Shlomo Sand and The Jewish Left’s Lie
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following extract is lifted from an Haaretz article discussing Shlomo Sand. The Author, Anshel Pfeffer has managed to grasp the gist of Sand’s argument that is identical to the criticism I developed in The Wandering Who: Jewish anti Zionism is a spin. It is not ethically grounded, it is not universal either! It exists to convey an image of Jewish dissent – or shall we call it what it is – a controlled opposition apparatus.
“I realized this at a lecture he gave last month at the London Middle East Institute and the Center for Jewish Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Nearly 300 people came to listen to Sand talk about his (Shlomo Sand) new book; a great many of them of that specific demographic that, for want of a better description, can be labeled “conflicted Jews.” In the Q&A part of the lecture, two of them asked Sand, with real pain in their voices, “instead of stopping being a Jew, why didn’t you write ‘How I Stopped Being an Israeli?’”
They simply couldn’t understand how their admired writer, who has dedicated a major part of his writing career to dismantling what he sees as the fake mythology of Jewish nationalism, and lambasting the Israeli state, could deny the Jewish part of his identity in favor of his Israeli one. But Sand has done the opposite of what they expected of him (and some of them have actually done themselves). Not only has he constructed for himself a new form of Israeli identity, but he denies these secular, progressive, non-Zionist Jews their intellectual integrity. He ridicules those who claim to be upholding Jewish values while criticizing Israel, and writes that they are no different from “overt pro-Zionists.” These “anti-Zionist Jews” who have never lived in Israel, he writes, “claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel.” Living in their “diaspora,” a term he dismisses with quotation marks, they are “granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding the future and fate of Israel.”
No universalist ethics
Sand denies the special right of secular non-Zionists to band together as Jews, as they do in dozens of organizations and forums, and sit in judgment of Israel. He goes further, accusing them of the same sin as Jewish nationalists; of trying to claim that there is something special or better about their Judaism. “But Zionism did pick up a lot of things from Judaism,” he argues. “And even if Zionism is not Judaism, it doesn’t mean that Judaism is an ethical religion – Judaism doesn’t allow marrying a non-Jew. Jewish ethics are not the ethics I dream of, it’s not universalist ethics.”
….There is nothing ethical about Judaism, says Sand, blasting away the much cherished liberal notion of tikkun olam – if it’s enlightened, then it’s universal, and therefore not Jewish. The long lists of brave Jewish revolutionaries and human rights advocates so beloved of progressive Jews mean nothing, he claims. If anything, they were denying their parochial Jewish roots and joining a bigger and better global brotherhood of man and woman.
Sand is the scourge of anti-Zionist secular Jews. Criticize Israel, by all means, he tells them; but if you identify yourselves as Jews when doing so, you’re phonies. You don’t get any special moral standing just by accident of birth. You are no better than the goyim. “