The Invention of the Jewish People

 by SHLOMO SAND

Even though it is a detailed academic study, it is a pleasure to read. The language is crisp (some of the plaudits here must go to the translator). But what I found particularly enjoyable was the progressive building of the argument, citing source after source, evaluating them as adding (or not) to the tower of knowledge he constructs.
What is a ‘nation’? Is there (was there ever?) a Jewish nation? The constuction of myths cast as history, such as the invention of the exile of the Jews.There was no exile, he argues. How Zionist historians often glossed over inconvenient history (including archeological finds) in their deire to ‘prove’ the existence of a Jewish Nation.
Sand is Jewish and teaches at Tel Aviv University so this is no anti-semitic treatise. For anyone interested in the Middle East and Israel’s position in it this should be compulsory reading. Not everyone will agree with his conclusions, however the clarity of his writing and the logic of the argument make it a book hard to dismiss.