May 24, 2009 at 9:17 am #128537
Oct 10th, 2008
Israeli Bestseller Breaks National Taboo
by Jonathan Cook
No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel’s bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel’s biggest taboo.
Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.
An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial.
In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today’s Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country’s conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.
The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world. A French edition, launched last month, is selling so fast that it has already had three print runs.
Translations are under way into a dozen languages, including Arabic and English. But he predicted a rough ride from the pro-Israel lobby when the book is launched by his English publisher, Verso, in the United States next year.
In contrast, he said Israelis had been, if not exactly supportive, at least curious about his argument. Tom Segev, one of the country’s leading journalists, has called the book “fascinating and challenging.”
Surprisingly, Dr. Sand said, most of his academic colleagues in Israel have shied away from tackling his arguments. One exception is Israel Bartal, a professor of Jewish history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Writing in Haaretz, the Israeli daily newspaper, Dr. Bartal made little effort to rebut Dr. Sand’s claims. He dedicated much of his article instead to defending his profession, suggesting that Israeli historians were not as ignorant about the invented nature of Jewish history as Dr. Sand contends.
The idea for the book came to him many years ago, Dr. Sand said, but he waited until recently to start working on it. “I cannot claim to be particularly courageous in publishing the book now,” he said. “I waited until I was a full professor. There is a price to be paid in Israeli academia for expressing views of this sort.”
Dr. Sand’s main argument is that until little more than a century ago, Jews thought of themselves as Jews only because they shared a common religion. At the turn of the 20th century, he said, Zionist Jews challenged this idea and started creating a national history by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion.
Equally, the modern Zionist idea of Jews being obligated to return from exile to the Promised Land was entirely alien to Judaism, he added.
“Zionism changed the idea of Jerusalem. Before, the holy places were seen as places to long for, not to be lived in. For 2,000 years Jews stayed away from Jerusalem not because they could not return but because their religion forbade them from returning until the messiah came.”
The biggest surprise during his research came when he started looking at the archaeological evidence from the biblical era.
“I was not raised as a Zionist, but like all other Israelis I took it for granted that the Jews were a people living in Judea and that they were exiled by the Romans in 70AD.
“But once I started looking at the evidence, I discovered that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were legends.
“Similarly with the exile. In fact, you can’t explain Jewishness without exile. But when I started to look for history books describing the events of this exile, I couldn’t find any. Not one.
“That was because the Romans did not exile people. In fact, Jews in Palestine were overwhelming peasants and all the evidence suggests they stayed on their lands.”
Instead, he believes an alternative theory is more plausible: the exile was a myth promoted by early Christians to recruit Jews to the new faith. “Christians wanted later generations of Jews to believe that their ancestors had been exiled as a punishment from God.”
So if there was no exile, how is it that so many Jews ended up scattered around the globe before the modern state of Israel began encouraging them to “return”?
Dr. Sand said that, in the centuries immediately preceding and following the Christian era, Judaism was a proselytizing religion, desperate for converts. “This is mentioned in the Roman literature of the time.”
Jews traveled to other regions seeking converts, particularly in Yemen and among the Berber tribes of North Africa. Centuries later, the people of the Khazar kingdom in what is today south Russia, would convert en masse to Judaism, becoming the genesis of the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe.
Dr. Sand pointed to the strange state of denial in which most Israelis live, noting that papers offered extensive coverage recently to the discovery of the capital of the Khazar kingdom next to the Caspian Sea.
Ynet, the website of Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, headlined the story: “Russian archaeologists find long-lost Jewish capital.” And yet none of the papers, he added, had considered the significance of this find to standard accounts of Jewish history.
One further question is prompted by Dr. Sand’s account, as he himself notes: if most Jews never left the Holy Land, what became of them?
“It is not taught in Israeli schools but most of the early Zionist leaders, including David Ben Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister], believed that the Palestinians were the descendants of the area’s original Jews. They believed the Jews had later converted to Islam.”
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 criticized 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.”
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National (http://www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.
May 24, 2009 at 10:36 am #80461
The Origins of Modern Jewry
Against the Rationalization of Zionist Crimes
by Joachim Martillo
Zionists and their white racist Evangelical Christian Fundamentalist supporters justify mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide against the native Palestinian population by asserting that ethnic Ashkenazim are descended from ancient Greco-Roman Palestinian Judeans or Galileans.
