Converts to Colonizers?

Gabriel Piterberg reviews Shlomo Sand’s When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?

The foundational myths of the state of Israel rest on the notion that, throughout history, the Jews have been descended from a single ethno-biological core of Judean exiles who had been removed from their ancestral lands in the first two centuries CE. [1] Shlomo Sand’s When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? sets out to refute such claims of organic ethnic continuity, arguing that the idea that the Jews had been exiled across the Mediterranean world was a creation of the Christian Church—mass displacement as punishment and constant reminder of who is Israel Veritas—which was conveniently embraced by 19th-century Jewish scholars. Their narratives of a centuries-long Galut, ‘exile’, and by extension the Zionist project of ‘returning’ to reclaim ancient territories, are based on historical fictions. more

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