Tel Aviv University history professor Shlomo Sand, author of 'The Invention of the Jewish People' spoke to Andrew Marr on this morning's Radio 4 programme 'Start the Week'.
In his history of the Jewish people, an area supposedly out-of-bounds for an Israeli professor of 'general' history, he describes the birth of Israel as 'the result of a rape' but goes on to explain that he would not refuse to recognise the illegitimate son. Describing himself as neither a Zionist nor an anti-Zionist he argues that the story of the diaspora of the Jews from Palestine in the first century AD is a myth, that modern Palestinians are partly descended from jews, that European jews were converted and are not descendants of 'Palestinian' jews and that the idea of the Jewish people as a 'people-race' is a fiction. Thus, he argues, these myths have been created by Zionists and are necessary for "political and historical reasons" to justify the existence of the Israeli state.
Many of the myths that Sand discusses have already been exposed by the British writer John Rose in his book 'The Myths of Zionism' and Sand is not offering a solution to the situation in the Middle East but it is surely significant that an Israeli academic has written a book of this nature.