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Ashkenazi Jews

Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

Ashkenazi Jews : name withheld : email withheld : 2012-06-28

Hi, I’m writing this in response to your piece on Israel. I apologize in advance if this is rather long-winded, but there is a correction that I feel needs to be made. You wrote that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from East Europeans who converted to Judaism (your words) and that Sephardic Jews are the original Jews who were native to Palestine. This is only half true, as both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi got their start in Palestine before they began settling throughout the rest of the Mediterranean basin and attracting converts. After this, the Ashkenazi settled along the Rhine and Sephardi in the Iberian Peninsula. Genetic studies on Jews have found substantial genetic overlap between Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities. There are many studies that have pointed to similar findings, but this one is the most recent to my knowledge. source.

In addition, there are many Ashkenazi Jews with clearly Semitic traits. Here are some examples, taken in Europe prior to WWII (World War II). source source source source source source source source.

Some celebrities/famous figures: source source source source.

Let me know if the links don’t work and I’ll try and correct that. But before you write me off as some kind of religious whack job trying to justify the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, I am not. I have no love for the current Israeli government and I want to see a bi-national solution to the conflict implemented as soon as possible. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a long history in that region and thus have a right to live there in peace. I have been reading your site for at least a few months now and I generally agree with the things you write. However, I felt like I needed to get this out there.

One last request: please leave my name out if you choose to respond to this e-mail.

Thank you for your time.

I applaud you for going to such work to objectively present your case in such a measured way. Most people would just tell me I was wrong and say I was an asshole for believing as I do without presenting any evidence to think otherwise. This is not an issue I have a strong opinion on. I was just repeating what I heard. Now that we have DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), it should be possible to definitively settle this interesting question. Perhaps you have the patience to see if anyone has done the necessary research yet. To my untrained eye some of the photos could show a Romany or Indian influence. They certainly did not look that much the people living today in the lands surrounding Israel. Whenever I meet foreigners, I always ask what their first language was and where they came from. Even after a lifetime of doing this I am still often surprised. I do not feel qualified to argue one way or the other from those photos. I presume you are aware of some academic debate on the matter. What are the arguments?

Even if the Ashkenazi Jews had ancestors who once lived is Palestine long ago, over twenty groups have lived there since then and it has been Muslim/Arab territory for hundreds of years far longer than the USA has been in existence. The Ashkenazis would have no special claim. It would like claiming someone’s farm because 2000 years ago some of your ancestors might have lived there. The claim is totally in Zionist heads based on their religion and desire for a homeland. Their religious land claim is not recognised by non-believers. I consider the claim completely bogus. However, I am sympathetic with their desire for a homeland. After what happened in WWII how could they possibly feel safe where they were not the majority, even if I do disapprove of theocracies or discrimination based on religion.

Other religious groups have faced a similar problem. The Mormons solved it by converging on Utah where they became the majority and were able to have things pretty much the way they wanted. The Raj Neesh people converged on rural Oregon. The Maharishi people converged on Iowa. Because of a romantic historical/religious notion, the Jews decided to converge on a territory that was already fully populated, which has created no end of trouble. The entire Jewish population of Israel is small, only 4.4 million. Perhaps it is not too late for them to move to a place they are welcome where there is abundant water and the other necessities to create a land of milk and honey. There are so many Jews now living in New York City. Perhaps that general area could become a homeland where they could feel safe and welcome.

Ashkenazi Jews II : name withheld : email withheld : 2012-06-30

Thank you. I also recommend taking a look at this study provided by Dienekes which should hopefully explain things more extensively. You can find some more on the Wikipedia page for Ashkenazi Jews as well and the articles linked there arrive at the same conclusions, for the most part. As far as similarities with the Roma goes? Anything is possible, although it is doubtful as there is a noticeable lack of South Asian genes in Ashkenazi Jews.

