Archive for the ‘Shlomo Sand’ Category

The new issue of the International Socialism journal is out now, featuring Judith Orr on Sheila Rowbotham, Shlomo Sand interviewed by John Rose and Sebastian Budgen on the loss of a great intellectual – Daniel Bensaid and Chris Harman.

Judith Orr writes:Dreamers of a New Day Cover Image

Sheila Rowbotham gives a fascinating account and new insight into some of the debates, organisations and publications that flourished in Britain and the US during this period in her new book, Dreamers of a New Day.

The full article, “Marxism and feminism today”,  is available here. Sheila Rowbotham’s new book Dreamers of a New Day is available now in hardback.

Shlomo Sand speaks to John Rose:

But you know the atmosphere around the established Jewish community in France is frightful. People are afraid. In France at first journalists were afraid to write about the book. However, after the war on Gaza a lot of walls fell down and people began to write more and Sand The Invention of the Jewish People Cover Imagemore about the book. And now there is a pocketbook version and again it is in the bestsellers list. In 2009 the full-size version was the bestselling book about history. But don’t underestimate just how reactionary, racist and authoritarian the current mood of the pro-Zionist circles in the French Jewish community is. They remind me of the pro-Stalinist influence in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s or even the McCarthyist influence in the US at the same time.

The full article, “Interview: Zionism, socialism and nationalism”, is available here. Shlomo Sand’s book The Invention of the Jewish People is now available in paperback.

Sebastian Budgen pays tribute to Verso authors Daniel Bensaïd and Chris Harman, who both  sadly died this year:

For Chris Harman and Daniel Bensaïd, two men who have died at almost the same age and within months of each other—one after a monumental 20-year struggle against illness, the other plucked without warning from the night—scarcely addressed probably more than a few sentences directly to each other in over 40 years. And yet their lifelong, daily, uncomplaining commitment to combine the patient, often wearisome, work of building a small revolutionary group with that of trying to theoretically regenerate the grandeur of the classical Marxist tradition by fertilising it constantly with elements of the new was nonetheless a common eHarman People's History of the World Cover Imagendeavour.Marx For Our Times Cover Image

The full article, “The Red Hussar: Daniel Bensaïd, 1946-2010”, is available here. Daniel Bensaïd’s book Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique is available in paperback. Chris Harman’s A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millenium is also available in paperback.

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Ian Pindar reviewed the paperback edition of Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People for The Guardian on Saturday. Full review below (not yet available online):

The idea of the Jews as a single people or race is a myth, a fi ction based on Old Testament “mythistory”, argues Shlomo Sand, a Jewish historian based at the University of Tel Aviv. It is also one of the founding assumptions of the state of Israel, and throughout this polemical, revisionist history Sand has Zionist ideology in his sights. (He is not anti-Israel, but he is “post-Zionist”.) In essence, his book undermines the moral right of the state of Israel to define itself as exclusively Jewish and how you respond to it will very much depend on your political views. Sand admits none of his findings is new and there are no revelations, but what he offers is a radical dismantling of a national myth. He can find no evidence of any Jewish exile, and without exile there can be no right to return. However, even if it is founded on a myth, the state of Israel exists. Sand wants it to abandon ethnic nationalism and to modernise and democratise, and as this controversial book was a bestseller in Israel, perhaps there is hope that some Israelis want this too.

For more information about The Invention of the Jewish People, visit the book’s website here.

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New studies in Nature magazine and the American Journal of Human Genetics have revived the debate on Jewish origins.

The New York Times, Newsweek, and UPI, reporting on these studies, have placed them in counterpoint to Sand’s argument. In his new afterword for the paperback edition of The Invention of the Jewish People, Sand writes:

After exhausting all the historical arguments, several critics have seized on genetics. The same people who maintain that the Zionists never referred to a race conclude their argument by evoking a common Jewish gene. Their thinking can be summed up as follows: “We are not a pure race, but we are a race just the same.” In the 1950s there was research in Israel on characteristic Jewish fingerprints, and from the 1970s, biologists in their laboratories (sometimes also in the USA) have sought a genetic marker common to all Jews. I reviewed in my book their lack of data, the frequent slipperiness of their conclusions, and their ethno-nationalist ardor, which is unsupported by any serious scientific findings. This attempt to justify Zionism through genetics is reminiscent of the procedures of late nineteenth-century anthropologists who very scientifically set out to discover the specific characteristics of Europeans.

