Hear Shlomo Sand at the RSA, Thursday 10th February, 12:00pm

Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People was an attempt to undermine the ideology of the religious Zionists of the settler movement by questioning Jewish national identity.

Scholar of nation states Anita Shapira ended her review of the book:

“The assertion that there is no Jewish people is shared by many groups: Jews who would like to appropriate a different national identity or challenge every national framework whatsoever; people looking for reasons of every sort and type to question the links between the different Jewish communities; those who object both to the bond between the Jewish people and the land of Israel and to that people’s right to a state of its own. To deny the existence of the Jewish people sometimes stems from a search for universalism, sometimes from considerations of a rival nationalism, sometimes from mere hatred of Jews, and sometimes from intolerance of an entity that does not fit into the neat definitions of nation and religion. Sand would like to promote a new Israeli agenda, striving for harmony between Jews and Arabs, to be based on the remodeling of Jewish identity. However positive the goals he is targeting may be in their own right, there is something warped and objectionable in the assumption that for Jews to integrate into the Middle East, they, and they alone of all the peoples in the region, must shed their national identity and historical memories and reconstruct themselves in a way that may (perhaps) find favor with Israeli-Palestinians.”

Evan Goldstein in the WSJ:

“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.”

The book’s particular line of argument found favour with antisemitic interests such as Gilad Atzmon, whose response to it was reproduced without commentary on the book’s official site.

You can see Shlomo Sand speak at the RSA in Charing Cross on Thursday 10th February at 12:00 – the event is free but booking is necessary. A recording will be freely available after the event.

Update: the event is now fully booked, but you can watch it webcast live.

35 Responses to “Hear Shlomo Sand at the RSA, Thursday 10th February, 12:00pm”

  1. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    “Anti-Semitism in the West, for the moment, is not a problem.”

    Sand has no clue about antisemitism in the West. But of course this is the mantra of antisemitic – pardon – antizionist groups.

  2. Zkharya Says:

    Here is the review of Martin Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies, Oxford:

    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AXaK5w3WAyCmYWg2c3hqbmRxOXFxXzQzNHhwdHA1NWhm&hl=en

    From the introduction:

    ‘In ad 67, a year after the Jews of Jerusalem had begun their war against Rome, a certain Antiochus, the son of the leader of the local Jewish community in the great city of Antioch in Syria, brought about a massacre of some in this community by alleging that his fellow Jews were plotting to burn the city to the ground. Those who survived were compelled, at Antiochus’s instigation, to sacrifice in the pagan manner: Antiochus wanted to prove his change of allegiance, and he knew the most effective way to attack his fellow Jews. Soon afterwards the remaining Jews were accused of responsibility for a fire which did in fact burn down the market square and surrounding buildings. The Roman authorities only with great difficulty restrained the local mob from killing the rest of the Jews in the city, even though it turned out on investigation that the incendiaries had been not Jews, but debtors who had hoped to free themselves from their burdens by destroying the public archives.

    What was to happen to these diaspora Jews when, some three years later, the city of Antioch was visited by Titus, conqueror of Judaea, who had destroyed Jerusalem so thoroughly as to “leave future visitors to the spot no ground for believing it had ever been inhabited”? The people of Antioch greeted Titus with acclamations and a petition to expel the Jews from their city, to which Titus responded that this was not possible: “their own fatherland, to which, being Jews, they ought to be banished, has been destroyed, and no place would now receive them”.’

      • zkharya Says:

        Likewise Goodman’s response:

        http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article7074261.ece

        The Jewish ‘natio’

        Sir, – Shlomo Sand’s response (Letters, March 12) to my review of the parody of historical scholarship he presents in his book illustrates perfectly the accuracy of my critique (February 26). In his letter, as in the book, he substitutes belligerence for argument, and misrepresents the research by others which he quarries. His letter is replete with irrelevance, innuendo and inaccuracy, but I shall confine myself here to a refutation of the personal attack he has chosen to make on my honesty as a reviewer. It would have been self-indulgent in a review of a book which includes so many untruths about other historians to have used the space to demolish his claims about me, since he refers explicitly to my work only in two footnotes (six lines in one footnote, and two lines in the other). But since he has now been foolish enough to challenge my integrity on the grounds that I did not discuss these references in my review of his book, I am more than happy to oblige here.

        Sand asserts in his book and repeats in his letter the claim that my book Mission and Conversion (1994) betrays an “ethnocentric” approach to Jewish history, and that this approach arises from my having written part of it in Jerusalem, “the eternally united capital city of the Jewish ‘natio’”. Such geographical determinism would be weird in any case, but it is exceptionally bizarre in this instance. Sand has no evidence about my views on the present and future status of Jerusalem, but how he comes to claim that any of my work was carried out in Jerusalem is not difficult to guess, since on the first page of the preface I express thanks for hospitality, during the final stages of checking the typescript in 1993, to the Institute for Advanced Studies, which is based in Jerusalem. But if Sand had looked two paragraphs up on the same page, to the first lines of the preface, he would have seen that the book contains the “Wilde Lectures in Natural and Comparative Religion” as delivered in Oxford between January and March 1992, long before I was at the Institute. Does he want to say that, in the process of checking the final typescript, aberrant ideology must have crept into my interpretation of ancient history like an infection? Or that anyone prepared in 1992 to accept an invitation to take up a visiting fellowship in 1993 at Israel’s National Institute for Advanced Studies must already have been infected from afar?

