion – according to it being Jewish means to be a believer in the Jewish religion – there is no Jewish people, no Jewish nation, no Jewish ethnicity.

    • I am an atheist and I am a Jew, a fervent Zionist too and seeker and spreader of truth. It is my atheistic leanings that fuel my desire to educate myself on truths rather than consume easy-to-digest lies. If you want to abide by the halakhic standards, then I am a heretic or something like that. Anyway, the fact is I love my rich history. I love studying it. I love my people, even the Haredim. I love my country, Israel, even though I don’t live there. Most of all, I love trying to instill that same pride in other young secular Jews who have no connection to the synagogue or Hebrew school.

      I really hope you reconsider your exclusive view of Jews as a people.

  8. SOAS used to be such a nice place when I visited fellow-students there.

    Ho hum. I suppose times have changed since Gladstone was PM.

    As for Sand:

    “The century of anti-Semitism between 1850 and 1950 is finished.”
    Of course – and the Holocaust lasted from 20 -21 January 1942.

  9. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/05/syria-loves-shlomo-sand.html

    Syria loves Shlomo Sand
    A symposium was held yesterday at the Lecture Hall of the al-Assad National Library in Damascus, as reported by Syrian’s official TV network website.

    The subject? “The Invention of the Jewish people.”

    Yes, the entire symposium was dedicated to the absurd ramblings of Shlomo Sand.

    The sponsors of the meeting was the “Syrian Arab Popular Committee to support the Palestinian people and resistance to the Zionist project.”

    I guess the only people who take Sand seriously are School of Oriental and African Studies in London – and the Syrian government.
    May 24, 2012

  10. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/05/latest-nonsense-from-shlomo-sand-land.html

    May 16, 2012

    Latest nonsense from Shlomo Sand – “The Land of Israel is a myth”
    Shlomo Sand, the academic with no background in history who wrote an absurdly ridiculous book “The Invention of the Jewish People” to much acclaim by anti-semites, has now come out with a new piece of fiction masquerading as scholarship.

    And the anti-Zionists are lapping it up.

    I don’t have the book, titled “The Invention of the Land of Israel,” but Yossi Gurwitz’s worshipful review at 972mag shows enough to prove that this book is as absurd as Sand’s previous work (and that Gurwitz is as much of a fraud as Sand is.)

    As with the previous book, when Sand makes a blanket statement as fact, all one needs to do is provide a single counterexample to prove that he is a fraud. And as with his previous work, it is trivial to do exactly that.

    The heart of Sand’s thesis is the intentional confusion in Zionism between the Halachic – Jewish law – concept of Eretz Israel (“The Land of Israel”, EI) and the concept of a place which is under Jewish sovereignty, and yearning for such a place. “Eretz Israel” is, originally, a Talmudic concept – not a biblical one – which delineates it as a territory that imposes extra religious obligations on Jews living in it, which Jews living outside of it are unburdened of.

    Really? There was no concept of Eretz Yisrael in the Bible? It originated in the Talmud?

    Tell that to Ezekiel, who quoted God as using that exact term when delineating the borders of the Land in Ezekiel 47.

    The term is also used in Ezekiel 40:2, in 1 Samuel 13:19, and in 2 Chronicles 34:7.

    Of course, for much of the times of the Prophets, it was divided into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah. The latter phrase is used another half dozen times in the Bible. Moreover, the phrase “Kingdom of Israel” was used a number of times, as it was more specific designation than “Land of Israel.”

    Is that enough to show that Sand is just making stuff up? Well, there’s more:
    The rabbis came up with the Three Vows, which forbade Jews from massively emigrating to Eretz Israel, forbade them from rebelling against the nations of the world (it’s worth noting the rabbis, servitors of the emperors, gave divine sanction to their rule), and the third vow is directed at the nations: “That they should not enslave Israel too much.” Rabbinical Judaism left Eretz Israel behind. Sand quotes some later rabbis who opposed emigrating to EI since the Halachic demands on those living in it are very high, and failure to meet them would make the land impure.
    The Three Oaths are based on a Midrash and it is far from clear that they are legally binding. But even here Sand is being deceptive, because the relevant oath was not against Jews “massively emigrating to Eretz Israel” but against “storming the wall.” What that exactly means is not clear but it probably means forcibly returning to Israel by war.

    The Talmudic discussion about this Midrash was referring to the desire of a single rabbi to move to Israel, not a “massive emigration.”