As of today, no study based on anonymous DNA samples has succeeded in identifying a genetic marker specific to Jews, and it is not likely that any study ever will. It is a bitter irony to see the descendants of Holocaust survivors set out to find a biological Jewish identity: Hitler would certainly have been very pleased! And it is all the more repulsive that this kind of research should be conducted in a state that has waged for years a declared policy of “Judaization of the country” in which even today a Jew is not allowed to marry a non-Jew.

For more titles on Israel-Palestine see here.

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The Punishment of Gaza by Gideon Levy – OUT NOW!

“There are more terrible atrocities in the world than what is being done to the caged prisoners of Gaza, but it is not easy to think of a more cruel and cowardly exhibition of human savagery, fully supported by the US, with Europe trailing politely behind. Gideon Levy’s passionate and revealing account is an eloquent, even desperate, call to bring this shocking tragedy to an end, as can easily be done.” Noam Chomsky

Paperback – 148 pages – 9781844676019 – £8.99 – June 2010

The Invention of Jewish People by Shlomo Sand

“A remarkable book. … Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book.” Tony Judt

New in Paperback – 352 pages – 9781844676231 – £9.99 – June 2010

Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions and Refutations by Avi Shlaim

“Not often today do we find historians who are this honest and this bleak and this able—for some reason, I think here of T. S. Eliot’s essays—to express truth so simply.” Robert Fisk, Independent

Hardback – 352 pages – 9781844673667 – £16.99 – 2009

The Myths of Liberal Zionism by Yitzhak Laor

“I can find appropriate words for Laor’s book: it is a gift, incredible and beautiful, so wonderful..” Max Ajl, Electronic Intifada

“…original and urgent… ” John Berger

Hardback – 152 pages – 9781844673148 – £14.99 – 2010

An Orchestra Beyond Borders: Voices of the Western-Eastern Divan Orchestra by Elena Cheah

With an Introduction by Daniel Barenboim

“Invaluable – and rather inspiring – insider’s book about the West-Eastern Divan project. … many more projects should match their courage and vision. Meanwhile, Said and Barenboim’s great creation let us hear the precious sound of hope.” Boyd Tonkin, Independent

Paperback – 320 pages – 9781844674084 – £10.99 – 2009

Mural by Mahmoud Darwish

Introduced and illustrated by John Berger

“Widely acknowledged as the national poet of Palestine.” Robyn Creswell, Harper’s
“Darwish’s poetry is an epic effort to transform the lyrics of loss into the indefinitely postponed drama of return.” Edward Said

Hardback – 80 pages – 9781844674107 – £9.99 – 2009

In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story by Ghada Karmi

“…an important memoir, beautifully written.” Financial Times
“Keenly observed, fierce, honest and yet light of touch.” Economist

New Edition – Paperback – 452 pages – 9781844673681 – £8.99 – 2009

Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward W. Said edited  by Muge Sokmen and Basak Ertur

“Edward Said’s anger against injustice must become ours, and his pen that challenged the sword must become our weapon in the battle for human values.” Elias Khoury

Paperback – 224 pages – 9781844672462 – £16.99 – 2008

Hardback – 9781844672455 – £60.00

A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of Naji Al-Ali by Naji Al-Ali

“… visionary … it will introduce British readers to al-Ali’s formidable talent. ” Michel Faber, Guardian

Paperback – 120 pages – 9781844673650 – £9.99 – 2009

Suffering as Identity: The Jewish Paradigm by Esther Benbassa

“This work is remarkable for its erudition and salutory non-conformism.” Le Monde Diplomatique

Paperback – 256 pages – 9781844674046 – £14.99 – 2010

Hardback – 9781844674035 –  £55.00

Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History by Norman G. Finkelstein

“A very solid, important and highly informative book. Norman Finkelstein provides extensive details and analysis, with considerable historical depth and expert research.” Noam Chomsky

Paperback – 352 pages – 9781844671496 – £10.99 – 2008

The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering by Norman G. Finkelstein

“The most explosive book of the year.” Guardian

Paperback – 286 pages – 9781859844885 – £9.99 – 2002

Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict by Norman G. Finkelstein

“… both an impressive analysis of Zionist ideology and a searing but scholarly indictment of Israel’s treatment of the Arabs since 1948.” London Review of Books

Paperback – 286 pages – 9781859844427 – £15.00 – 2003

Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema by Hamid Dabashi

“Dabashi has produced a valuable archive on Palestinian cinema, unlike any other.” Screen

Paperback – 224 pages – 9781844670888 – £14.99 – 2006

Being Arab by Samir Kassir

“One of Lebanon’s most prominent journalists and one of the most vociferous and bravest critics of the Syrian regime.” Robert Fisk, Independent