        Sand has also failed to notice that there is nothing whatever “ethnocentric” about the rest of the book, which is (unsurprisingly, given its title) a study of religious conversion. His assertion in his book that I attempt “to deny entirely the missionary aspect of Judaism” is a particularly breathtaking falsehood, since Chapter Seven of my book is devoted to tracing in some detail the evidence for the emergence of strong missionary ideas in rabbinic texts in late antiquity.

        MARTIN GOODMAN
        Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane, Oxford.

  3. David D. Says:

    Has Sand answered to science?

    From my recent comment on the Clare Solomon thread…

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/awl-statement-on-clare-solomons-antisemitic-comments/#comment-13706

    “Who are the Jews? For more than a century, historians and linguists have debated whether the Jewish people are a racial group, a cultural and religious entity, or something else. More recently, scientists have been weighing in on the question with genetic data. The latest such study, published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics, shows a genetic connection among all Jews, despite widespread migrations and intermarriage with non-Jews. It also apparently refutes repeated claims that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Central Europeans who converted to Judaism 1000 years ago.”

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/06/tracing-the-roots-of-jewishness.html

  4. zkharya Says:

    This will be the subject of Sand’s RSA talk:

    ‘What is a nation? Is it a group of strangers with a shared history, government, language, or ethnography? Are there inseparable cultural ties between inhabitants, or only shared political aims? Are there objective national histories or simply myths of creation? ‘

    Translation: the Jews are not a national group, nor ever were, except in the mists of time, and maybe not even then.

    I’m not sure it really matters. The Jews have been regarded as an ethno-national group, exiled and dispossessed for most of Christian and Islamic history, especially Palestinian Christian and Islamic history.

    The notion of a Jewish exile can not only be found from the beginning of Christian tradition, in the gospels themselves, but, as Goodman shows, in the discourse of the future, pagan emperor-destroyer of the temple, Titus.

    The process whereby this became normative belief is complicated, and consists in more than the the simple facts of the two major Judean suppressions (even so, seriously misrepresented by Sand); but it had tangible consequences for Jews, even in the 19th and 20th centuries, when most European, North African or Asian Jews were regarded not so much as nationally European or, say, Arab, but Judean, that is to say, ‘Palestinian’; with the result of most being either killed or effectively driven out, before 1914 to America; after 1914 mostly to Palestine or what became Israel. Even in the USSR, Jews had on their identity papers ‘Natsionalnost: Evreiski’, as consequence of this ancient belief.

    If the exile is not strictly (though more broadly) historical, it has been believed to be historical for so long as to constitute a fact of history.

    The earliest Palestinian Christian and Islamic nationalist literature assumes both a Jewish peoplehood and exile, to which Hamas would restore the Jews of Israel once again.

    The now normative Palestinian Arab nationalist denial of both is an historically recent phenomenon, and often belied by either explicit or implicit stressing of superior Islamic or Christian claims, along with overt or covert traditional anti-Judaism or antisemitism.

    Unsurprisingly, antisemites, having alienated the Jews they or their predecessors have assumed to be exiles for nearly 2000 years, even from the lands of exile, or from this world entirely, would seek to alienate them from the land, once again, by whatever means: in this case, by denying they were ever dispossessed thence in the first place.

    It is a kind of selective cultural amnesia, not the same as holocaust denial, but not altogether unrelated either. It is a kind of Jewish history denial, intended to hurt Israeli Jews today. Abolish his tradition, or the validity or historicity of his tradition, which is all a people in lengthy exile have, and you abolish the Jew, as historically self-defined. Thence the Israeli Jew.

    Forget or omit the Christian and Islamic culture and civilisation (including the Palestinian) which supported and confirmed that tradition, albeit in a conversely negative way, as does say, Carol Churchill, or the Kairos document, and you deny him all historical justification.

    Jews are especially vulnerable in this regard, because when cultural Christians or Muslims use Enlightenment techniques to deconstruct Jewish tradition, the Jew may have a sense of being treated unjustly, but likely knows little to nothing about the Christian or Islamic tradition his deconstructor suppresses, ignores or is studiedly ignorant of. The matter is exacerbated when the deconstructor can adduce cultural (though, in fact, profoundly ignorant) Jews like Sand to support them.

    As Professor Raymond Gaita asks, in reference to Sand’s booksales on p. 23 of Gaza, Morality and Politics,

    “Have millions of people really become interested in historical anthropology?”

    The answer, which Gaita leaves to the reader, is, Of course not: their interest, by and large, lies in deconstructing Jewish ethno-nationality, and alienating, Israeli (and other Jews) from the land today.

