Shlomo Sand, Israeli historian
When Jim Rutenberg and Serge Kovaleski refer to “books like The Invention of the Jewish People and March of the Titans: A History of the White Race,” should we assume that these are just ignorant journalists making a grossly inappropriate association, or are they purposefully trying to mislead their readers?
In their New York Times hatchet job on Ron Paul we are told that “white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed.”
White supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists? In the minds of these reporters, anyone who promotes the idea that Israel should become a state of all its citizens — Jews, Arabs and others — apparently looks like a political bedfellow of the likes of Stormfront or the Militia of Montana.
The article reports on the appeal that Ron Paul has among some white supremacists and survivalists and yet says nothing on the anti-Zionist element. Rutenberg and Kovaleski were apparently content to merely insinuate that there is a link between criticism of Israel and racism.
The closest they come to providing evidence of such an association is the article’s opening sentence where the two books are linked.
March of the Titans: A History of the White Race is by Arthur Kemp, an advocate of white separatism and foreign affairs spokesman for the ultra-right and racist British National Party. Kemp is a Holocaust denier and was “linked to the murderer of the South African Communist party and ANC leader Chris Hani in 1993,” The Guardian reported in 2009.
The Invention of the Jewish People, first published in Hebrew in Israel with the title, Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?, is by Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University. The book was a bestseller in Israel for several months before being translated into French and English.
Tony Judt wrote: “Shlomo Sand has written a remarkable book. In cool, scholarly prose he has, quite simply, normalized Jewish history. In place of the implausible myth of a unique nation with a special destiny – expelled, isolated, wandering and finally restored to its rightful home – he has reconstructed the history of the Jews and convincingly reintegrated that history into the general story of humankind. The self-serving and mostly imaginary Jewish past that has done so much to provoke conflict in the present is revealed, like the past of so many other nations, to be largely an invention. Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book.”
Of course Rutenberg and Kovaleski would be unlikely to attach much weight to Judt’s assessment of Sand’s book — Judt was after all one of those dubious anti-Zionists.
The irony about linking anti-Zionists with anti-Semities is that Zionism is a philosophy that has obvious appeal to anti-Semites. Encourage all the Jews to move to Israel — why would the anti-Semites object?
Indeed, the emerging political convergence on the extreme right has been between anti-Semites and Zionists and that’s an unholy alliance that probably finds Ron Paul the least appealing among the GOP presidential hopefuls.