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Tel Aviv University
TAU Shlomo Sand: "The Israeli society today is racist, colonialist, ethnocentric and veritable apartheid state

TAU Prof. Shlomo Sand

E-mail: shlomosa@post.tau.ac.il

 

Editorial Note:

Shlomo Sand, (TAU) recently declared: "The Israeli society today is one of the most racist societies in the western world". adding it is "racist, colonialist, ethnocentric and veritable apartheid state."

Such charges would have surprised the readers of the Freedom House annual report on freedom and democracy around the world. The just released 2012 index gives Israel high grades for political freedom, freedom of the press, civil society and other democratic requisites. In comparison, the Palestinian Authority, Gaza and countries in theregion ranked much worse.

But Sand - known for his cavalier attitude toward empirical reality as his books, The Invention of the Jewish People and the Invention of the Land of Israel attest- cannot be bothered by facts and figures. To the contrary, a shrewd judge of the public discourse, Sand understands that the more outrageous the claims, the better the chances of making himself known. Indeed, by Google's count, Sand is the most famous professor at Tel Aviv University.

Sand is not the only academic to smear Israel. For years, the radical academic fraternity have repeated the charge that Israel is an apartheid state. The libel is now so well rooted that, according to Google, it seems to outweigh the Freedom House report. It is a sad irony that not only do taxpayers provide the salaries of radical scholars but also support the campaign to tarnish Israel's standing abroad.

Deutschlandradio Kultur

http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/sendungen/lesart/1960966/

Audio interview: http://www.dradio.de/aodflash/player.php?station=3&broadcast=673326&datum=20130101&playtime=1357040040&fileid=ac9dc096&

Translated from German by Google

01.01.2013

Apartheid in the Promised Land



Shlomo Sand: "The invention of the Land of Israel - Myth and Reality"

Reviewed by Doris Anselm

In Israel, Shlomo Sand, a historian at the University of Tel Aviv, not made many friends. He calls the Israeli society "racist" and contradicts the Zionist idea that the Jewish people have a historical right to the state of Israel in Palestine.

Under no circumstances will Shlomo Sand to remain in Berlin. Not because of Berlin and Germany. But because of his Tel Aviv University.

Where he teaches history, there are some who would like to get rid of him - if only for administrative reasons. A trip during the semester: This must be as short as possible.

Sand presents his new book in Germany. In Israel, he has not made so many friends. Because his main thesis contradicts the central argument of the Zionist State establishment - the historic right to this exact spot on earth:

Shlomo Sand: "A lot of pro-Zionists attack me, saying, the target of Shlomo Sand was to deconstruct the right of the Jews to the land and I never thought that the Jew has a historical right on the land of Palestine.".

The Zionist criticism bounces off him. A historic right that did not exist, it could probably be brought hardly alone in its arguments to the case. The promised land is for him a myth. Myths are not bad, but as a state basis plenty are unsuitable, at least today, said the historian.

How were created "homelands" in the old days, if it was about language, birth or common stories, he explains why the book ahead - in the first chapter that "Israel" or "Palestine" is not mentioned, but only by a phenomenon are: the nationalism itself.

But then it comes to the crunch. Falsification of history, he assumed his colleagues. Shlomo Sand, who no longer see himself as a Jew is facing, that the Jews in Israel and all over the world have always held sacred - but previously felt no desire to emigrate there. Just as Muslims want to live in Mecca. There was even a ban on Jews in the Talmud.

Think "The land of Israel was one of the most important things in their lives but it was not an object. They did not desire to go to live there. The concept of a holy place is very important I: Shlomo Sand.... Mecca that is very important for the Muslims. I do not think the Muslims want to emigrate.

Jews did not emigrate to the holy land, because it was something for them against the Talmud. Because there is an order in the Talmud: You have not the right to go in mass to emigrate to the land of Israel. And I think what Jewishness is against the idea to build a Jewish state in Palestine.

When Herzl, the father of Zionism, wanted to create a Zionist movement, all the rabbis in Germany wrote a petition saying 'We do not want a Jewish state in the holy land because it's too holy for us.' "

Jewish clerics, resisted, to establish a Jewish state! Yes, there were. But at least with the mass murder of the Jews in Nazi Germany it was the rabbinical defense over it. No, it had not been, objected. Shlomo Sand: If the Jews could have done as they wanted, they would have emigrated to other prosperous countries - and not the dusty, remote Palestine. But immigration laws limited the immigration of Jews in many places.