    I would also say it constitutes the form of antisemitism today that constitutes the greatest threat to the greatest number of Jews. Take away Zionism’s, and by extension, Israel’s, greatest justification (i.e. ‘justice’, the term bandied about by such as Sabeel, the Kairos document and Methodist conference), and, long (and even medium or short) term, you seek to fatally undermine both.

  5. James Says:

    Hi Zhakrya
    Just out of interest, what exactly do you mean by “the earliest Palestinian Christian literature”?

  6. James Says:

    Ok, can you please give examples of what you mean?

  7. Kubbeh Says:

    “Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People was an attempt to undermine the ideology of the religious Zionists of the settler movement by questioning Jewish national identity”

    Untrue – Sand’s critique was not theological/religious: it was that there is no Jewish nation. Thus, there is no justification for a modern Jewish nation state.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Kubbeh, you might care to read David D.’s comment above, posted on Feb 4 at 9.21 pm, and read the articles and abstracts he provides through his link:

      https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/awl-statement-on-clare-solomons-antisemitic-comments/#comment-13706

      Once you’ve done that, you might care to reconsider your comment and what Sand might think he’s demonstrating. This is especially so, given that, as David D.’s link shows, there is much DNA evidence to demonstrate the consanguinity of the world’s Jews. In turn, this is to leave aside the historical, cultural and ethnic evidence of the continuity of Jewish experience over the millenia.

      To summarise, Sand’s case is weak. If you disagree, something more than one sentence is required.

  8. zkharya Says:

    Sure, James, though may I ask if, in fact, you are one John Game? Apologies if my paranoia is unfounded.

    The Arabs and Zionism before World War I by Neville Mandel:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kdnxxIskv_MC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=khalidi+neville+mandel&source=bl&ots=ZU7fbFhfvT&sig=n2Ksd_LdB5mVcgvbofCqswH6Q6E&hl=en&ei=PWrqTJLJHJSK4gas5fT4Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=weakest&f=false

    P. 45-46: Rashid Rida: the Jews are the weakest of peoples, dispossessed of their land, which fact naturally benefits Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, but, though they yet seek it, disadvantages Jews.

    Note the paradoxical view of Jews as both contemptibly weak (the traditional Islamic view), yet now also fearfully strong. These conflicting attitudes were to inform Palestinian Arab Muslim nationalism subsequently.

    P. 175-176, the Palestinian Arab Muslim Shayk Sulayman Al Taji’s anti-Zionist Arabic poem, likely the first published, in a Palestinian Arab Christian newspaper, Al Falastin, denotes Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians as the natural defenders of religion against the Jews, to which former group the land has been given, by God, as a blessing, who, unlike the Jews, are worthy of it.

    Additional information, p. 224 (though you cannot read it properly in this edition), the Ottoman authorities, to appease local Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian complaints, ban all Jewish immigration into Palestine, and all land purchases in 1892.

    Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian Resistance, resistance to Jews’ living in the land in other than the tiny numbers they deem fit, begins at the very least in the late 19th century. And it is at the very least informed by much earlier prejudices and assumptions.

    More recently, Mahmoud Al Zahar gives a rendition of Jewish history that is heavily imbued with traditional Islamic and Christian, as well as modern antisemitic, assumptions i.e. that the litany of Jewish dispossession is proof of their continual sin and punishment. It should be noted that his interpreting the Exodus likewise is an example of more modern antisemitism overshadowing Islamic anti-Judaism, since, in Islam, the Israelite conquest of Canaan is the first jihad:

    http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2676.htm

    Similarly, this Gazan cleric’s public invocation

    ‘Please Allah, get rid of the Jews.
    Bring them down.
    They are not as powerful as you.
    Please Allah, make the earth shake and destroy the pillars of their civilisation.
    Please Allah, cast fear and terror into their hearts.
    Oh Allah disperse them so they become lost once again.’

    http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/please-allah-kill-all-the-jews/

    Again echoes a very traditional Islamic view that Jews were dispossessed and dispersed as a punishment for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets, and that this is their natural state, to which they must be restored.

  9. James Says:

    Thanks Zhakrya. No I’m not John Game! Interesting references though. Would the people you mentioned have identified as “Palestinian” in pre-WW1 times?

  10. zkharya Says:

    Hi James, thanks for the confirmation, and sorry for the suspicion.

    Not necessarily. Although the Christian owners and editors of Al-Falastin likely would have to some degree. ‘Palestine’ was part of ‘Palestinian’ Arab discourse from the late 19th century. mainly among Christians, whose diocese’ borders followed the old Roman limes. But I think it is reasonable to use ‘Palestinian’ as at least a geographical metaphor for local nationalism, so long as some technical imprecision is understood.

  11. James Says:

    Thanks Zhakrya, no worries. Interesting references which challenge the view of Sabeel etc that all Palestinian Christians are nice peace-loving philosemites.

  12. zkharya Says:

    Not so sure about the ‘not philosemites’, but thanks all the same.

  13. zkharya Says:

    But yes, James: Palestinian Arab Christians did share some triumphalist, imperialist attitudes towards Jews with Muslims, even with their sense of jihad, to some degree. The earliest Palestinian Arab nationalist institutions were the Muslim-Christian Associations, founded from 1919.