This belief has no connection to the facts as many Jewish studies scholars will admit in private. At an MIT lecture I asked Harvard Professor Shaye Cohen about the ancestral connection of modern ethnic Ashkenazim to ancient Palestine, and he told me there has been a lot of conversion since Greco-Roman times (whatever conversion meant in Greco-Roman times). In 2002 Marc Ferro published Les Tabous de l\’histoire, which discusses in detail the conversion to which Professor Cohen referred.
Conversion is not the only process that deterritorialized Judaism. The Hasmoneans and Herodians seem to have pursued a policy of bringing as many worshippers of the high God El as possible within the fold of the Jerusalem Temple in order to improve the Judean kingdom\’s finances. El was Kronos to the Greeks and Saturnus to the Romans. In Hellenistic Tyre El Kon-Artz (El Creator of the Earth) was worshipped as El Kronos.
At the time of Jesus the vast majority of El-worshippers, who were adherents of 2nd Temple Judaism, probably had no ancestral connection whatsoever to Greco-Roman Judea, Persian Yehud or ancient Judah.
In very careful analysis of the sources, Seth Schwartz concludes in Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World) that by the end of the 2nd century 2nd Temple Judaism was completely shattered. He argues that the Constantinian Church reconstructed late Roman Judaism. In a way Shaye Cohen agrees because in The Beginnings of Jewishness he dates the origin of Jewishness as we understand it today to the 4th century.
In Schwartz\’s analysis Cohen\’s dating is probably too early because Talmudic/Geonic Judaism is not clearly the dominant current in late Roman Judaism, and Judean Christianity, which treats Jesus as messiah but not as God or son of God, still has many adherents throughout Palestine, Mesopotamia and Arabia Felix (Hijaz). Such Judean Christians viewed themselves as practicing some form of Judaism, and no Jewish group had a well-defined position on matrilineality or on conversion practices within the Judaism of this time period.
As the Christian late Roman Empire gradually retrenched or broke down, the Khazar Kingdom rose in Southern Russia and flourished from the seventh through tenth centuries. The wealth of the Khazar kingdom seems to have been based in trading Slavs and members of other Southern Russian ethnic groups as slaves first with the Byzantine Empire and then with the early Islamic Empires as well.
Trading in slaves in that time period cannot be equated with human trafficking today. Ancient servitude like later Islamic or Ottoman slavery could provide social mobility, confer political authority and give social status to members of an alien immigrant population. Ehud Toledano discusses such aspects of Ottoman Slavery in Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East. Khazar, Byzantine and early Islamic slavery was probably closer to the later Ottoman system.
Dealing with the Christian and Islamic Empires put pagan Khazars in a tricky position. Some seem to have converted to Christianity and Islam, but such conversion may have created problems for the slave trade because as Christians or Muslims, the Khazars would have had an obligation to convert Slav subjects to either Christianity or Islam and incorporate them into the community. Slaving in such a situation is quite problematic. That time period\’s Judaisms, which were far less committed to proselytization than Christianity or Islam, for the most part made strong distinctions between members of the community and gentiles as well as between Hebrew slaves and Canaanite (gentile) slaves. Starting in the 8th century (or maybe earlier) the Khazars began to convert to Judaism, and by the 10th century the Khazar Kingdom officially practiced Judaism. For the entire Middle Ages, Rabbinic Jewish literature consistently refers to Eastern Europe as Kanaan — I presume — because Eastern Europe was a source of Slavs who were treated legally as `avadim kanaanim (Canaanite slaves).
In contrast with Ibero-Berber Jewish naming practices, which often include Talmudic Aramaic names consistent with the occasional immigration of Jews from Babylonia to Spain, Khazar Jewish names show the typical convert pattern of choosing names out of scripture as described in the work of Columbia Professor William Bulliet. Archeological investigation finds mixed Turkic pagan and Judaic graveyards with the earliest such mixed graveyards in Southern Russia and the later such graveyards in the Balkans and Hungary. Archeologists have also found coins with Turkic and Hebrew inscriptions in Hebrew-Aramaic letters. There is no textual or epigraphical evidence of knowledge of Arabic or of Aramaic among Southern Russian and Eastern European Jews of the 10th century or earlier as one would expect if they or near ancestors were immigrants from Palestine or Mesopotamia.