In 1948, the founding of the state. Israel officially appear on the political map. The young country needs quickly a powerful, unifying history, a geographical identity, spiritual food for its inhabitants. That was the point at which the idea of the ancestral rights was born - with the fatal consequence that the Israelis had become racists as once the Germans were.

Shlomo Sand: "The Israeli society today is one of the most racist societies in the western world. It was published in a poll that shows that most of the Israelis are open racists. Not shamed racists.

Then most of the Israelis believe that they are the descendants of the genetically kingdom of David. Like most of the Germans Believed 70 years ago, that they were the descendants of the Teutons. "

Racist, colonialist, ethnocentric and a veritable apartheid system: All of these terms must be of Israel Shlomo Sand tolerate. His tone is at times deeply emotional and angry. This arouses suspicion or at least caution when reading.

On the other hand, he continually impresses with a cogent argument: What is a Nation? Is it not absurd that one can almost all other nations of the world to join an influx, through the acquisition of language and culture of everyday life - not just Israel? Also the right to acquire land there is, in part tied to the Jewish religion.

All this is well advanced. But does it help anybody? Fuels this book not only the aggression to an area where the seething keeps him scary? Sand is historian, not a politician. He must present a solution to the Middle East conflict. The book does not have to.

But in an interview he does have suggestions. Israel should leave the occupied territories in the West Bank and take the Jewish settlers alike, also recognize a Palestinian neighbor.

Shlomo Sand: "To go out from all the occupied territories. To take with us all the colonists that are sitting there. To recognize a Palestinian republic...To change Israel from a Jewish state to on Israeli republic, because a quarter of the population is not from Jewish origin. And to build a confederation - because we can not live without Arabs in the Middle East. Because we are so close."

"We are so close" - that is why Shlomo Sand calls for a confederation between an Israeli and a Palestinian state. Maybe that's a wise idea. It remains questionable, however, whether such a combative book manages to recruit anyone among his countrymen for this idea.

Shlomo Sand: The Invention of the Land of Israel - Myth and Reality

From Hebrew by Mark Lemke

Propylaea Verlag, Berlin 2012


01.01.2013

Apartheit im gelobten Land

Shlomo Sand: "Die Erfindung des Landes Israel - Mythos und Wahrheit"

Rezensiert von Doris Anselm

In Israel hat sich der Shlomo Sand, Historiker an der Universität Tel Aviv, nicht viele Freunde gemacht. Er nennt die israelische Gesellschaft "rassistisch" und widerspricht der zionistischen Idee, dass das jüdische Volk ein historisches Anrecht auf einen Staat Israel in Palästina habe.

Auf keinen Fall will Shlomo Sand zu lange in Berlin bleiben. Nicht wegen Berlin oder Deutschland. Sondern wegen seiner Universität in Tel Aviv. 

Dort, wo er Geschichte unterrichtet, gibt es einige, die ihn gern los wären - und sei es nur aus administrativen Gründen. Eine Reise während der Vorlesungszeit: Die muss so kurz wie möglich sein. 

Sand stellt sein neues Buch in Deutschland vor. In Israel hat er sich damit nicht viele Freunde gemacht. Denn seine Hauptthese widerspricht dem zentralen, zionistischen Gründungsargument des Staates - dem historischen Anrecht auf genau dieses Flecken Erde:

Shlomo Sand: "A lot of Pro-Zionists attack me, saying, the target of Shlomo Sand was to deconstruct the right of the jewish on the land. And I never thought that the jew has a historical right on the Land of Palestine."

Der zionistische Vorwurf prallt an ihm ab. Ein historisches Anrecht, das es gar nicht gebe, könne wohl kaum allein durch seine Argumente zu Fall gebracht werden. Das gelobte Land ist für ihn ein Mythos. Mythen sind nichts schlechtes, aber als Staatsgrundlage reichlich ungeeignet, jedenfalls heute, findet der Historiker. 

Wie "Vaterländer" in früheren Zeiten erschaffen wurden, ob es dabei um Sprache, Geburt oder gemeinsame Geschichten ging, erläutert er deshalb im Buch vorneweg - im ersten Kapitel, das "Israel" oder "Palästina" mit keinem Wort erwähnt, sondern nur von einem Phänomen handelt: Dem Nationalismus an sich.

