At a time when there is a relentless campaign to equate legitimate criticism of the colonial expansionist policies of the Israeli government with anti-semitism, this text from Shlomo Sand, history professor from Tel Aviv University, is nothing short of explosive. From within the ‘belly of the beast’ so to speak, this Israeli academic has produced a thesis that gets to the very heart of the ‘greater Israel’ project. But it does so much more. In the process of demolishing the ludicrous notion of Israel being ‘God’s promised land to God’s chosen people’, Shlomo’s well documented thesis works to deconstruct the whole notion of ‘pure’ biological races emanating from some misty god inspired times. Even a cursory investigation of history shows that most nations are relatively recent constructs, and even the more ‘ancient’ nations turn out to be little more than an accumulation of successive waves of invasions, migrations and social intermingling, England being the perfect example.

As Albert Einstein once sardonically noted, there is absolutely nothing exceptional about the Jewish people, and if they achieve their own homeland he expects them to behave precisely in the same manner as other nations ie. aggressively. History it seems is proving him right and not just in the field of physics. So, when we make sharp criticisms of the colonial expansionism that has always been at the heart of the Zionist project, this has absolutely nothing to do with the irrational medieval prejudice towards those of a ‘Jewish’ background, and everything to do with opposing colonial expansion at the expense of other settled communities. But here is the bombshell that Shlomo unleashes: many of those that regard themselves as direct descendants of Abraham, Moses and Jacob are in fact the descendants of those who were either forcibly or voluntarily converted to Judaism. But it gets even better. Those that successive Israeli governments have sought to expel from the area that is now rapidly becoming ‘greater Israel’, i.e. the Palestinian peasant farmers, are, thanks to DNA advances, in all probability, the real descendants of the Semitic tribes of biblical times. Such wonderfully cruel irony.

 No one with any sense of justice and humanity could begrudge the persecuted Jews of Europe a safe and secure place to live. Those that consider themselves Jews, be it by religion, culture or by an imagined bond of race, have had their fair share of suffering at the hands of their persecutors. Of course, they are not the only religious or national group to suffer, despite a relentless Zionist narrative that works hard to elevate ‘Jewish’ suffering as some biblical phenomenon over and above all other suffering. But they have most certainly known what it is like to be continually marginalised, excluded, scapegoated and physically tormented - the Jewish holocaust of World War Two being simply the most recent barbaric chapter. But all this cannot, must not, justify the expulsion of other communities from land they have farmed for centuries.

The post-war UN mandated settlement was always going to highly problematic given that the designated area for the new state of Israel just happened to coincide precisely with the land where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families were peacefully living. Now it is the Palestinians who are experiencing their very own holocaust, (the Nakbah), only in one of the horribly sick ironies of recent history, it is being carried out by those that really should have bucket loads of empathy for the dispossessed and marginalised. But empathy, as Shlomo make perfectly clear, was never at the top of the 19th century Zionist project. Just as other European ‘nations’ had consolidated their sense of nationhood during the 18th & 19th centuries, so it was the turn of the European Jews. And in order to achieve this, they like all other nation builders before them, had to create a national narrative. And what better narrative than a ‘god promised land’ for ‘god’s chosen people’. But to make this narrative stick, the Zionists had to perpetuate the entirely false notion that all Jews could trace their biological roots back to Abrahamic biblical times. Unfortunately, the science of DNA testing is causing that carefully constructive narrative to unravel.

If we apply Shlomo’s extraordinary work to the planet generally, we quickly see that all this renewed talk of making nations ‘great again’ is just so much 19th century nostalgic nonsense. The facts are brutal and stubborn. There is only one race and that is the human race - one that evolved, from ape to man, over a staggeringly long five million year period. Although the anthropology is still a little murky, it is now generally accepted that we homo sapiens migrated out of Africa, in a succession of migratory waves, over a 100,000-year time span. More recent arrivals apparently interbred with earlier migratory waves. It seems we have a more significant dollop of Neanderthal DNA in us than we might care to admit.

 During this long period of migration, we humans adopted any number of superstitious beliefs to explain our very extraordinary existence, Judaism being perhaps the first of the monotheistic beliefs. This first monotheistic religion was later to be challenged first by Christianity and latter still by Islam. But the waves of migration did not stop. We humans kept on the move, looking always for a safe-haven to feed ourselves and propagate our specie. Superstitious beliefs abounded, and as we moved from territory to territory these beliefs intermingled and endlessly morphed into new and ever more outlandish religions complete with prophets, miracles and predetermined futures. The more clever and cunning amongst us could exploit our material and philosophical insecurities for their own advantage. They are still doing it.   

Shlomo provides powerful ammunition to help us deconstruct all the nonsense surrounding race, nation and religion but whether many of us are now willing choose science over religious superstition and national hubris is doubtful. The early 21st century portents are not looking good.

To get a feel of Shlomo’s work I offer a few apposite passages but a comprehensive reading of this work is highly recommended. In fact, it should be mandatory reading, full stop.

The Statement by the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce that “any history is first of all a product of the time of its writing” has long been a common-place, but it still fits perfectly the Zionist historiography of the Jewish past. The conquest of the “City of David” in 1967 had to be achieved by the direct descendants of the House of David – not, perish the thought, by the offspring of tough horsemen from the Volga-Don steppes, the deserts of southern Arabia, or the coast of North Africa. In other words, the “whole, undivided Land of Israel” needed more than ever a “whole, undivided People of Israel”.’ P243  

‘Just as the French were persuaded that their ancestors were the Gauls, and the Germans cherished the idea that they descended directly from the Aryan Teutons, so the Jews had to know that they were the authentic descendants of the “children of Israel” who came out of Egypt. Only this myth of Hebrew ancestors could justify the right that they claimed Palestine.’ P316

‘It was no accident that the modern Jewish nationalism opted for the fictitious ethnic element of the long tradition. It fell upon that concept with glee, manipulated it thoroughly in its ideological laboratories, nurtured it with questionable secular historical data and made it the foundation of the past. The national memory was implanted on a base of ritual oblivion, hence its amazing success. Had the memory of the mass conversion to Judaism been preserved, it might have eroded the metanarrative about the biological unity of the Jewish people, whose roots were believed to trace back all the way to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not to a heterogeneous mosaic of human populations that lived in the Hasmonean kingdom, in the Persian domain and in the far-flung expanses of the Roman Empire.’ P189

‘The great majority of the fellahin do not descend from the Arab conquerors but before that, from the Jewish fellahin, who were the foundation of the country before its conquest by Islam. …. Very soon the modern Palestinian fellahin became, in the eyes of the authorized (Zionist) agents of memory, Arabian immigrants who came in the nineteenth century to an almost empty country and continued to arrive in the twentieth century as the developing Zionist economy, and according to the new myth, attracted many thousands of non-Jewish labourers.’P187/88

‘The Jews used to convert their slaves, and their synagogues were effective venues that attracted their neighbours to join them. The masses of Jewish believers in Italy, Gaul and elsewhere were mostly local people who had converted to Judaism. In conclusion,  there is no Jewish race, nor one typical Jewish appearance. At most, self-isolation, endogenous marriage and the long periods in the ghettoes had produced certain Jewish types. The Jews’ secluded social life had affected their behaviour and even their physiognomy. Heredity and blood had nothing to do with it.’ P269

The Zionist propaganda chiefs will no doubt try to dismiss Shlomo’s work as the ramblings of a self-loathing Jew, but as the science of DNA testing improves his thesis will be increasingly hard to dismiss.

  

End JPK Copyright 15/12/16

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