Hardback – 96 pages – 9781844670996 – £10.99 – 2006

A Time to Speak Out: Independent Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity edited by Anne Karpf, Brian Klug, Jacqueline Rose and Barbara Rosenbaum

“Varied in content, highly personal, fascinating and controversial …these essays deserve to be read carefully and debated courteously.” Jewish Chronicle

Paperback – 316 pages – 9781844672295 – £9.99 – 2008

The Last Resistance by Jacqueline Rose

“This brilliantly illuminatory book will greatly enhance Professor Rose’s reputation as a literary critic and public intellectual.” Avi Shlaim

Paperback – 316 pages – 9781844671243 – £16.99 – 2008

Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation by Eyal Weizman

“Weizman has achieved a rare amalgam of politics,
aesthetics, sociology, history and theory.” Financial Times

Hardback – 318 pages – 9781844671250 – £19.99 – 2007

Peace Under Fire: Israel, Palestine and the International Solidarity Movement edited by Josie Sandercock, Radhika Sainath, Marissa McLaughlin, Hussein Khalili, Nicholas Blincoe, Huwaida Arraf, and Ghassan Andoni

Peace Under Fire reveals the real horror of life under occupation and describes the first signs of a new wave of international solidarity.

Paperback – 240 pages – 9781844675017 – £15.00 – 2004

Hardback – 9781844670074 – £35.00

The Roadmap to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003 by Tanya Reinhart

“Tanya Reinhart’s informative and chilling analysis could hardly be more timely. It should be read and considered with care, and taken very seriously.” Noam Chomsky

Paperback – 260 pages – 9781844670767 – £8.99 – 2006

A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architetcture edited by Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman

“An incriminating piece of work that shows how deeply implicated Israeli architects have been in the state’s expansionism.” Anne Karpf, Jewish Chronicle

Hardback – 187 pages – 9781859845493 – £13.00 – 2003

Politicide: Ariel Sharon’s War Against Palestinians by Baruch Kimmerling

“Baruch Kimmerling is a brilliant and subtle thinker, who has made enormous contributions to the understanding of Palestinian nationalism and the understanding of Israeli politics and society.” Roane Carey, editor of The New Intifada and The Other Israel

Paperback – 160 pages – 9781844675326 – £8.99 – 2006

Plowshares into Sword: From Zionism to Israel by Arno Mayer

“In Plowshares into Swords, Arno Mayer gives a sweeping and often illuminating overview of the story of Zionism.” New Statesman

Hardback – 432 pages – 9781844672356 – £19.99 – 2008

The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship by Gabriel Piterberg

“Very well-informed, and even fascinating.” New Statesman

Paperback – 298 pages – 9781844672608 – £16.99 – 2008

Hardback – 9781844672592 – £60.00

Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah by Nicholas Noe

Voice of Hezbollah brings to an English-speaking readership for the first time Nasrallah’s speeches and interviews: the intricate, deeply populist arguments and promises that he has made from the mid-1980s to the present day.

Paperback – 420 pages – 9781844671533 – £12.99 – 2007

The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid edited by Roane Carey

A group of experts, many of them directly involved in the conflict, trace the course of the uprising, its consequences for the Palestinian people and the Israeli state, and its likely impact on the future of peace in the Middle East.

Paperback – 320 pages – 9781859843778 – £13.00 – 2001

Hardback – 9781859846343 – £45.00

If  I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew by Mike Marqusee

“When I had finished this book I wanted to cheer … If Jewish adolescents got Marqusee’s book as a bar mitzvah present, there might be a chance of avoiding the repetition of history’s mistakes.” — Michael Kustow, Independent

Paperback – 320 pages – 9781844674350 – £9.99 – 2010

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The paperback edition of Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of Jewish People will be published this summer in the UK, and  is already available in the US:

For the Palestine Chronicle, Jim Miles praised the book as

With well supported historical references, Sand indicates that Jewish communities existed outside Israel, not because of an exile/diaspora, but because of proselytizing and conversion…

This is a highly thought provoking and perhaps, for many, an antagonistic examination of the “nation” of Israel…

The Invention of the Jewish People is very well written and argued, taking a lot of mind work to assimilate the ideas and their implications. … Within Israel, the book remained on the best-sellers’ list for nineteen weeks, and in spite of what Sand has written, it ironically became part of the claim that Israel is democratic, as it allows such challenging works to be written, read, and discussed. Regardless, ideas once expressed become part of the national discourse, and this book may open up a new line of revisionist historians able to examine the reality of their past.