    It was clearly not forbidden for Jews to move to Israel, because many of these rabbis who Sand say ignored the Land did in fact make aliyah. Encyclopedia Judaica gives details:
    During the time of the Second Temple there were many immigrants to Ereẓ Israel. A famous example is the aliyah of Hillel, who went from Babylonia (Pes. 66a) poor and without means, and later became the head of the Sanhedrin (Suk. 20a), founding a long line of nesi’im (see *nasi). One of the high priests appointed by Herod was Hananel ha-Bavli, i.e., of Babylonia. Aliyah, mainly from Babylonia, did not cease after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 c.e.). Sources cite many immigrant scholars who achieved a prominent place in the Jewish community of Ereẓ Israel. In the third generation of tannaim after the destruction of the Temple (110–135 c.e.), Hanan ha-Miẓri (“of Egypt”; Yoma 63b) and Yose b. Dormaskos, who went from Damascus (Sif. Deut. 1), are mentioned. The next generation (135–170 c.e.) included R. Johanan ha-Sandelar of Alexandria (tj, Ḥag. 3:1, 78d) and R. Nathan ha-Bavli, who was the son of the exilarch in Babylonia. Among the fifth generation of tannaim are (170–200) R. Ḥiyya the Great, the disciple and colleague of Judah ha-Nasi (Er. 73a), and Issi b. Judah (Pes. 113b), both of whom emigrated from Babylonia, and Menahem the Gaul (i.e., France; tj, Ber. 4:4, 8b).

    Aliyah from Babylonia did not cease in the amoraic period, despite the fact that the great centers of Jewish scholarship were located there. Of the first generation of amoraim (220–250), R. Ḥanina b. Ḥama, a disciple of Judah ha-Nasi and one of the greatest amoraim in Ereẓ Israel, emigrated from Babylonia (tj, Pe’ah 7:4, 20a). In the second generation (250–290), Eleazar b. Pedat, rosh yeshivah in Tiberias (Ḥul. 111b), R. Zakkai (tj, Shab. 7:1, 9a) and R. Ḥiyya b. Joseph (Ḥul. 54a), who emigrated from Babylonia, and Ḥinena Kartigna’ah (of Carthage; tj, Shab. 16:2, 15c) are mentioned. The latter attests emigration from Africa. Two amoraim called Rav Kahana also emigrated from Babylonia (Zev. 59a). There was a particularly large aliyah among the third generation of amoraim (290–320), some of the immigrants forming the leadership of the Jewish community in Ereẓ Israel. Prominent among them were: R. Abba (Ket. 112a); R. Avina (tj, Shev. 4:2, 35a); R. Oshaiah and his brother Hananiah (Sanh. 14a); R. Assi, the colleague of R. Ammi, who was rosh yeshivah of Tiberias (mk 25a); R. Zera, a central figure of both Talmuds (Ket. 112a); R. Ḥiyya b. Abba (Shab. 105b); and R. Ḥelbo (Yev. 64b; tj, Ta’an. 2:1, 65a); R. Yudan of Gaul (Lev. R. 20:4); R. Jeremiah, who later became rosh yeshivah at Tiberias (Ket. 75a); R. Samuel b. Isaac (tj, Ber. 3:5, 6d); R. Samuel of Cappadocia in Asia Minor (Ḥul. 27b); R. Simlai (tj, Pes. 5:3, 32a); and others. In the fourth generation (320–350) the well-known immigrants included: Ray Huna b. R. Avin (tj, rh 2:2, 59a), R. Haggai (mk, 25a), R. Yudan of Cappadocia (tj, Ber. 3:1, 6a), and R. Kahana (tj, rh 2:6, 59b).
    So far from Sand’s thesis that the rabbis abandoned Israel and discouraged aliyah, many prominent members of their ranks actually moved to Israel themselves. If the Land of Israel was unimportant in Talmudic times, why would they do that?

    Oh well, Sand is proven a liar again. And his selective quoting of “some later rabbis” discouraging aliyah is shown to be more of an anomaly than a mainstream view, and proves that he is using sources selectively.

    As the article goes on to say, it was Christian persecution of Jews in Israel that slowed aliyah down dramatically after this, not any supposed “oath” based on a non-halachic midrash. Indeed, Maimonides himself – who counseled the Jews of Yemen not to rebel against their rulers based on his interpretation of the three oaths – moved to Israel himself, and Nachmanides declared moving to Israel to be obligatory.

    All of this of course predated Zionism by the better part of a millennium.

    So Sand is again shown to be an academic fraud, cherry picking sources that he pretends proves his point and even taking them out of context when it suits him.

    The only people who take him seriously are those who desperately want to believe him, because they have already made up their minds that Zionism is the world’s biggest evil.
    11
    Posted by Elder of Ziyon at 11:33 PM 476 Comments and 0 Reactions

  11. He says that Israelis, Jews, see themselves as part of a very large nation. Large? This is the first I’ve heard of it.