Another commonly held misconception is that all indigenous (non-Jewish, that is) Levantine groups are necessarily brown skinned like, say…Osama bin Laden. It is true that the surrounding Muslim populations have substantial ancestry from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but there are also people like Tony Shalhoub (who is non-Jewish and of full Lebanese ancestry) who is frequently mistaken for Jewish. And if you take a look at Iraqi Jewish communities, you’ll notice that they look almost exactly the same as modern Ashkenazi Jews and they were supposedly even more isolated than we were over the years.

The Dienekes DNA evidence you quote says that between 35 and 55% of the modern Ashkenazi genome comes from European descent, which seems to counter your original assertion. It further said that the Ashkenazi are more closely related to some host Europeans than to the ancestral Levant. Maybe all you meant to say what that there was some Levant connection. I did not see any figures to shed light on ancient migrations from Palestine.

I can see your point about Zionists not having a right to just take Israel for themselves, but I don’t think it would be fair to just kick them back out either. I feel that Jews are just as indigenous to Palestine as the Palestinian Arabs are and it is a core element of Jewish culture so I think they should at least be allowed to continue to live there in a secular, bi-national state where no one has privilege over another group, with just reparations made to the Arabs of course.

Had Hitler been successful in his invasion of Britain, even further back in time than the Jewish invasion, I doubt you would claim Germans and Anglos had equal right to the British Isles. We might be debating equal treatment of all national groups in Britain, but I doubt those that fought against Germany would ever concede the Germans had equal rights to British territory and had the right to expel Anglos and prevent their return, as the Jews have done. We would likely both concede it was too late to kick the Germans out, even though it were morally justified. Does it depend on who is doing it, Nazi or Jew whether invading unprovoked is a crime?

What if modern day Swedes claimed real estate in London and took it by force on the grounds some Viking once occupied it? Imagine Italians claiming all the real estate in Europe because Rome once occupied it. It is a silly argument.

All the time, I hear people telling me that my people should just go back to Europe and the utter insensitivity of that comment never fails to make my blood boil. They could conceivably move to places like NYC (New York City) but as you said, Israel was founded at least in part out of an American and British desire to rid themselves of us completely. I doubt either country would be particularly thrilled if there was a suddenly an influx of refugees into their country.

I think NYC would be much more welcoming today that it would have been in 1935. The Jewish influence in Hollywood has made the Jewish stereotype funny and endearing, not sinister. Also I think the Jewish deli has been a most excellent ambassador. Slowly absorbing 4 million people into a world of 7000 million should not be that intractable a problem. It could be gradual and informal, just people moving back to be with relatives all over the world, sick of the turmoil. I suspect many racists would prefer them to the alternatives.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
~ Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-02-21 1973-09-29 age:66) September 1, 1939

The Israelis have committed a monstrous crime. Aiding and abetting an aggressive (first strike) war is a capital (hanging) crime that was made explicitly illegal in 1946. Technically every Israeli who was not born in Israel could swing for aiding and abetting the occupation. Jews justify this crime on the basis that a monstrous crime was done to them. The world does not owe them a totally pain free way out of the mess they have created for themselves by illegally invading. The exodus could be gradual, and not necessarily just to one place. Immigration panics when it is too rapid.

If I were an Israeli, I would be deeply ashamed of the genesis of my county. I would believe it had no moral right to exist, even if I might want it to for practical reasons. The Israelis have nukes, they refuse inspection and are threatening to use them first strike. That alone is sufficient justification for the U.N. to disband the country ASAP (As Soon As Possible). In my view, taking actual nukes away from Israel should have higher priority that taking potential nukes from Iran. They are the country most likely to spark a global thermonuclear war. The national sense of entitlement, created by their belief in being the God’s Yahweh’s chosen people, is just as odious as Hitler and his Master Race theory. It excuses them from realising that when they commit crimes, they are still crimes. They imagine that others are so inferior to Jews that Jews have to right to do whatever they want to them and expect no retaliation. They imagine themselves persecuted saints. They refuse to admit they ever did anything that would make others furious with them. They have a national blindness. Gathered together in this paranoia with their fingers on a nuclear button is a recipe for global disaster. They need to let the air in. They have been talking only to themselves too long.