Read the full article here.

John Campbell reviews Sand’s book for Reform, the magazine of the United Reformed Church:

In The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand, an Israeli historian at Tel Aviv University, investigates the way that the potent biblical stories about Ancient Israel and the long history of the Jewish people have been re-worked into a crucial back story for modern-day Israel. Unsurprisingly, he has stirred up a mighty storm. Yet the book is gentle, thoughtful and very readable…

this book is important for anyone who cares about the Middle East or who engages in any form of Bible story-shaping themselves. Read it and see.

The review will be available in the next issue of Reform (June 2010).

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Two episodes of Press TV‘s political book review programme, Epilogue, presented by Derek Conway and Ken Livingstone, have focused on Verso books: Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of Jewish People and Robert Vitalis’s America’s Kingdom.

Once weekly, our renowned hosts Ken Livingstone and Derek Conway tackle the books with the big questions – in this compelling 30 minute book review show.  We want to delve into the realities behind a recently published political book. With the insights of a distinguished panel of expert guests and a short video to highlight the topic at hand. Together they read between the lines and decide the merits of the book of the week.

The episodes can be available on the Epilogue website, here. Both reviews can be watched on YouTube, here for Invention of the Jewish People  and here for Robert Vitalis.

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The Jewish Chronicle reports on the ‘controversial’ shortlisting of Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2010. The results will be announced in June.

A controversial book which argues that the idea of a Jewish people descended from the ancient Israelites is a Zionist myth, has been shortlisted for British Jewry’s main literary award…

…Alan Mendoza, director of the Israel-Diaspora Trust, said: “The cultural, historical and religious roots of the Jewish people are self-evident and Sands’ desire for self-immolation is not shared by Anglo-Jewry. Was this decision motivated by intellectual navel-gazing of the most banal kind, or does it reflect an attempt to appease those viscerally anti-Israel elements within the broader liberal intelligentsia? Either way, this is a pathetic attempt at gesture politics, and one that cheapens the Wingate Prize.”

The Invention of the Jewish People by Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Sand is one of four books up for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize.

Read the full article here.

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The global economic crisis has highlighted the bankruptcy of a system that puts profits before the needs of ordinary people. Billions across the planet face hunger, war, poverty, catastrophic climate change and unemployment.

But billions are also asking whether a different world is possible, talking about alternatives and fighting back. Marxism 2010 will bring thousands of these people together from across the world to discuss, debate and organise the fightback. Don’t miss it. Book online here.

For more information on this year’s speakers and meetings. Timetable to be announced soon!

Participants confirmed so far include:

  • Slavoj Žižek

Living in the End Times will be published Summer 2010.

Zizek analyzes the end of the world at the hands of the “four riders of the apocalypse”

  • Sheila Rowbotham

Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century is out now.

“As the 21st century falters forward with faith wars and economic collapse, women need to be at the forefront of reimagining our world. This book is a timely reminder that we have been here before” Jeanette Winterson, Times

“Rowbotham has a marvellous gift for explication and an eye for the illuminating quotation… readers of this ambitious and eloquent book will agree with Rowbotham’s tough-minded conclusion: that in women’s ongoing effort to reconcile the personal and the political, “there is no automatic accretion of improvement”, but the need to reinvent utopia in every era.” Elaine Showalter, Daily Telegraph

  • Tariq Ali

Night of the Golden Butterfly is coming soon!

Monday 10 May: Talk and reading from Night of the Golden Butterfly at the British Library. From 18.45.

Tuesday 11 May: Public lecture at the LSE. From 18.30.

Wednesday 12 May: Talk at Bookmarks Bookshop. From 18.30.

  • Shlomo Sand

The paperback edition of the explosive The Invention of the Jewish People will be published Summer 2010.

“Shlomo Sand has written a remarkable book. … Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book.” Tony Judt

“…a formidable polemic against claims that Israel has a moral right to define itself as an explicitly and exclusively Jewish society, in which non-Jews, such as Palestino-Israelis, are culturally and politically marginalised.”  Max Hastings, Sunday Times

“Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso) is both a welcome and, in the case of Israel, much needed exercise in the dismantling of nationalist historical myth and a plea for an Israel that belongs equally to all its inhabitants. Perhaps books combining passion and erudition don’t change political situations, but if they did, this one would count as a landmark.” Eric Hobshawm, Observer, Books of the year

“A string of firecrackers” Stephen Howe, Independent, Book of the Week

“Sand takes on a formidable tradition in claiming that moral validity in the Middle East needs good history, and no discussion of the region any longer seems complete without acknowledgement of his book.” Independent on Sunday, Best History Books of 2009

