Back in the Day

Is It Good for the Jews?

Taking exception to Israel's homeland status.

Book Cover Let's face it, the Jews have long been a troublesome people for the rest of the planet. Of course, that topic or virtually anything to do with Jews is a minefield of issues especially since the Jews control the media and the banks and a speck of dust on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. For most people, their latent anti-Semitism is a barely a tic on their panoply of biases and disaffections. But there is that crucial and volatile problem which is, of course, the state of Israel and its right to exist. And more to the point the claims made to reify that right together with oil imperialism, the clash of civilizations, and again the millenia-old contempt for the the Christ killers--all of which have dovetailed into the great cauldron of dilemmas we know as the Middle East.

One can take it on board that every nation and ethnicity has a mythology of creation. Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, in his bestselling (outside the U.S.) and award-winning (in France) The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso), examines the myths and correspondent taboos about Jewish/Israeli history, beginning with questioning whether there was a forced exile in the first century at the hands of the Romans. Essentially, Sands argues most Jews actually descend from converts widely dispersed across the Middle East and Eastern Europe--a stance that casts historic geographic claims in a harsh new light. Which also shines on the millenia-old claim of Jewish distinct ethnicity.

Historian Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945), not a favorite of the Israel lobby, gushes: "...a remarkable book. In cool, scholarly prose he has, quite simply, normalized Jewish history... Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book."

Debunking of age-old myths aside, that's why you should know about this book.
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