New Statesman

Pondlife Buried in the Sand

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman

Yesterday night Shlomo Sand spoke at SOAS. It was again chaired by Jonathan Derbyshire, the literary Editor of the New Statesman.

Unbelievably there were as many as 300 there, only one of whom (me) made a critical comment. He must have sold over 50 books afterwards.

I challenged him on his ‘rape’ comment on BBC R4 ‘Start The Week’ on Monday:

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?

After the meeting I hung around to talk. A British white guy – well dressed, plummy accent – asked me if I was British. I said I was. “Well you can’t be, if you are Jewish” he said – several times, before I told him he was a Nazi. That’s the kind of pondlife these events attract, like fleas to a dog.


Here is a new post on my earlier thread about Sand which just goes to prove my point:

Shlomo Sand’s agent

George Galloway, Birmingham University:

To those who believed that the Israeli state was the natural and just creation for a Jewish people exiled from their homeland in biblical times and wandering rootless ever since, Galloway said this was a fable, and a ridiculous one at that. Highlighting a new book by the leading Israeli historian Sholomo Sand, ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’, he said Jewish claims to a 2,000 year old lineage that justified theft of Palestinian land had about the same credabilty as the ‘descendents of the Romans, Normans, and Vikings’ laying claim on Britain today.

Oslo had been a disaster for the Palestinians and Zionist aggression has killed the possibility of a two-state solution. The only solution was now a single state, called either ‘Israel/Palestine or Palestine/Israel and running from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea’ in which all people are entitled to live as equal citizens under the law.

Addendum #2

How telling that Sand’s research has never – and will never – be discussed at an academic conference. See Kevin Brook here.

28 replies »

  1. The extent of dishonesty of anti-Semites can be astounding. For example, the Holocaust changed Einstein’s views of Zionism from sympathetic scepticism to outright support. However, the Socialist site linked above has Galloway implying Einstein refused the Israeli Presidency due to political disapproval.

    The truth may be a stranger to Galloway but is easy to locate on the net, in Einstein’s own words, here:

    I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength.

    I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world.

    Translation: Albert Einstein Archives, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  2. The attempts to undermine the entitlement of the Jewish people to a state of their own are obviously not working, so these charmers are now trying (and will again fail, given their chosen spokesperson) to undermine the actual existence of a Jewish people.

    No Jewish people = no need for a Jewish state.

    Despicable and reprehensible but given the biases of the proposers of these arguments, completely to be expected.

    And easily refuted.

  3. Thank you to the Pakistani gentleman who sympathised with me after the attack by the English Nazi last night.

  4. SM

    I say in the post: “A British white guy – well dressed, plummy accent – asked me if I was British. I said I was.

    “Well you can’t be, if you are Jewish” he said – several times, before I told him he was a Nazi.”

  5. It won’t be long till they dig up Sigmund Freud’s letter he wrote circa 1930 declining an offer to give a talk in support of the Yishuv. Sooner than Einstein, he soon changed his mind about the need for a Jewish State in Palestine. Probably by 1938 when he was forced to take refuge in London.

    Good work, Mr Hoffmann. The SOAS is notorious. Galloway is a buffoon. Btw. wasn’t he once married or engaged to an Arab lady?

  6. Jonathan, well done!

    Perhaps this British Nazi was reacting in the only way he knew how – so familiar to people with a CiF mentality – to a proud Jew who had the temerity to stand up for himself.

    More power to you.

  7. re Shlomo Sand’s “agent.”

    How are the book sales doing? You see, I can’t see scum like Galloway endorsing anything unless there’s something in it for him.

  8. By the way, I attempted to post the above Einstein citation to Galloway’s friends, the Socialist Unity site linked by Jonathan. The site deleted the citation and banned the id. They (and the Guardian) learnt well from the NKVD.

  9. More concerning Galloway’s lies in the area of Einstein’s suport for Zionism, from a review of the recent Jerome book on Einstein and Zionism:

    But Einstein also appears heady and optimistic about the Zionism idea too. In a 1929 letter to Willy Hellpach, the German Democratic Party mayor of Baden who was critical of Zionism, Einstein wrote that “as a strong devotee of the Zionist idea” he felt compelled to explain his endorsement of a Jewish homeland. “I saw worthy Jews basely caricatured [in Germany], and the sight of it made my heart bleed. … Then I realized that only a common enterprise dear to the heart of the Jews all over the world could restore this people to their health.” He continues: “The establishment of a national home or, more accurately, a center in Palestine, was a suitable object on which to concentrate our efforts.”