The Khazars corresponded with the Geonim, who seem to have been willing to adjust the sacred law to fit the slave trade in exchange for economic support. Such accommodation is probably the origin of Medieval Rabbinic Judaism as Khazar slavers needed a codified legal system, and Khazar contributions made it possible for Geonic Judaism to dominate and finally absorb other forms of Judaism at the same time that many members of non-Khazar Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean region, Germany and France became agents of the slave trade either directly or through finance, tax farming, or estate management, which were all heavily involved in the slave trade in the early Medieval period or through the medical profession, whose revenue stream came almost entirely from slave traders or slave owners during this time frame. The Jewish slavers that accompanied William the Conqueror to England seem to have been of Ibero-Berber origin and not of Khazar background.
Matrilineal non-proselytizing Medieval Rabbinic Judaism proved exceptionally friendly to the Slavic slave trade. Medieval centers of Rabbinic Jewish learning thrived along with the Slavic slave trade while Medieval Karaites were probably the last holdouts against the Geonic accommodation. Karaite centers declined and tended to be in rather isolated parts of the world.
Amitav Ghosh translated a lot of Geniza documents written by or about a Jewish slaver in India. The book is called In an Antique Land, and Ghosh is somewhat diffident about describing his subject\’s source of income.
May 24, 2009 at 10:38 am #119913
This Khazar hypothesis complements the Pirenne Thesis (Mahomet et Charlegmagne) as well as some of the proposals of Crone, Cooke, and Nevo about the development of early Islam (Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Crossroads to Islam by Yehuda Nevo and Judith Koren). The spread of various forms of Judaism to Southern Russia probably explains why St. Kliment of Ohrid gave many Cyrillic letters forms similar to those in the Hebrew Aramaic alphabet. Members of a non-Rabbinic Jewish group probably created the Slavonic book of Esther while Bogomili Christianity and Catharism were probably brought westward by Slavic slaves that practiced evolved forms of Judean Christianity, no longer recognized as Judaism by Rabbinic Jewish Khazars.
As the Slavic slave trade expanded the Jewish traders probably needed to free semi-proselyte Slavic slaves to assist in the business. A similar process took place in West Africa as the Black African slave trade expanded. In Germano-Slavic territories where Sorbian and Polabian were spoken, the Slavo-Khazar traders, who initially probably used Sorbian and Polabian, had incentive to relexify their Slavic dialect to German in order to trade with dominant German-speaking populations and to separate themselves from pagan and Christian Sorbians and Polabians. During the 9th-13th centuries this process created an older form of Yiddish, which became the West Yiddish dialects of German territories. During this time period, as the Slavo-Khazar Jewish population became larger and more important within the Jewish community, Arabic died out as a language of religious discourse among non-Khazar Rabbinical Jews.
As the Khazar traders reconstructed trade routes or created entirely new trade routes, Khazar and non-Khazar Jews developed distribution networks for goods unrelated to Slavery. In Spain the Jewish non-Slavery-related trade did not seem to have been highly valued because Spain expelled its Jewish population within 50 years of the shutdown of Slavic slave trade in Mediterranean Christian countries as a consequence of the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople.
The development of sophisticated heterogeneous distribution networks by Jews in Poland made Commonwealth Poland a wealthy world power while Jewish estate management, finance and tax farming remained important and often thrived in Poland even after the complete shutdown of the overland Slavic slave trade by the end of the Wars of the Reformation.
As Jews from the German territories migrated Eastward because of the Crusades and the Wars of the Reformation, the Slavic Kiev-Polessian dialects of the Slavo-Turkic Eastern European and Southern Russian Jewish populations (with the exception of certain isolated Judeoslavic-speaking communities in Slovakia and the Sub-Carpathian region) were relexified to West Yiddish to create East Yiddish dialects. Paul Wexler explains the vocabulary of Yiddish in Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish without proposing any historical reasons for the process. The work of Alexander Beider and other specialists in onomastic studies also demonstrate a westward migration of Eastern Slavic-speaking Jews. Some of the linguistic development of East Yiddish may have taken place in German territories.