    Probably the most famous and influential Palestinian Arab (Orthodox) Christian intellectual of the inter-war years was KhaliD As-Sakini, whose views were unambiguously belligerent, and infused with anti-Judaism and antisemitism, although, to be fair, he did express disgust with his fellow Arabs when a Nabil Musa meeting, I think in 1929, broke up into cries of ‘Fllastin biladna, Al Yahud kalabna’. Nevertheless, he supported attacks on Jews in 1936, and the Nazis in WWII.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalil_al-Sakakini

    • James Says:

      Useful article on contemporary Palestinian Christian attitudes here:

      http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=7683

      • Zkharya Says:

        Thanks, James.

        • Zkharya Says:

          This particular quote from Naim Ateek (the guy at the centre of Sabeel, with which Ben White strongly associates himself) is amazing:

          ‘The Jews, whose prophetic tradition as well as their long history of suffering qualify them to play a peacemaking role, have acquired a new image since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. By espousing the nationalistic tradition of Zionism, they have relegated to themselves the role of oppressors and war makers. By so doing they have voluntarily relinquished the role of the servant which for centuries they had claimed for themselves. This has been a revolutionary change from the long held belief that Jews have a vocation to suffering. Many rabbis had taught that Jews should accept suffering rather than inflict it as a means of changing the world. One of the great rabbinic dictums was “Be of the persecuted rather than that of the persecutors.” Sholem Asch cried, “God be thanked, that the nations have not given my people the opportunity to commit against others the crimes which have been committed against it.” This has been dramatically changed by the creation of the State of Israel.’

  14. zkharya Says:

    Sakakini doubted that more than a few elderly Jews could remain in a Palestinian Arab state.

  15. Abtalyon Says:

    “For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action. ”

    Thus says the About us section of RSA.

    So what the devil is this body doing hosting a man so totally unqualified to lecture on anything to do with the origins and development of the Jewish People? Sand’s theories have no basis in genetics, anthropology, Middle Eastern or East European history or the history of Semitic and non-Semitic languages and culture. In short, his book has less relevance to the truth about the Jewish people than Dan Brown’s had about the Gospels. So where is the enlightenment and social progress in giving such a man yet one more platform to promote fiction as scientific research? Has the RSA not learned the lessons from the Wakefield fraud?

  16. zkharya Says:

    *KhaliD should be Khalil, Nabil Musa Nabi Musa, Sakini Sakakini

  17. vildechaye Says:

    Although Sands’ “thesis” is laughable on all fronts, my particular interest is in the linguistic. Sands relies on the work of one Paul Wexler, an Israeli linguistics professor, who appears to have “re-lexification” — a concept by which a linguistic group substitutes all or most of the vocabulary of another language into their own language — on the brain. Wexler’s obsession with relexification leads him to believe that the Jewish people, almost alone among the peoples of this earth — are as obsessed with relexification as he is, though in his case, he merely studies it, whereas the Jewish people, according to Wexler (and Wexler alone, it should be added), seem to relexify at the drop of a hat. So according to Wexler, Yiddish is relexified slavonic (Sorbian, specifically), with the Jews of that time substituting German words for the slavonic; Ladino is relexified Berber, and modern Hebrew is relexified Yiddish.

    Now this is ridiculous. On hearing Wexler’s thesis, my nephew, who is a Ph.D candidate at a leading linguistic university, simply remarked “yeah, like this relexification is so easy to do….”. And if you look up relexification online, you’ll find that others who talk about it virtually always are studying it in reference to the creole languages in the Caribbean, Africa, Polynesia and Melanesia.

    So Sands takes the word of one lonely linguist (who just happens to have the same political agenda as Sands) while ignoring the body of linguistic work on the subject. Some thesis. Some scholarship. Pathetic.

  18. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Sand keeps quiet on the fact, that the first one to present his view that there is no evidence that the Romans have driven out collectively the Jews from Erez Israel was the Israeli Judaist Israel Jacob Yuval in 1999. He mentioned Yuval but withour reference to his presentation.
    Sand is mixing History and Legends when he states, that most Diaspora Jews are offspring of converts.
    Already Arthur Köstler came out with the legend about the Khazars.

  19. Abtalyon Says:

    For those interested in real science, read this debunking of the Khazar myth at the link below.

    http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GENEALOGY-DNA/2003-08/1060503167

  20. Duncan Lennox Says:

    Of course Zionists who reject Sands must also reject David Ben-Gurion and I.Ben-Zvi who wrote in 1918 and 1929 that the Palestinian farmers were descendents of “Israelites” . Only after the Palestinians rejected the colonization (loss) of THEIR land by(to) foreigners did these two change their minds and decide that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was needed and OK.
    Sands got it right. The colonists are mostly the descendents of converts forcing the more legitimate descendents of Canaan from their land.
    Anti-Zionism is pro-Justice.

    • zkharya Says:

      Actually, Engage, could I please put my reply here?