  10. His third and final London appearance was tonight at the Front Line Club, a journalists’ club in Paddington.

    About 180 were there. Avi Shlaim also spoke and Jacqueline Rose chaired – thoroughly sycophantically.

    Sand ducked my questions. I asked him about the antisemitic misuse of the ‘chosen people’ phrase (p313 of the book); about why he ignored archaeological and genetic evidence for the existence of the Jewish people in Israel in biblical times; and why he has never submitted his ideas at an academic conference of specialists in Jewish history. The questions were asked in batches of three and he answered the other two but not mine. I remonstarted and he told me that he recognised me from the previous two meetings and just as I had the right to ask the questions, he had the right not to answer.

    Draw your own conclusion…….

  11. The campaign of cutural cleansing espoused by the leftists-Islamist alliance – from Sand to Columbia U prof Abu El-Haj – is belied by the evidence for three millennia or more of Jewish identity, which is not only present archaeologically but often literally cast in stone – Roman arches, Egyptian stele, the Amarna docuents, Assyrian stele, ……

  12. Jonathan, thanks for telling us what took place at the two most recent Sand events, and for hinting at how I’m one of his leading critics.

    As for the genetic evidence Sand habitually ignores, the most interesting evidence may be the close connection the geneticists found between Diaspora Jews and the Samaritans, who had kept apart from each other and not intermarried since before the time of the Exile – except a few Jewish women admitted into the Samaritan community in the past several decades.

    I haven’t had my book “The Jews of Khazaria” covered in any British media save The Jewish Quarterly. The Jewish Chronicle reviewed Koestler’s book back in 1976, and interviewed Sand this week, but has not yet discussed my book. I hope that changes. I sent them an email a few hours ago. I’m pretty sure I had reached them years ago as well.

  13. I wonder if George Galloway believes Muhammed’s ascent to heaven from Jerusalem was a “fable”:

    “Along with Galloway, two renowned spiritual leaders will share the stage to offer a compelling and inspiring narration of Isra and Mi’raj. Isra and Mi’raj is the miraculous journey through the heavens embarked on by Prophet Muhammad from the holy city of Jerusalem. Imam Khalid Latif and Sayed Ammar Nakshawani will offer their audience more than a beautiful retelling of a momentous event. They will explore the historical and spiritual significance of Isra and Mi’raj– and more importantly, its implications for our world today.”

  14. Naturally Sand has been picked up already on CIF by an “expert on ME affairs”:

    13 Nov 2009, 6:56PM
    The entire premise upon which the creation of Israel was justified has come under intense scrutiny after historian Shlomo Sands, interviewed on BBC radio 4 Start the Week said that his new book based on an exhaustive research found that overwhelmingly Jews were converts and did not have any ancestral ties to the Holy Land. There is just no evidence for ties, on the contrary all the evidence points the other way.

    Here is an extract from an interview in the Israeli paper Haaretz :

    Shattering a national mythology

  15. Has anyone seen this?

    Alyth Synagogue London: Wednesday 18 November 7.30pm Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) event – “Nowhere to Belong: tales of an extravagant stranger”. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will perform her one woman, Shakespeare inspired show about the challenges of belonging. Tickets £20 pre booked / £25 at the door.

    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has made many antisemitic comments. She went to all three Party Conferences and then wrote “all three parties were lavishly entertained by the over-influential Friends of Israel”.

    Who will they invite next … George Galloway? Nick Griffin?

  16. I recently called Mr. Sand in Paris, where he is on sabbatical, to ask if he is concerned that “The Invention of the Jewish People” will be exploited for pernicious ends. “I don’t care if crazy anti-Semites in the United States use my book,” he said in Israeli-accented English. “Anti-Semitism in the West, for the moment, is not a problem.” Still, he is worried about how the forthcoming Arabic translation might be received in the Muslim world, where, he says, anti-Semitism is growing. I ask if the confident tenor of his book might exacerbate the problem. He falls quiet for a moment. “Maybe my tone was too affirmative on the question of the Khazars,” he reluctantly concedes. “If I were to write it today I would be much more careful.” Such an admission, however, is unlikely to sway the sinister conspiracists who find the Khazar theory a useful invention.

    —Mr. Goldstein is a staff editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education.