By the 17th century practically all consciousness of the Khazar kingdom was lost among Jews, and Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews constitute a distinct Eastern European Ashkenazi ethnic group. During the German economic depression of the century following the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), there was considerable mixing of impoverished German Christians and German Jews, and many Jews probably passed into the Christian community while some Christians were probably absorbed in the Jewish community. During the same time period, as Poland collapsed after the Chmielnicki Rebellion (1648), Polish Prussia came under German rule, and German Jews began to develop some familiarity with the Polish estate system. Thus even after the crystallization of Ashkenazi ethnicity, the boundary between German Jews and Eastern European ethnic Ashkenazim has never been particularly solid.
This article seems to conflict with genetic anthropological studies of Hammer, Oppenheim and similar people but these studies are severely flawed as Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh and I point out in http://tinyurl.com/3e4xby . A recent article by Talia Bloch in the Forward (\”One Big, Happy Family,\” Aug. 22, 2007, http://www.forward.com/articles/11444/ ) indicates that even some of the most extreme Zionist genetics researchers are beginning to concede that ethnic Ashkenazim are a separate ethnic group distinct from other Jewish groups except insofar as members of ethnic Ashkenazi communities or related Eastern European and Southern Russian populations have been exported to non-Ashkenazi communities in the past.
The rationalization of Zionist crimes against Palestinians on the basis of some sort of modern Jewish ancestral connection to ancient Palestinian populations has always been unethical, but even those that believe genes confer superior rights to one group over another must concede that ethnic Ashkenazi Zionists in Palestine are murderous genocidal thieves and interlopers.
Dr. Shaye Cohen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaye_J.D._Cohen
October 17, 2009 at 7:19 am #120355
作者：Uri Avnery 2008.04.19
October 17, 2009 at 7:20 am #120356
以色列史家Shlomo Sand寫有一本新書，其書名頗有挑釁性——《猶太人是何時、如何杜撰出來的》。與Arthur Koestler等之前的史家一樣，Sand稱德系猶太人其實大多是Khazar人之後。Khazar人是突厥人的一支，一千多年前曾在今天的俄羅斯南部創建大王國。Khazar王皈依猶太教，而根據這一理論，東歐猶太人大多是Khazar皈依者的後嗣。Sand還認為，西班牙系猶太人的祖先大都是北非一些未成為穆斯林、而是皈依猶太教的阿拉伯與柏柏爾部落，他們曾與穆斯林一道征服西班牙。
October 17, 2009 at 7:21 am #120357
有人以 DNA 測試結果說現代猶太人同源為由，去反駁現代猶太人乃 Khazar人、庫爾德人等民族的後裔之說。其實並不成立，一則 DNA 測試之數量離可下結論還有段距離。二則就算 DNA 相同也不等於是來自巴勒斯坦地。三則所謂相同也只是有相同，亦即 A、B、C 等族混合的後人與B、C、D、E 等族混合的後人便有相同。
中世紀時Sephardic Jews 在西班牙及葡萄牙等地被迫害，逃亡，部份東移，與Ashkenazi融合。故Ashkenazi 的人數特別多（約佔七成猶太人）。
根據塞西爾‧羅斯（Cecil Roth）《簡明猶太民族史》，「加泰羅尼亞（Catalonia）或許是歐洲人口最為綢密的猶太中心」（276頁），雖然人口最為綢密不等於人口最多，但數目肯定不少。證明中世紀「1492年3月30日，……費迪南和莎貝拉共同簽署了一條法令：在四個月之內，把他們領地上的猶太人全部驅逐出去。」（288頁）。「據保守估計，流放者的總人數大約在 15萬人以上」（289頁）。「1500年這個國家（引按：指波蘭）的猶太人據計僅有5萬人，而一個半世紀以後，就增長到了50萬人。」（342頁）十六、七世紀人口增長仍很緩慢，一個半世紀十倍的增長，如果說沒有相當比例的外來者，怎樣也說不通。東歐Ashkenazim激增正正是Sephardic Jews逃離西班西牙等地的年代，會是巧合嗎？
雖然那些 DNA 測試報告猶太人前，猶太人後，這只是先入為主。報告不知不覺露端倪，例如：The \”Ashkenazi\” are positioned between the \”J\” and the Turks, suggesting the possibility that they have both Jewish and Turkic descent. The Lemba are positioned between the \”J\” and the Sub-Saharan, also suggesting they may have mixed descent.
又例如：Interestingly, the position of the Muslim Kurds on this tree is between Kurdish and Sephardic Jews on the one hand and Ashkenazim on the other
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