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The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland 1st Edition

42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1844679461
ISBN-10: 1844679462
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sand is an Israeli academic with a talent for outraging holders of mainstream Jewish opinions both within and outside of Israel while providing fodder for anti-Zionists. In his previous work, The Invention of the Jewish People (2010), he described the Jewish people as an artificial construct grafted upon disparate groups adhering to a religious confession. Here he builds on that premise, asserting that centuries-long Jewish attachment to “Eretz Israel” is a myth perpetrated by Zionists and Christian fundamentalists beginning in the late nineteenth century. Although Sand has some useful things to say about the fostering of a national identity, this is basically a one-sided polemic utilizing intellectually sloppy arguments. If one follows his criteria for “peoplehood,” one could exclude Arabs, Kurds, and many other groups. In “demolishing” opposing arguments, he takes statements by extremists and presents them as standard views. Sand’s real agenda seems to be to change current Israeli policy towards Palestinians. That may be a worthy goal, but it deserves a better advocate than Sand. --Jay Freeman


“Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book.”—Tony Judt, In praise of The Invention of the Jewish People

“Perhaps books combining passion and erudition don’t change political situations, but if they did, this one would count as a landmark.”—Eric Hobsbawm, In praise of The Invention of the Jewish People

“A thought-provoking, readable, and important work.”—Publisher's Weekly

“... there is much to enjoy and learn in the evidence in the potentially incendiary material [Shlomo Sand] assembles here.”—Electronic Intifada

“[Sand] critically consider the ways in which the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel have been justified by claims of ancestral lands, historical rights, and millennia-old national yearnings, all of which he proceeds to critically undermine as either justifiable reasons for mastery over the land of Palestine/Israel or even representative of longstanding mass Jewish aspirations.”—Book News

“This groundbreaking new historical work from a highly controversial author undoes the myth of the Jewish people’s historical right to the ‘Land of Israel.’”—

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844679462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844679461
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shlomo Sand studied history at the University of Tel Aviv and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris. He currently teaches contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People, L'Illusion du politique: Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900, Georges Sorel en son temps, Le XXe siècle à l'écran and Les Mots et la terre: les intellectuels en Israël.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Invention of the Land of Israel by Shlomo Sand

"The Invention of the Land of Israel" is the follow up to the fascinating and controversial "The Invention of the Jewish People". This excellent book serves as a complementary addition to the aforementioned book and fills gaps left behind. Historian and outspoken professor, Shlomo Sand does it again with this enlightening and educational book that reveals the history behind the Land of Israel. This 304-page book is composed of the following five chapters: 1. Making Homelands: Biological Imperative or National Property?, 2. Mytherritory: In the Beginning, God Promised the Land, 3. Toward a Christian Zionism: and Balfour Promised the Land, 4. Zionism Versus Judaism: The Conquest of "Ethnic" Space, and 5. Conclusion: The Sad Tale of the Frog and the Scorpion.

1. A well-researched and well-cited book that takes you into the always fascinating world of Jewish history.
2. As candid and forthright a book as you will find. Professor Sand provides solid and well-cited evidence in support of his arguments.
3. Enlightening and thought-provoking book to say the least.
4. An excellent complement to his best-selling book "The Invention of the Jewish People".
5. The myth that was the forced uprooting of the "Jewish people."
6. The book does a wonderful job of explaining how the dissemination of a formative historical mythos occurred. "Never did I accept the idea of the Jews' historical rights to the Promised Land as self-evident."
7. Clarifies some of the misunderstood points made in his previous book.
8. Professor Sand takes pride in his historical scholarship and it shows.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Schulman on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Shlomo Sand does it again. After his ground breaking "Invention of the Jewish People", this new book deconstructs the idea that Israel is the homeland of all Jews and calls Zionism into question by showing that the holy land is not the homeland that the Jewish people long for. The true homeland is a mental, spiritual ideal, and has nothing to do with property rights. He quotes one of the "earliest voices of the Enlightenment to emerge from eighteenth-century European Jewry", Moses Mendelssohn: "The Talmud forbids us to even think of a return (to Palestine) by force (i.e., to attempt to effect Redemption through human effort). Without the miracles and signs mentioned in the Scripture, we must not take the smallest step in the direction of forcing a return and a restoration of our nation. The Song of Songs expresses this prohibition" ........ "That you stir not up, nor awake my love, Till it please."

Along the way, Sand deconstructs the Balfour Declaration from which the Zionists take the "legal" right to invade and occupy Palestine. Balfour had no interest in the Jewish claims to Palestine other than to arrest immigration of the Jews of Eastern Europe from entering England, and to use them as a buffer in its imperialist claims to colonize the Middle East.

"The Invention of the Land of Israel" is an important work which describes the history of the creation of Israel, and should be read by all those, Jews and non-Jews alike, who are still in thrall of the myth of Zionist claims to Eretz Israel.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Brent on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In response to the pathetic propagandist troll below, Professor of History Shlomo Sand, Ph.D. (who is on the history faculty at Tel Aviv University; a University which sits on land stolen from the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Al-Shaykh Muwannis. As Professor Sand notes in his own dedication in this book of his) showed how among many others historian Israel Jacob Yuval completely debunks your "exile" mythology in Yuval's article "The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship"

Also in response to the very pathetic attempted "attacks" on Professor Sand, Ph.D.'s credentials once again:

Dr Sand attributed his colleagues' reticence to engage with him to an implicit acknowledgement by many that the whole edifice of "Jewish history" taught at Israeli universities is built like a house of cards. The problem with the teaching of history in Israel, Dr Sand said, dates to a decision in the 1930s to separate history into two disciplines: general history and Jewish history. Jewish history was assumed to need its own field of study because Jewish experience was considered unique.

"There's no Jewish department of politics or sociology at the universities. Only history is taught in this way, and it has allowed specialists in Jewish history to live in a very insular and conservative world where they are not touched by modern developments in historical research. "I've been criticised in Israel for writing about Jewish history when European history is my specialty. But a book like this needed a historian who is familiar with the standard concepts of historical inquiry used by academia in the rest of the world.
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