      ‘Of course Zionists who reject Sands must also reject David Ben-Gurion and I.Ben-Zvi who wrote in 1918 and 1929 that the Palestinian farmers were descendents of “Israelites” . ‘

      Not hard to do since the academic consensus is that the greatest source of Palestinian Christians were pagan converts, probably highly Hellenized, since Palestinian Christian inscriptions are almost entirely Greek, while pretty much every Palestinian Aramaic inscription is Jewish.

      There are some rabbinic texts which are understood by some to refer to matters arising when a family member converts. But not many (Stemberger, p. 80):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=tu7esOXinfkC&pg=PA79&dq=palestine+jew+convert+christian&hl=en&ei=-yoaTaK8HcqgnAej-KmVDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=palestine%20jew%20convert%20christian&f=false

      Undoubtedly it happened, but usually on an individual basis, whereby a Jewish convert would join a pre-existing (gentile) Jewish community.

      Who were these gentile Christian communities ethnically? Hard to say, but probably from the surrounding region i.e. ‘Syrians’. Christian Aramaic, which does not appear until the 4th-5th centuries, seems to be derived from a western pagan form, not that which is found in the Talmud or Mishna.

      This would account for similarities between Ashkenazi and other Jewish with Palestinian Arab Y haplotypes. In any case, genetic evidence suggests that Palestinian Arab Y haplotypes are closest to Negev Bedouin, a group with both genetic and traditional ties with the Arabian peninsula.

      Is this so surprising?

      The penetration of Christianity into Palestine, especially the rural sector, was extremely slow, even in the 5th century (Safrai, p. 67):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      In the 4th century, Eusebius’ Onomasticon testifies to only 3 Christian villages in Palestine. Most patristic accounts of conversion in Judea/Palestine concern pagans e.g. Saracens in the Judean desert (Safrai, p. 68; 76-77):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      This comports with the general thesis that Palestinian Christians largely comprised converted pagan ‘Syrians’, and with the genetic evidence, as I suggested.

      The conversion of Jews is unusual, and thus a matter of interest, for the church fathers. Before the 4th century, the list of Palestinian bishops is short. After the council of Nicea in 325 imperial patronage builds new (Hellenistic) poleis in Palestine, and it is here the number of bishops begins to grow with the congregations of converts drawn from them. (Safrai, p. 69):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      But even this does not testify to the number of Christians, since the process was in no small part a top down affair, the reverse of the ‘liberation movement’, whereby Jesus ‘liberates’ the ‘Palestinians’ from Judaism, which you suggest. Yours is a very modern construct, which has more to do with how some Christians today find their history awkward or embarrassing, and how they seek to revise it to comport with more currently acceptable modes of morality and justice.

      In fact, churches only begin to appear in the rural sector (those whom you call ‘the poor’, perhaps?) in the late 5th-early 6th century (Safrai, p. 70):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      Relatively greater ‘progress’ is made among the Samaritans, mainly because their religion is never granted as a a ‘religio licita’, and the suppressions of the revolts result in wide spread destruction, deportation and imperial seizure of buildings and property, some of which are forcibly converted into churches (Safrai, p. 72-73; 75-76):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

      The fact is that the spread of Christianity into Palestine is heavily indebted to imperial Roman destruction, deportation, ethnic cleansing and top down patronage. It is hard to disentangle it from a colonial process, which fact some modern forms of Palestinian Christian liberation theology, such as yours (or even Desmond Tutu’s?), try to disguise, ignore or revise. The first self-defined ‘Palestinian’ Christian in history was Justin Martyr. He was a citizen of the Greco-Roman polis-colonia of Flavia Neapolis, and he even writes to the emperor Antoninus Pius, in his 1st Apology, that it is his duty to continue to guard Jerusalem and the land, to keep Jews out or dispossessed, as biblical mandate demands, as punishment for their cosmic crime of Christicide.

      One would think someone surnamed with Scots Christian name like ‘Lennox’ would know something of what has actually been Christian tradition with regard to Jews for most of Christian history, in most of the parts of Christendom whence Israeli Jews originated i.e. not only are Jews an ethno-national group, Jews are an ethno-national group exiled and dispossessed, for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

      A tradition Muslims have shared, including Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

      Your kind of anti-Zionism, which denies Jewish nationalism at least some justice in this conflict and accords all or most to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, and their anti-Jewish nationalist narrative, is not justice. It is injustice, because it is unjust to the Jews concerned.

      ‘Sands got it right. The colonists are mostly the descendents of converts forcing the more legitimate descendents of Canaan from their land.’

      This is a very interesting nationalising/racialising of traditional (Palestinian) Christian and Islamic supercessionism.

      Traditionally, (Palestinian) Christians and Muslims said that they were now the true people of g-d, the new chosen, the legitimate heirs and successors to ancient Israel, not by virtue of physical but spiritual descent; by virtue of virtue, so to speak.

