New Statesman

Shlomo the Sandlout

The antisemitic lies of Shlomo Sand are a regular feature of “Comment is Free” in its I/P threads. Shlomo Sand is currently on tour promoting his book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Below is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman sharing with us his experiences at one such event organized by the New Statesman.

On Monday night I went to hear Shlomo Sand who is doing three London meetings this week to promote the English translation of his book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. In the book Sand attempts to prove that the Jewish people never existed as a “nation-race” with a common origin. His thesis is that Jews are a rag-tag collection of flotsam and jetsam that at various stages of history just happened to adopt the same religion. He argues that for a number of Zionist ideologues, the mythical perception of the Jews as an ancient people led to racist thinking.

Tonight’s meeting was sponsored by the New Statesman magazine. Yes the same magazine of the ‘left’ that in February 2002 had to apologise for the antisemitic cartoon on its cover in an issue in January of the same year.

Tonight Sand was up against Denis MacShane MP who has written a book about antisemitism.

Sand had already given us a taste of his style (unbelievably he is a Professor of History at Tel Aviv University) on Start The Week on BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning.

I’m not a Zionist. I don’t define myself as an anti-Zionist …. but I’m not a Zionist …  I don’t put into question the existence of Israel. I compare when I am speaking before Arab students the birth of the Israeli state to an act of rape. But even the son that was born of the act of rape….. you have to recognise him … the existence of Israel I don’t put in question today, you understand me?

Andrew Marr and the other bien pensants on Start The Week (Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tony Marchant, Sue Brown) swallowed it all completely uncritically – fawningly even.

Unfortunately Denis MacShane was delayed by a vote in Parliament. Sand had ten minutes to present what Seth Frantzman called his “revisionist pseudo-history of the Jewish People” and then he was questioned – again uncritically – by Jonathan Derbyshire, the literary Editor of the New Statesman.

Eventually MacShane did arrive. He spoke about his visit to Israel as part of a trade union delegation and noted that the Sand event coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. He did not feel qualified to get into the ‘Who Is a Jew?” debate but noted that the Hamas Charter was not particularly bothered about the precise definition. Disgracefully MacShane was interrupted by two people in the audience who felt he was not addressing the book.

Then to the Q+A. There have been plenty of critical reviews of the book. My favourite is Frantzman’s but there are also articles by Halkin, Greenstein, Bartal and Shapira. And Skorecki has done DNA research which shows that the same array of chromosomal markers was found in 97 of 106 Cohens tested (a Cohen is a descendant of the Priests in the High Temple). Sand claims that many Jews are descended from Khazars but the genetic research finds no link.

I had a chance to see the book before the talk. The final chapter is full of lies, here is an example:

Page 281: “The most important mission to be undertaken by the new state [of Israel] was the renewal, as best it could, of those who definitely did not regard themselves as Jews.”

And then he slips into the overtly antisemitic:

Page 292: “Jewish and Democratic – An Oxymoron?”

Page 313: “To what extent is Jewish Israeli society willing to discard the deeply embedded image of the “chosen people”?”

I told him his book was antisemitic, citing the “chosen people” trope. I asked him how it was that the Khazars could “demographically probably” be the fathers of the 3 million Polish Jews who existed in the 20th century, when they had no Khazar names, spoke Yiddish and contained numerous Cohens and Levis who could not possibly be of Khazar ancestry (such status is obtained from the patrilineal line and cannot be obtained via conversion). (Frantzman makes this point). I also asked him why he wrote the book – was it for notoriety or was it for money?

He failed to answer. He also failed to answer Richard Millett who pointed out that Hamas was not prepared to give the Jews any land area (Sand had said that the Jews were allocated too much land by the UN in 1947). Richard was heckled – uproar broke out. The meeting ended and I heard Sand got even more loutish later. It is a toss up between Sand and Caryl Churchill (of Seven Jewish Children) as to who distorts Jewish history more.