After 69 years of occupation, the Jews are the majority. Most of the invaders are dead. It is similar situation to the European occupation of Canada even further back in time. Canada at least is now admitting its past sins and is partially compensating the First Nations people for what we did to them. Jews are still in the stage where Americans were in 1800 thinking of the indigenous people as savages that needed to be exterminated. Now that the Jews are in the majority and that many Jews were born in Israel, I don’t think the Arab solution of driving them into the sea is still reasonable. The Jews must stop mistreating the Palestinians, regardless of the legality of the occupation. The apartheid in Israel should not be tolerated by the international community. any more than it was tolerated in South Africa or the USA. We should stop excusing bad behaviour from Israelis because of what Hitler did to their grandparents. To the shame of the USA, they fund apartheid because of the power of the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobby.

I see how Canada and its indigenous peoples are making amends. We have had far longer to resolve our differences and for ancient wounds to heal than the Israelis and Palestinians have. I would say the average Canadian today is seriously concerned for fellow First Nations citizens and wants to do the right thing by them. Demanding the government improve living conditions and live up to agreements is a very common topic for radio phone in shows. I just wish Israel would get to this stage faster. The Israelis are so damn self-righteous, just like North American invaders in the 1800s. They refuse to admit how badly they are behaving, just as North Americans did. That is the essential core of the problem. As soon as Israelis let themselves see how badly they been behaving, their attitude suddenly shifts and thereafter they work tirelessly for a win-win situation. I saw this amazing shift in a friend of mine, an Israeli dentist.

Ashkenazi Jews III : name withheld : email withheld : 2012-07-01

I did not mean to claim that Ashkenazi Jews were of pure Levantine descent, just that it was clearly there and comprised a significant portion of our heritage and overall ancestry. Your article put forward the claim that Ashkenazi were not native at all to Palestine (I assume you derived this idea from the Khazar theory), which is what I was refuting. Proselytism was common in the early days of the Roman Empire, to the point where Jews had accounted for at least 10 percent of the population there. This had all but stopped by the time the Jewish-Roman wars began.

Most of what you’ve said is true, although I’m reticent to consider the two scenarios (that is, the attempted Nazi invasion of Britain and what occurred in Palestine) as 100 percent analogous, as European colonizers like Rome and Germany had set out to establish Empires, plunder resources, etc. The same cannot be said for the Jews in my opinion, who really just wanted to live in their old homeland again, a sense of sovereignty and a means to liberate themselves from the virulent antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere. And yet, many Palestinian Arabs also descend from the ancient inhabitants of Israel. This is why I currently favor a secular, bi-national (Jewish and Arab) state in Palestine, with safeguards put in place so that no one is subjected to persecution, discrimination, or attempted ethnic cleansing.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that it will always be safe for us to live here. The indigenous Europeans always seemed to oscillate between periods of relative tolerance and periods where they wanted to roast us like turkeys and impale us Vlad Tepes style. Security concerns like this are something that every minority constantly worries about. I will readily admit that the existence of Israel does somewhat provide me with a sense of security, as I know that they will never shut their doors in my face if and when things get hairy again. However, I also admit that Israeli mistreatment of Arabs is not doing us any favors on that front. The settlements have to go. The apartheid policies, the wars, the evictions, all of this has to stop immediately. There can never be peace unless there is meaningful co-operation on both sides.

I don’t know if you have read other parts of my site, but one goals in life is to eliminate religion from the planet, which would also include Judaism. I would want to retain the customs, the cooking, the accents, the celebration of history, the music, the singing, the language… just get rid of the erroneous beliefs in the supernatural that back it all, mainly the insane notion that Jews are god’s chosen people. Jews forming their own country and metaphorically drinking their own bathwater is just going to drive them deeper into delusion, paranoia and danger to others. During WWII there was no doubt, the Jews desperately needed protection from persecution. However, the tables have turned completely. Jews not hold not only the Palestinians hostage, but the whole world with their ability to trigger a global nuclear war. Thorough AIPAC, they have also cleverly managed to corrupt the US political process to their advantage. At this point Israel needs to be suppressed for the safety of the entire planet, at least take away their nukes and pressure them to treat all their citizens equally.

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