      On this basis, so the tradition went, Jews were dispossessed, and (Palestinian) Christians and Muslims possessed of the land. This can be also be found in the earliest modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist literature:

      The Arabs and Zionism before World War I by Neville Mandel:

      http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kdnxxIskv_MC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=khalidi+neville+mandel&source=bl&ots=ZU7fbFhfvT&sig=n2Ksd_LdB5mVcgvbofCqswH6Q6E&hl=en&ei=PWrqTJLJHJSK4gas5fT4Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=weakest&f=false

      P. 45-46: Rashid Rida: the Jews are the weakest of peoples, dispossessed of their land, which fact naturally benefits Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, but, though they yet seek it, disadvantages Jews.

      Note the paradoxical view of Jews as both contemptibly weak (the traditional Islamic view), yet now also fearfully strong. These conflicting attitudes were to inform Palestinian Arab Muslim nationalism subsequently.

      P. 175-176, the Palestinian Arab Muslim Shayk Sulayman Al Taji’s anti-Zionist Arabic poem, likely the first published, in a Palestinian Arab Christian newspaper, Al Falastin, denotes Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians as the natural defenders of religion against the Jews, to which former group the land has been given, by God, as a blessing, who, unlike the Jews, are worthy of it.

      As you can see, Duncan, this makes no mention of Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims’ being descended from Jews, nor why would it, since it completely goes against Palestinian Muslim and Christian tradition on that matter.

      Which is why Ben Gurion naively thought positing such a relationship might foster a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian sense of brotherhood with Jews. Unfortunately the former completely rejected his thesis, and wanted no such thing.

      So, I fear, Sand’s thesis, and yours, remains a decided piece of very modern nationalism i.e. pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism.

    • modernityblog Says:

      “Sands got it right. The colonists are mostly the descendents of converts forcing the more legitimate descendents of Canaan from their land.”

      Please, could Engage avoid posting Far Right stuff like Duncan Lennox, I know it shows the idiocy of this kind of thinking, but, oh, hmm, OK, not a bad idea after all🙂

    • Zkharya Says:

      ‘Of course Zionists who reject Sands must also reject David Ben-Gurion and I.Ben-Zvi who wrote in 1918 and 1929 that the Palestinian farmers were descendents of “Israelites” .’

      Not hard to do, since the academic consensus is that Christianity spread in Palestine largely through the conversion of pagans, not Jews.

      In any case, Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians rejected Ben Gurion’s thesis since

      a) their traditions said no such thing and

      b) the notion that they were descended largely from Jews, a people their traditions said had largely been dispossessed for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets, was deemed deeply offensive; and

      c) DNA evidence suggests that, while Jewish Y chromosomes are closest, outside Jews, to Palestinian Arab, Palestinian Arab Y chromosomes are closest to Bedouin Arab, a group with close traditional and genetic ties to the Arabian peninsula.

      Which is perhaps not so surprising after all.

      ‘Only after the Palestinians rejected the colonization (loss) of THEIR land by(to) foreigners did these two change their minds and decide that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was needed and OK.’

      I am not sure Ben Gurion ever changed his mind. But, even if he did, so what? The main reason for the proposition was to foster Palestinian Arab-Jewish harmony. Since it obviously failed to do that, it had little further practical use.

      ‘Sands got it right. The colonists are mostly the descendents of converts forcing the more legitimate descendents of Canaan from their land.’

      Does anyone actually know what Canaanite DNA looks like?

      Your argument is a curious but increasingly common nationalising/racialising of more traditional Christian and Islamic supercessionism.

      (Palestinian) Christianity and Islam tradition held that the Jews, albeit the fleshly descendants of ancient Israel, had sinned and been punished with exile and dispossession. Conversely Christians and Muslims were now the elect of g-d, and the true, spiritual, rather than fleshly, heirs of ancient Israel.

      Indeed, if you read the earliest Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist literature, in the late 19th, early 20th century (see my links to Neville Mandel, above), that the Jews are a people, exiled and dispossessed for their sins is a given; indeed it is sometimes adduced in favour of Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians who, by their superior virtue or election, have inherited the land in their place.

      Now that very traditional (Palestinian) Christian and Islamic view, that Christians and Muslims are the true spiritual heirs of ancient Israel, and that Jews, the fleshly descendants, have been dispossessed for failing to be the true, spiritual heirs, has been nationalised/racialised: now those true, spiritual heirs of ancient Israel, Palestinian Christians and Muslims, have been become the true, fleshly heirs; while it is the Jews who have ceased to be the fleshly heirs, often in addition to having ceased to be the spiritual heirs.

      It is a fascinating phenomenon: the nationalising/racialising of Christian and Islamic tradition

      ‘Anti-Zionism is pro-Justice’

      Only if you assert that Jewish nationalism has no justice whatsoever; a problematical assertion, I think, given that European, North African, Asian and, above all, Palestinian Christians and Muslims have regarded the Jews as people exiled and dispossessed for most of Christian and Islamic history; and then proceeded to alienate or expel most Jews either from this world; or from old world Christendom and Islam in the 19th and 20th centuries: before 1914 mostly to America; after 1914, mostly to Palestine, or what became Israel. Precisely because Jews were regarded as more nationally Jewish, that is to say ‘Palestinian’, than, say, European or Arab.

