Monday, September 08, 2008

A few of months ago there was a small kerfuffle when an absurd book, written by an Israeli professor of cinema and French history named Shlomo Zand, postulated that there is no Jewish people and no Jewish nation. No one took it the least bit seriously except for, unsurprisingly, Ha'aretz, which published a number of articles about it. The author has no expertise as an historian and the ideas in the book have been well-debunked elsewhere.

It was only a matter of time before the anti-Israel crowd would seize on this shoddy piece of pseudo-scholarship and use it to show the complete illegitimacy of Judaism, Zionism, Jewish history and any non-Arab in the Middle East.

For example, Gilad Atzmon just wrote a worshipful article about this book, and added his own layers of stupidity on top.

He quotes Zand in Ha'aretz and adds his own "proof":
In case you follow Zand’s line of thinking and happen to ask yourself, “when was the Jewish people invented?” Zand’s answer is rather simple. “At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people ‘retrospectively,’ out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people.”

...It is an established fact that not a single Jewish history text had been written between the 1st century and early 19th century.
That last sentence seemed a bit too declarative to me, so I just looked a bit at Google Books for histories of Jews that predate the 19th century. A single counterexample should be enough to prove that the entire thesis is ridiculous, and, sure enough, I found it:

The History of the Jews: From Jesus Christ to the Present Time: Containing Their Antiquities, Their Religion, Their Rites, the Dispersion of the Ten Tribes in the East and the Persecutions this Nation Has Suffer'd in the West. Being a Supplement and Continuation of the History of Josephus
By Jacques Basnage, sieur de Beauval Jacques Basnage, Thomas Taylor, Pre-1801 Imprint Collection (Library of Congress)
Translated by Thomas Taylor, of Magdalen College Oxford Thomas Taylor
Published by Printed by T. Bever and B. Lintot [etc.], 1708
759 pages
Plus, a well-known and disputed work that still serves as a counter-example:

The Wonderful, and Most Deplorable History of the Later Times of the Jews: With the Destruction of the City of Jerusalem, which History Begins where the Holy Scriptures Do End
By ha-Levi Abraham ben David, Abraham ben David, Sebastian Münster, Peter Morwen, James Howell, J. S.
Published by Printed for W. Thackeray, and are to be sold by James Gilbertson at the Sun and Bible on London-Bridge, 1689
340 pages
This last example seems to be at least a partial translation of a book written in the tenth century.

And, finally:

The History of the Present Jews Throughout the World: Being an Ample Tho Succinct Account of Their Customs, Ceremonies, and Manner of Living, ... Translated from the Italian, Written by Leo Modena, ... To which are Subjoin'd Two Supplements, One Concerning the Samaritans, the Other of the Sect ...
By Leone Modena
Published by printed and sold by Edm. Powell, 1707
286 pages
Atzmon isn't the only anti-semite to seize on Zand as the latest savior of racist philosophy., for example, wasted no time quoting Tom Segev's review in Ha'aretz.

Of course, there are a myriad of other reasons to prove that both Zand and Atzmon have no idea what they are talking about, but this one just struck my fancy.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive