2009-12-31

Shlomo Sand on Zionism


. Mixing respected scholarship with dubious theories,
the author, Shlomo Sand, a professor at Tel Aviv University,
frames the narrative as a startling exposure of suppressed historical facts.
The translated version of his polemic has sparked a new wave of coverage in Britain
and has provoked spirited debates online and in seminar rooms.
Professor Sand, a scholar of modern France, not Jewish history,
candidly states his aim is to undercut the Jews' claims to the land of Israel
by demonstrating that they do not constitute
"(a people), with a shared racial or biological past.
Consider, for instance, Professor Sand's assertion that
Palestinian Arab villagers are descended from the original Jewish farmers.

Since Professor Sand's mission is to discredit Jews'
historical claims to the territory,
he is keen to show that their ancestry lines
do not lead back to ancient Palestine.
He resurrects a theory first raised by 19th-century historians,
that the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe,
to whom 90 percent of American Jews trace their roots,
are descended from the Khazars,
a Turkic people who apparently converted to Judaism
and created an empire in the Caucasus in the eighth century.

Professor Sand accuses Zionist historians from the 19th century onward
-- the very same scholars on whose work he bases his case --
of hiding the truth and creating a myth of shared roots
to strengthen their nationalist agenda.
He explains that he has uncovered no new information,
but has organized the knowledge in a clarifying way .