      Even in the USSR, every Jew’s papers had: Natsionalnost: Evreiski; as others had Ruski, Polski or Litvaki.

      That Soviet Russian identifying of Jews as a distinct ethno-nationality was rooted in over a thousand years of Russian and other Christian so identifying Jews.

      It was most certainly not invented by Zionists in the 19th century.

    • Jonathan Romer Says:

      Duncan Lennox is slow to catch on — over 60 years slow. It was the privilege of Lennox’s intellectual predecessors for a thousand years to tell the Jews who we are. The defiinition was varied at will, to suit the uses and tastes of people whose goal was not to welcome us as equals, to put it gently. The point of Zionism is for Jews to take collective control of their own identity, and if Mr Lennox doesn’t like that all I can say is: Good. The only important debate now about who or what the Jews are is the one that takes place among Jews.

      I’m glad to have Zkharya’s erudite and careful explanation, but my feeling is that there’s no reason to argue with the likes of Lennox. When they are ready to take Jews on the same terms as every other nation progress will have been made. Until then, I hope their hate chokes them — that, for sure, would be pro-Justice (capital “J” and all).

  21. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Isn’t it interesting how history can get so alternatively interpreted? (This is the polite way of putting it.) Duncan Lennox gives his game away when he says, at the very end of his comment, “Anti-Zionism is pro-Justice.” No definition of “justice” note, merely a political slogan.

    Actually, of course, those wishing to wish Israel away have to ignore a large number of inconvenient facts. These start with the fact that there have been Jews in the area of land between “the river and the sea” for 3000 years, and the Assyrian records confirm this for the period from the 8th century BCE onwards (and the Assyrian records are accepted by historians as accurate for this time onwards). Further, the Assyrians left Jews behind in the Northern Kingdom, after taking the rest into exile, as did the Babylonians and the Romans in turn.

    I have seen the excavations at Sephoris, where the scholars evacuated to as the Romans besieged Jerusalem during the last Jewish revolt: it was later development, not the Romans, which buried the buildings. I have seen the synagogue on the Golan Heights, dating from the late 9th or early 10th Century CE.

    It would be nice, if instead of producing assertion (can we have chapter and verse, please, Duncan, so we can check your allegations), actual quotes were used. And, of course, Benny Morris, in “1948: The First Arab-Israeli War” addresses this very issue, as does Prof Dina Porat in “Israeli Society, the Holocaust and Its Survivors”, where certain of the essays in this book look very hard at what it has been claimed Ben Gurion said about Palestinians: and shows that he didn’t say them.

    However Duncan Lennox goes further: he accepts the Sands argument by telling those of us who don’t that we must also reject Ben Gurion, etc (with which I have already dealt). Clearly, he doesn’t bother to read these columns with any care: comment 6 and comment 12 in this thread (the first by David D., the second by me) both refer people to a string of articles which appear to establish the clear DNA links between Jews across the globe, and thus demolish Sands thesis that it was the Khazars wot done it.

    Can we expect a more reasoned response from Lennox, without references to Canaan. I don’t suppose we can, as his language is hardly that of the scholarly seeking after truth. Rather, his cast of mind is of the “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts” approach.

    I’m sure that there is a case to be made against Israel (though it would have to be pretty darn good to convince me), but this isn’t it.

    Meet lots of those here.

  22. zkharya Says:

    ‘Of course Zionists who reject Sands must also reject David Ben-Gurion and I.Ben-Zvi who wrote in 1918 and 1929 that the Palestinian farmers were descendents of “Israelites” . ‘

    Not hard to do since the academic consensus is that the greatest source of Palestinian Christians were pagan converts, probably highly Hellenized, since Palestinian Christian inscriptions are almost entirely Greek, while pretty much every Palestinian Aramaic inscription is Jewish.

    There are some rabbinic texts which are understood by some to refer to matters arising when a family member converts. But not many (Stemberger, p. 80):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tu7esOXinfkC&pg=PA79&dq=palestine+jew+convert+christian&hl=en&ei=-yoaTaK8HcqgnAej-KmVDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=palestine%20jew%20convert%20christian&f=false

    Undoubtedly it happened, but usually on an individual basis, whereby a Jewish convert would join a pre-existing (gentile) Jewish community.

    Who were these gentile Christian communities ethnically? Hard to say, but probably from the surrounding region i.e. ‘Syrians’. Christian Aramaic, which does not appear until the 4th-5th centuries, seems to be derived from a western pagan form, not that which is found in the Talmud or Mishna.

    This would account for similarities between Ashkenazi and other Jewish with Palestinian Arab Y haplotypes. In any case, genetic evidence suggests that Palestinian Arab Y haplotypes are closest to Negev Bedouin, a group with both genetic and traditional ties with the Arabian peninsula.

    Is this so surprising?