“An important book – one that hammers another nail into Zionism’s ideological coffin.” Tony Greenstein, Weekly Worker

“[Sand’s] quiet earthquake of a book is shaking historical faith in the link between Judaism and Israel.” Rafael Behr, Observer

  • Authors and academics: Owen Hatherley (Militant Modernism), Alberto Toscano (The Theatre of Production), G M Tamás, Sheila Cohen (Ramparts of Resistance), Jane Hardy (Poland’s New Capitalism), Gareth Dale (Popular Protest in East Germany 1945-1989), Kevin Doogan (New Capitalism?), Neil Davidson (Discovering the Scottish Revolution 1692-1746), Colin Barker, Paul Blackledge (Reflections on the Marxist Theory of History), Martin Empson (Marxism and Ecology), Jonathan Neale (Stop Global Warming, Change the World), Christian Hogsbjerg, John Rose (Myths of Zionism)

Alberto Toscano’s long-awaited history of the figure of the fanatic Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea will be published very soon. Verso is publishing Owen Hatherley‘s A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain in Autumn 2010. More details to be announced soon!

  • Peter Hallward (Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment)

A new, updated edition of Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment is due this autumn.

  • Tony Benn asks where next after the election?

Tony Benn introduces Gerrard Winstanley’s The Law of Freedom in the Revolutions! series.

  • Ghada KarmiSami Ramadaniand Haifa Zangana take part in a course of meetings on Palestine , Iraq and the Middle East
  • Gerry Conlon (wrongly imprisoned as one of the Guildford Four) joins Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg and leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce for a panel discussion on civil liberties

On Torture and the Death of Justice by Gareth Peirce is forthcoming this summer. She is a defence lawyer who has represented many men and women in their appeals against wrongful convictions made on the basis of disputed scientific evidence, misidentification and police malpractice, including the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.

  • New-York based Guardian journalist Gary Younge assesses Obama’s first year in power
  • Hester EisensteinNina Powerand Judith Orr debate “the new sexism”
  • Economists Ben FineAlfredo Saad-FilhoJoseph Choonara,Guglielmo CarchediCostas Lapavitsas and Graham Turneranalyse the ongoing economic crisis
  • John Holloway on his new book, “Crack Capitalism”
  • Istvan Mészáros discusses alternatives to parliamentarism
  • Alex Callinicos on his new book, “Bonfire of Illusions”
  • Panos Garganas brings new from the front line of resistance in Greece
  • Mark Serwotka, Kevin Courtney , Matt Wrack and Jeremy Dearjoin discussions with other trade unionists
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP participates in a series of meetings on Latin America
  • Martin Smith (LMHR) andWeyman Bennett (UAF) on the fight against fascism
  • Die Linke MP in the BundestagChristine Buchholz speaks on Afghanistan and joins a panel on the radical left
  • Danny Dorling on “Injustice: why social inequality persists”
  • Steven Rose on “The future of the brain”
  • An evening of poetry withMichael Rosen
  • Roy Bailey performs an evening of folk music
  • David Edgar on “Theatre, funding and ideology”

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Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People has been shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2010

Now in its 31st year, the JQ-Wingate prize recognises writing by Jewish and non-Jewish authors, which stimulates an interest in themes of Jewish concern while appealing to the general reader.

Former winners include Amos Oz, David Grossman, Zadie Smith, Imre Kertesz, Oliver Sacks, WG Sebald, and Etgar Keret.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony hosted by the Jewish Quarterly in June.

The Invention of the Jewish People will be published in paperback by Verso in June.

More information on the prize here.

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Shlomo Sand‘s Invention of the Jewish People is mentioned in a Ha’aretz article by Matt Lerner on Jewish identity:

Traditional knowledge holds that there was once a distinct nation of people who all practiced the Jewish religion, a Hebrew people with a common geographic origin and, in all likelihood, relatively uniform physical appearance.

But there are those, like Tel Aviv University professor Shlomo Sand, who question both the relevance and validity of this notion in modern discourse.

Sand is the author of a book called “The Invention of the Jewish People”, and a proponent of the belief that today’s Jews are the descendants of different global populations who converted to Judaism over the ages, rather than the offspring of an exiled Hebrew nation.

Sand rejects the traditional narrative of a Roman-instigated diaspora and views the notion of Jewish ethnicity as a racist one used to perpetuate a Zionist myth of ownership of the land of Israel.

Read the full article here.

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