  12. I notice that he caled Israel a “shitty racist” country yet he is happy to remain in Israel teaching at a major Israeli university and paid a large salary by the taxpayers of a country he considers “shitty and racist” Hmmm maybe “Prof” shlomo sand should apply for a teaching post at a university in Tehran, Cairo or Jeddah and then he may experience real racism

  13. Lee Kaplan also rebukes the liar Sand.

    http://www.wnd.com/2009/10/113092/

    MARXIST PROF: THE JEWS WERE INVENTED
    Exclusive: Lee Kaplan decries NYU event showcasing theory of Israeli author
    10/16/2009

    A “Marxist Theory Colloquium,” that is, a conference at which scholars or other experts present papers on, analyze and discuss a specific topic, is taking place at New York University today with the principal speaker being an Israeli history professor who says the Jewish people was invented in order to justify the taking of the Holy Land from the Arabs, and that today’s Palestinians are in fact the descendants of the real Jews from biblical times.

    The guest speaker is a history professor at Tel Aviv University named Shlomo Sand who recently published a book titled “The Invention of the Jewish People.” Sand has been called a pseudo-historian by organizations that monitor anti-Israel academics working in Israeli universities.

    The meeting has been promoted by an NYU “professor of media ecology” named Mark Crispin Miller who claims his expertise is in “modern propaganda, history and tactics of advertising.” However, the Sand theory of today’s Israeli Jews being part of an invention to steal Arab/Muslim land is being presented as scholarly fact and not as another form of anti-Israel propaganda. Miller has also written books claiming the 2000 and 2004 elections of George W. Bush were “stolen” and that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government.

    Whereas a colloquium is classified as an open forum to debate ideas, professor Miller’s event is clearly defined to present Shlomo Sand’s book as fact. On his blog, Miller writes, “It is an extremely scholarly, very original and often shocking work – the title is meant literally – with profound implications for Zionism and the ongoing conflict between Israel and its neighbors.”

    However, Sand’s book is replete with historical inaccuracies. For one thing, it claims there is no historical evidence that Jews were forced out of Israel into the Diaspora after the Third Jewish Revolt. Numerous historians of Rome have long ago confirmed that the Roman Coliseum was built by Jewish slaves. The ruins of Pompeii show the corpses of Jewish slaves left behind as caretakers when the volcano erupted wiping out the city. During the siege of Masada, the Roman armies brought in Jewish slaves who were simply worked to death without water because the nearest water was deemed too far away in Ein Gedi to transport it to the site. At the time, a Jewish slave was considered of lesser value than a horse and they were dispersed throughout the empire because the Jewish nation had revolted more often than any other Roman colony.

    The Romans, in fact, after the Third Revolt changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and forbade circumcision. Israel was renamed Philistia (which later become Palestine in English) after the Philistines (once the greatest enemy of the Jews) as an insult. Jews, however, still maintained a presence in the Holy Land for millennia afterward even after pogroms by the Roman occupiers.

    Part of Sand’s thesis is based on the existence of the Kingdom of Khazaria that once existed near the Black Sea that converted to Judaism circa A.D. 1200. The pagan king there converted his people, of Turkic Asian extraction, to Judaism as a compromise between the expanding Christian and Muslim hordes on his doorsteps. Khazaria disappeared after being defeated and swallowed up by Russia. Sand maintains that Ashkenazic or European Jews are the descendants of Khazarians (including Sand’s parents) and have no title to the land of Israel. His theory ignores the fact that less than half of Israel’s Jews are of Ashkenazic origin, most coming from the Middle East. Sand also explains that Yiddish, a bastardized German spoken by European Jews, was developed from the Turkish language of the Khazars with a few borrowed German words. However, Yiddish contains no Turkish or Asian words in it at all.

    Roman records tell us that there were sizable Jewish communities along the Rhine as the Empire died out that then moved further into Germany. In addition, Khazars as converts would not have so many Cohens or Levis, the priestly Jewish class, as exist in the modern Ashkenazic community.

    Rather than being a groundbreaking or original scholarly work, Sand’s book is just a rehashing of anti-Semitic tracts distributed by a Jewish convert to Christianity in the pay of Arab interests named Benjamin Freedman who claimed the same historical nonsense from about 1946 to 1961. The only difference was that Freedman also tried to claim falsely that the Jewish Talmud encourages pedophilia and sex with animals. Freedman’s career was built on first opposing a Jewish state from the U.N. and later to alienate American Christian support away from the Jews. Sand merely took Freedman’s thesis and spruced it up for anti-Israel groups to use as propaganda against the Jewish state.