As Seth Frantzman writes: “If the Jews never really existed then why did Islam and Christianity spend so much time suppressing them?”

59 replies »

  1. I came to Sand’s book having written two books exposing the myth of a British national hero – I.K Brunel. I have no knowledge of the history Sands writes about. I am absolutely convinced of the actuality of the massacre of Jews by the Nazis. I have met survivors and also was in the British army with soldiers who had liberated the death camps. I have often wondered over the years, now and then (I am now in my 70th year) whether Jews are a religion not a race. Surely, I thought, the Jews are Arabs who have their own religion of One God. I never knew if I was right – but it was a thought that occurred to me. I am familiar with ‘spin’. I found Sand’s books absolutely terrificly good history. He has done on a large scale what I have done on a tiny scale – put the record straight. What he lays out in his book is just fascinating. I beleive he is right in his assertions. It is not an anti-semitic book – it is an anti-Zionist myth book which is what is needed if the State of Israel is founded on fiction. No-one is superior to historic truth. Nobody.


  2. I think Sands is spot on and we people of the book should be able to deal with it. There is no record of a great kingdom of Israel. Ancient history was coopted by the people from Babylon around 500BC, the septuigent was an effort to present a common front of the ancient stories. A book by John Sandler in 1650 convinced Cromwell that the british were of the lost tribes,zionism is pretty much racist and probably from Tzvi’s time before his islam conversion and then on to the jacobean’s. The talmund is as bad as the koran and the early works of the catholic church. Much thanx is due the “jewish” people for saving the old stories but much harm has come from within that group as well. Jews are the chosen people only as much as they are chosen to be the servants of the people in these exciting times. Alas Babylon and its usury which is at the core of our problems now

  3. Sand, Vaughan, and David Ezra would be wiser to keep their mouths shut and be thought foolish, than open their mouths and confirm it.

    More than a dozen archaeological proofs exist of ancient Israelite kingdom(s):

    – Merneptah stele

    – Mesha stele

    – Shishaq relief

    – Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

    – Tel Dan stele

    – Taylor prism

    – Lachish relief

    – Lachish letters

    – Kurkh Monolith

    – Amarna letters

    – LMLK seals

    – Elephantine papyri

    – Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III

  4. “He told us he is “forbidden” to teach or speak within academe on Jewish History, as the department of Jewish History and General History, which is where he teaches are strictly segregated. I would like to hear comment on this from someone within Israeli academe, as it sounds more likely that contractual terms around what he is qualified to teach may be the issue”

    This breathtakingly ignorant prick is not qualified to teach anything, except maybe French cinema. He has NIL qualifications in the fields covered by his book. Chariots of the Gods has more scientific credibility than Sand’s antisemitic scribblings.

  5. Just to touch up on the (self-) invention point: the entire Christian and Moslem Worlds are made up of people(s) who reinvented themselves as Christians and Moslems; so if that is OK for geese it is all right for gander.

    The fundamental point is people are entitled to their choice of individual and collective sovereignty and self determination within the limits of Article IV of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen that, “Liberty consists of being able to do what does not harm others, as long as it does not interfere with others’ enjoyment of these self same rights.”

    In this respect the Palestine and other Arab persistence in trying to impose themselves on Jewish Israeli self-determination as from their rejection with violence of UN 181, is disgraceful. Everybody else gets the Jews and trades-unions they deserve, why should Arabs be an exception?

  6. The Herzl family according to his biographers have records back to about 1800 and sketchier records back to the late 1600’s.
    I found from my own family research that people have pretty good oral records to their grandparents and then slips and confusions appear. If you have a (great) grandparent t otalk to, your record back to their grandparent will be fairly accurate though incomplete in parts about cousins.

  7. It struck me that this idiot says that the Jews invented themselves but that the Moslems know from the Koran that there were Jews living here when they themselves were invented by Mohammed their founder.