    The penetration of Christianity into Palestine, especially the rural sector, was extremely slow, even in the 5th century (Safrai, p. 67):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    In the 4th century, Eusebius’ Onomasticon testifies to only 3 Christian villages in Palestine. Most patristic accounts of conversion in Judea/Palestine concern pagans e.g. Saracens in the Judean desert (Safrai, p. 68; 76-77):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    This comports with the general thesis that Palestinian Christians largely comprised converted pagan ‘Syrians’, and with the genetic evidence, as I suggested.

    The conversion of Jews is unusual, and thus a matter of interest, for the church fathers. Before the 4th century, the list of Palestinian bishops is short. After the council of Nicea in 325 imperial patronage builds new (Hellenistic) poleis in Palestine, and it is here the number of bishops begins to grow with the congregations of converts drawn from them. (Safrai, p. 69):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    But even this does not testify to the number of Christians, since the process was in no small part a top down affair, the reverse of the ‘liberation movement’, whereby Jesus ‘liberates’ the ‘Palestinians’ from Judaism, which you suggest. Yours is a very modern construct, which has more to do with how some Christians today find their history awkward or embarrassing, and how they seek to revise it to comport with more currently acceptable modes of morality and justice.

    In fact, churches only begin to appear in the rural sector (those whom you call ‘the poor’, perhaps?) in the late 5th-early 6th century (Safrai, p. 70):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Relatively greater ‘progress’ is made among the Samaritans, mainly because their religion is never granted as a a ‘religio licita’, and the suppressions of the revolts result in wide spread destruction, deportation and imperial seizure of buildings and property, some of which are forcibly converted into churches (Safrai, p. 72-73; 75-76):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GQ-1OsGWvw8C&pg=PA67&dq=palestine+slow+penetrated+christianity&hl=en&ei=Qy8aTaSkKJOcnweancHcDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The fact is that the spread of Christianity into Palestine is heavily indebted to imperial Roman destruction, deportation, ethnic cleansing and top down patronage. It is hard to disentangle it from a colonial process, which fact some modern forms of Palestinian Christian liberation theology, such as yours (or even Desmond Tutu’s?), try to disguise, ignore or revise. The first self-defined ‘Palestinian’ Christian (or not) in history. He was a citizen of the Greco-Roman polis-colonia of Flavia Neapolis, and he even writes to the emperor Antoninus Pius, in his 1st Apology, that it is his duty to continue to guard Jerusalem and the land, to keep Jews out or dispossessed, as biblical mandate demands, as punishment for their cosmic crime of Christicide.

    One would think someone surnamed with Scots Christian name like ‘Lennox’ would know something of what has actually been Christian tradition with regard to Jews for most of Christian history, in most of the parts of Christendom whence Israeli Jews originated i.e. not only are Jews an ethno-national group, Jews are an ethno-national group exiled and dispossessed, for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

    A tradition Muslims have shared, including Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

    You kind of anti-Zionism, which denies Jewish nationalism any justice in this conflict and accords all or most to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, and their anti-Jewish nationalist narrative, is not justice. It is injustice, because it is unjust to the Jews concerned.

    ‘Sands got it right. The colonists are mostly the descendents of converts forcing the more legitimate descendents of Canaan from their land.’

    This is a very interesting nationalising/racialising of traditional (Palestinian) Christian and Islamic supercessionism.

    Traditionally, (Palestinian) Christians and Muslims said that they were now the true people of d-d, the new chosen, the legitimate heirs and successors to ancient Israel, not by virtue of physical but spiritual descent; by virtue of virtue, so to speak.

    On this basis, so the tradition went, Jews were dispossessed, and (Palestinian) Christians and Muslims possessed of the land. This can be also be found in the earliest modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist literature:

    The Arabs and Zionism before World War I by Neville Mandel:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kdnxxIskv_MC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=khalidi+neville+mandel&source=bl&ots=ZU7fbFhfvT&sig=n2Ksd_LdB5mVcgvbofCqswH6Q6E&hl=en&ei=PWrqTJLJHJSK4gas5fT4Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=weakest&f=false

    P. 45-46: Rashid Rida: the Jews are the weakest of peoples, dispossessed of their land, which fact naturally benefits Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, but, though they yet seek it, disadvantages Jews.

    Note the paradoxical view of Jews as both contemptibly weak (the traditional Islamic view), yet now also fearfully strong. These conflicting attitudes were to inform Palestinian Arab Muslim nationalism subsequently.

    P. 175-176, the Palestinian Arab Muslim Shayk Sulayman Al Taji’s anti-Zionist Arabic poem, likely the first published, in a Palestinian Arab Christian newspaper, Al Falastin, denotes Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians as the natural defenders of religion against the Jews, to which former group the land has been given, by God, as a blessing, who, unlike the Jews, are worthy of it.

    As you can see, Duncan, this makes no mention of Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims’ being descended from Jews, nor why would it, since it completely goes against Palestinian Muslim and Christian tradition on that matter.

    Which is why Ben Gurion naively thought positing such a relationship might foster a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian sense of brotherhood with Jews. Unfortunately the former completely rejected his thesis, and wanted no such thing.

    So, I fear, Sand’s thesis, and yours, remains a decided piece of very modern nationalism i.e. pro-Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: