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Israeli historian Shlomo Sand receives death threats

February 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

A report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz claims that the prominent historian Professor Shlomo Sand of Tel Aviv University has received a number of death threats through the post. Prof. Sand, who is well known for his anti-Zionist stance and the author of “The Invention of the Jewish People”, has been sent threatening letters and a bag containing a chemical substance. The letters have warned him that his days are numbered because he is “an anti-Semite” and “an enemy of Israel”.

Prof. Sand told Haaretz that the letters also claimed that he was a Nazi. He said he took the threats seriously and is extremely fearful for his life. The threats come against the background of the release of his latest book: “The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland”.

In his writings, Sand has sought to popularise the concept of a state for all of its citizens, not just a chosen few based on ethnicity. While he acknowledges that there is a Jewish religion, he rejects the notion of a Jewish people. He says that every state has certain taboos, which are untouchable. In the case of Israel, he lists the three most notable as: Palestine is the land of the Jews; the historic continuity of the state of Israel; and the Holocaust.

Although claiming to be “the only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel has an official and unofficial track record of killing opponents of its discriminatory laws and policies. So-called “targeted assassination” has been used frequently against Palestinians, while ex-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is perhaps the most notable victim of Israeli right-wing extremism unable to cope with criticism.