Deborah Nussbaum Cohen reviews Sand’s book for the Jewish Daily Forward in an article entitled “The Ties That Bind: As Scientists Explore the Genetic Links Between Jewish Populations, Rabbis and Thinkers Wrestle With the Question of What This Means for Jewish Identity.”
Reporting on the two recent Jewish population genetics studies, New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade went so far as to argue that their findings “refute the suggestion made last year by the historian Shlomo Sand in his book ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ that Jews have no common origin but are a miscellany of people in Europe and Central Asia who converted to Judaism at various times.”
Sand, however, was dismissive of the significance of the new genetic research. “It is a pity and sad that a people have to prove that it is a people by genetics and not by a secular culture,” Sand wrote in an e-mail to the Forward. “The new ‘discoveries’ are not different from the old ones.”
While Sand, who is known for his far-left views, occupies the political margins, many more mainstream figures also believe that genetics should have no bearing on Jewish peoplehood. “It can point to some interesting data about Jewish marriage patterns and perhaps tell us something about historical patterns of Jewish settlement, but it doesn’t tell us anything about Jewish peoplehood,” said Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
The full article is available here