Aber dann geht es ans Eingemachte. Geschichtsfälschung unterstellt er seinen Fachkollegen. Shlomo Sand, der sich selbst nicht mehr als Jude versteht, weist nach, dass die Juden in aller Welt Israel zwar schon immer für heilig hielten - aber früher keinerlei Bedürfnis verspürten, dorthin auszuwandern. Ebenso wenig wie Muslime in Mekka wohnen möchten. Es habe sogar für Juden ein Verbot im Talmud gegeben.

Shlomo Sand: 
"The land of Israel was one of the most important things in their lifes. But it wasn't an object. They didn't desire to go to live there. The concept of a holy place is very important. I think that Mekka is very important for the muslims. I don't think the muslims want to emigrate.

Jews didn't emigrate to the holy land, because it was for them something against the Talmud. Because there is an order in the Talmud: You have not the right to go in mass to emigrate to the land of Israel. And I think jewishness was against the idea to build a jewish state in Palestine. 

When Herzl, the father of Zionism, wanted to create a Zionist movement, all the rabbis in Germany wrote a petition saying 'We don't want a jewish state in the holy land because it's too holy for us.'"


Jüdische Geistliche, die sich dagegen wehren, einen israelischen Staat zu gründen! Ja, die gab es. Doch spätestens mit dem Massenmord an den Juden im Nationalsozialismus war es doch mit der rabbinischen Abwehr vorbei. Nein, sei es nicht gewesen, wendet Shlomo Sand ein: Wenn die Juden gekonnt hätten, wie sie wollten, wären sie in andere, florierende Länder ausgewandert - und nicht ins staubige, abgelegene Palästina. Aber Einwanderungsgesetze begrenzten vielerorts den Zuzug von Juden.

1948 dann die Staatsgründung. Israel erscheint offiziell auf der politischen Landkarte. Das junge Land braucht ganz schnell eine kraftvolle, einende Geschichte, eine geografische Identität, seelische Nahrung für seine Bewohner. Das sei der Punkt, an dem die Idee des Abstammungsrechts geboren wurde - mit der fatalen Folge, dass die Israelis zu Rassisten geworden seien wie einst die Deutschen. 

Shlomo Sand: 
"The Israeli society today is one of the most racist societies in the western world. It was published a poll that shows that most of the Israelis are open racists! Not shamed racists. 

Then most of the Israelis believe that they are the descendants genetically of the kingdom of David. Like most of the Germans believed 70 years ago, that they were the descendants of the Teutons."


Rassistisch, kolonialistisch, ethnozentristisch und ein regelrechtes Apartheids-System: All diese Bezeichnungen muss sich Israel von Shlomo Sand gefallen lassen. Sein Tonfall ist stellenweise tief emotional und zornig. Das weckt beim Lesen Misstrauen oder zumindest Vorsicht. 

Anderseits überzeugt er immer wieder mit schlüssiger Argumentation: Was ist eine Nation? Ist es nicht absurd, dass man fast allen anderen Nationen dieser Welt durch Zuzug beitreten kann, durch Übernahme von Sprache und Alltagskultur - nur Israel nicht? Auch das Recht, dort Land zu erwerben, ist teils an die jüdische Religionszugehörigkeit gebunden.

Das alles ist gut vorgebracht. Aber hilft es irgendwem? Schürt dieses Buch nicht bloß die Aggressionen um eine Gegend, in der es stets aufs Neue furchterregend brodelt? Sand ist Geschichtswissenschaftler, kein Politiker. Er muss keine Lösung für den Nahost-Konflikt vorlegen. Das tut sein Buch auch nicht. 

Aber im Gespräch hat er durchaus Vorschläge. Israel sollte die besetzten Gebiete im Westjordanland verlassen und die jüdischen Siedler gleich mitnehmen, ferner einen palästinensischen Nachbarstaat anerkennen.

Shlomo Sand: 
"To go out from all the occupied territories. To take with us all the colonists that are sitting there. To recognize a Palestinian republic.

To change Israel from a jewish state to an Israeli republic, because a quarter of the population is not from jewish origin. And to build a confederation - because we can not live without arabs in the middle east. Because we are so close."


"Wir sind uns so nah" - weshalb Shlomo Sand für eine Konföderation zwischen einem israelischen und einem palästinensischen Staat eintritt. Vielleicht ist das eine kluge Idee. Fraglich bleibt aber, ob gerade sein so kämpferisches Buch es schafft, unter seinen Landsleuten für diese Idee zu werben.

Shlomo Sand: Die Erfindung des Landes Israel - Mythos und Wahrheit
Aus dem Hebräischen von Markus Lemke
Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2012

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