21 May 2013

The Gospel according to Sand

The long, slightly critical, but chiefly admiring article about the new book by the learned professor of French cinema Shlomo Sand, is behind the Haaretz $ wall. Still, I have read it, and couldn't fail to detect how self-conscious and defensive is this odious character - from the first paragraph:

Professor Shlomo Sand opens his new book, "How and When I Stopped Being Jewish," with a warning. “Many readers will see the main point presented in this book as illegitimate and even infuriating. Many of the secular people among them who insist on defining themselves as Jews will reject it out of hand. Others will see me as a vile, self-hating traitor.”
From one book to another Mr Sand is trying to do his best to be as infuriating as humanly possible, for reasons only too obvious to any publisher worth his salt.

Short-lived sensations, quickly and easily debunked as his previous two books were, they have reached the marketing goals, especially in Europe, one has to admit. Will the audience pine for that new one? I don't know. As this obvious PR shot shows, professor Sand is ready to go to any lengths to make this book a success:

I will never tire to point out that when people delve into domains not theirs, some very strange and laughable results are practically expected. Even this, mostly fawning article about the Tel Aviv University's celeb, couldn't fail to produce a pearl that displays Sand's ignorance. In a passage dealing with what seems to him "inherent contradictions" in definition of a Jew, Sand says:
You don’t have to cover your head — most of Israel’s leaders and army generals don’t cover theirs.
I am a secular Jew (like Sand?), but the fairly basic fact about kippah (yarmulke) not being a mandatory head cover, hasn't escaped my attention. You may call it nitpicking, but this is "professor" Shlomo Sand in a nutshell - a past master of PR, noisy headlines and scant knowledge.

So, back to the quote from the article that this post has started with. Do I consider Mr Sand's books illegitimate or infuriating? Nope, just short-lived scoops by an ignoramus that will be forgotten eventually.

Do I see Mr Sand as a vile, self-hating traitor? Nope, just as a mildly pathetic publicity-hungry clown.

Too bad... but mainly for Tel Aviv university. It could do much, much better.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Slightly off-topic, but another distinguished academic (Professor and Columbia, no less) has just had his article pulled off Al Jazeera (!!!) for antisemitism. Has to be the world's first.

SnoopyTheGoon said...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yup, I know about the case. While I would have missed it, not being a daily reader of All that Jazeera, some people watch it...