    Sand also tries to claim today’s Palestinians are the real Jews who were forcibly converted to Islam after the seventh century. This, too, is academically false, as the majority of Arabs and Muslims residing in Israel and the Palestinian Authority today immigrated to the region in the mid 20th century as a result of the Zionist movement.

    “The Invention of the Jewish People” is published and distributed by Verso Books in London, a firm that used to be called New Left Books. It is a publishing house that specializes in Marxist, Communist, Maoist, anti-Israel and even pro-jihadist literature for radical groups and bookstores. Its most recent book is proudly promoted as having been written by and expressing the wisdom of Osama bin Laden. Shlomo Sand is a lifelong communist who has run with Israel’s Communist Party factions since his teens. In adhering to the old Soviet party line, most communist parties in Israel are opposed to the existence of a Jewish state.

    Part of the anti-Israel campaign on U.S. campuses is to suggest that Jews in America need not support a Jewish or “Zionist” state where Israel is in order to be Jewish. The number of Jewish students at New York University is staggering in terms of the student population there, so what better place to have a Marxist professor like Miller and pseudo-historian like Shlomo Sand from Tel Aviv University come and speak to explain that the Jewish people was nothing more than an invention to justify taking Palestine from the Arabs. However, the event is really just another form of anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish state masquerading as an academic discussion to indoctrinate impressionable students.

  14. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/02/gilbert-achcar-and-shlomo-sand-peas-in.html

    Gilbert Achcar and Shlomo Sand: Peas in a pod
    Friday, February 11, 2011

    From Richard Millett’s blog:
    Gilbert Achcar asked me to leave last night’s talk at SOAS given by Shlomo Sand. If I didn’t he said he would call security.

    The talk was called On the Nation and the ‘Jewish People’, although it was all taken from Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People.

    For an hour I bit my lip while Sand tore into the idea that the Jews had any connection with Israel. He said there had never been an exile of the Jews under the Romans and so, as there was no exile, there could never be a return.

    But all Israeli school textbooks spoke of this mythical “exile” he said.

    He claimed the Jews were merely a religious phenomenon and as they came from all over the world, and so had no connection with each other, they could not be described as “a people”. Sand is an Israeli Jewish atheist.

    Today’s Jews, he said, are just descendants of converts from African tribes i.e. the Khazars and the Berbers. These tribes had simply converted en masse to Judaism.

    Zionists had only recently taken Jewish myths and cultured them into a nationalist ideology.

    But Jews had never wanted to originally go to Palestine. Only after 1924, when America closed the gates, and eventually the British too, did they finally set sail for Palestine….

    Then, after defining Nazi Germany as an ethnocentric state, he said he was against Israel being defined as a Jewish state because “I am sure it will finish with the massacre in the Galilee, because 20% are non-Jews in this state”.

    What is the point of an unopposed two hour verbal attack on Israel and the Jewish people at a British university? No one learns a thing apart from more anti-Israel propaganda.

    During the Q&A I asked Sand what is the problem with the Jews calling themselves “a people” if they wanted to. He might not like it but most Jews think of themselves as being part of “a people”. That is how nationalism works.

    I challenged him on whether Jewish history really spoke of the Jews being “exiled” by the Romans. Instead, the Jews had lost sovereignty to the Romans and many Jews left the area to become the Jewish diaspora. Therefore, Jews have a historical right to return.

    What about “Next Year in Jerusalem” and the ancient religious festivals when Jews look to return to Israel and Jerusalem one day? Was that all made up by Zionists?

    Anita Shapira’s destruction of Sand’s book is good on this.

    Sand answered that 93% of the Jews living under the Romans were peasants and so they couldn’t leave. And diaspora Jews had only ever thought of Israel as a “Holy Land”, not as a “Home land”. “Israel” is a theological notion, not a political one.

    Jews felt that the land did not belong to them, but to G-d and Jews went to Palestine only to die, not to live, so they could be the first to be resurrected when the Messiah came.

    I understood the religiousness of the “Holy Land” point he was making but Sand wasn’t answering my main question: What is wrong with Jewish nationalism?

    I called him a coward for not answering that question, which eventually spurred him into action.

    “The Jews only came to Palestine because the doors to America and Britain were closed,” he screamed at the audience.

    Even if that were true it still doesn’t preclude Jews from recognising themselves as “a people” and calling for a Jewish state.

    It is not too disimilar from what the Palestinians have done. Many of them are not indigenous to what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories either, but came to the area when Jews started arriving from Europe. But they are also demanding a state.

    I continued to try to question Sand but he just mocked me for being a Zionist who can’t speak Hebrew and who doesn’t even live in Israel like he does.

    By then Achcar was out of his chair and bearing down on me insisting that I leave or he would call security.

    I refused to leave but sat there, silent, like a good boy for the rest of the Q&A.

    On the way out I was surrounded by people wanting to lecture me, including one woman who insisted that I apologise to Sand for calling him Shlomo, instead of Mr Sand, and a coward.
    I already exposed Achcar as an academic fraud in his book.

    As far as Sand goes….Saturday afternoon prayers ask G-d rhetorically, “Who is like the people of Israel, a unique nation in the world?” These are not Biblical words but words written during Rabbinic times – after the Diaspora began.

    That’s just one tiny example of how Jews always considered themselves a nation.

    Their desire to return to Israel is not only mentioned in the annual recitations of “Next Year in Jerusalem” but also multiple times in daily prayers.

    Not only that, but non-Jews universally recognized Jews as a nation, as I mentioned recently.

    If a group of people call themselves a nation and the world agrees (and even admits where that nation’s land is), its hard to argue that there’s no nation there.

    Sand’s postulating the discredited Khazar theory shows he has no intellectual integrity at all. But since I cannot resist demolishing arguments, here are a couple:

    Some Jews are descendants of Aaron (Kohanim) and Levi (Leviim.) Kohanim and Leviim have different roles in the religion and that status gets handed down from fathers to sons. If all Jews are converts from Khazaria, how did many of them turn into Kohanim and Leviim?

    Moreover, there is a continual written record of Jewish legal issues from the Mishna through the rest of the Talmud through the Geonic period, Rishonim and later. If there was an influx of a huge number of converted Jews coming out of Khazaria, it would have engendered many new questions and legal rulings regarding their status as Jews. Where are they?

    Not only that, but to get to the level of expert legal knowledge required by leading rabbis is a long educational process. How could a large group of new converts gain such expertise so thoroughly that they could be accepted by the existing Jewish communities without any record of them attending any existing institutions of Jewish study? Jewish law is nothing if not complex.

    Finally, as to Sand’s point that Jews did not go to Israel to live but to die, there are a host of prominent Jews who moved to Israel far before the First Aliyah. Speaking of, that event also predates Sand’s bizarre claim that Jews didn’t move to Israel until 1924. By 1924 there was already a nascent Jewish political infrastructure in Palestine.

    Two liars, pretending to be academics, sharing the platform at an anti-Israel event, where an idiotic audience eats it up. This is a sick world.

    • Yes, a very sick world. There was a time, not too long ago, that crackpots like Sand would be shunned by the academy. We know that anti-Semitism (now mostly masquerading as anti-Zionism) never disappeared, as many hoped. It just retreated for a while in the aftermath of the Holocaust. But it’s back now, as larger and larger segments of academia, media, and the chattering classes clamour for anyone they can find to help confirm their sick prejudice. All a person needs is a veneer of seeming authority and voila, he’s a big hit.

      Many books have been written about the peculiar phenomenon of anti-Semitism. I’ve come to believe that it’s not only a sickness of the soul, but in many cases, borderline psychosis.

      Consider this- Jewish dietary laws forbid the consumption of any foods that contain blood. Observant Jews throughout history have salted meat to speed the process of removing blood so that it can be prepared for consumption, and their non-Jewish neighbors have been aware of this. And yet, the canard that Jews extract the blood of Gentile children to make matzos (or some variant of this) has persisted through the ages, resulting in pogroms, murders, rapes, etc., of Jews. And so I would ask the people who accepted this canard, “You’re aware that Jews do not consume blood, and go to great lengths to ensure that they avoid it at all costs, and yet you believe this canard. Do you know that you’ve denied reality, no different than if you claimed that the sun did not exist?” It’s insanity, fucking insanity.

  15. City University, London, has the right idea. It has recently come down hard on its Islamic Society because of its past history of distinctly iffy connections and activities, see http://www.think-israel.org/barron.turnmulticulturalism.html. SOAS, however, being distinctly of the opposite persuasion, provides a fertile swamp for this sort of hatred to develop.

    You don’t say whether questions were allowed and/or whether there were any nay-sayers or it was a stacked audience as is often the case in SOAS.

    Well done, Richard for shining the light on these swamp-dwellers once again

  16. Ahh, I see that you were asked to leave, Richard. Sand’s ego was so paper-thin that he couldn’t bear the sort of criticism you would have offered had you been allowed. Well, quelle surprise!

  17. Pingback: Where “multiculturalism” fails with Islam | A Lot Of Coffee and Sleepless Nights

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