Shlomo Sand’s forthcoming How I Stopped Being A Jew is a sharp slap to the brain. He challenges many of today’s tropes of Jewishness – the notion that there is a “Jewish culture,” the exclusive attention to Jewish suffering at the hands of Nazis, the contempt of Yiddish language and culture, the antiquity of Zionist ideology.
Most centrally, he challenges the notion of “secular Jewishness,” arguing that it is a recent construct that shares an uncomfortable affinities with the racist theories with which it claims to be at war. Sand didn’t really stop being Jewish. As an atheist and secularist, he has concluded that he was never been Jewish in the traditional religious sense of the term.
In place of the virulent hatred of the past, “Today, on the part of the ‘post-Shoah goyim’, we face a symbiosis of fears, guilty consciences and ignorance, while among the ‘new Jews’ we often find victimization, narcissism, pretentiousness, and likewise a crass ignorance.”