Current events dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have created a significant increase in ATS threads discussing various aspects of the
long-running issue. Due to this, possibly a dozen times in the last two days alone I've noticed accusations that today's Jews (American, European,
and Israeli) are not 'real Jews' but are instead descendants of Khazarian Jewish converts. This claim is typically offered as a reason why Jews
currently inhabiting the state of Israel have no legitimate ancestral claim to the land. My intent with this thread is to debunk such an
A Very Brief History
After suffering persecution in Persia, Byzantium, and various Islamic nations, many Jews fled to Khazaria
) for safety. The Khazars and Jews enjoyed
a diplomatic relationship and eventually Khazarian nobility converted to Judaism around the 8th-9th century A.D. Some historians believe their
subjects later converted to Judaism as well, although the extent of conversion is debated and evidence exists to verify a range of figures. Kharzars
held a diverse range of religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and various pagan beliefs. Although evidence certainly
points to some Khazars holding Jewish beliefs, they were not all converts to Judaism.
The Conspiracy Begins
Fast forward to the 19th century. French Philosopher Ernest Renan
appears to be responsible for
starting the conspiracy theory in his book Judaism as a Race and as Religion
. He puts forth the claim
are descended from Khazarian converts and the line of
and not 'pure blood' Semitic Jews descended from
and Abraham. Slowly but surely the theory began to spread in popularity and was ultimately
popularized in the 20th century by the well known racial theorist Lothrop Stoddard
more authors picked up and propagated the myth throughout the 20th century to the point the accusation became wide spread and well known. The theory
is now very popular with various anti-semitic and anti-Zionist organizations and is mostly used to negate Israel's purpose of existence.
Debunking the Accusation Using DNA Evidence
The evidence is by far on the side of those seeking to refute the allegation that Ashkenazic are not 'real' Jews. Science and DNA evidence confirms
common, semitic ancestry:
Haplotypes constructed from Y-chromosome markers were used to trace the paternal origins of the Jewish Diaspora. A set of 18 biallelic
polymorphisms was genotyped in 1,371 males from 29 populations, including 7 Jewish (Ashkenazi, Roman, North African, Kurdish, Near Eastern, Yemenite,
and Ethiopian) and 16 non-Jewish groups from similar geographic locations. The Jewish populations were characterized by a diverse set of 13 haplotypes
that were also present in non-Jewish populations from Africa, Asia, and Europe. A series of analyses was performed to address whether modern Jewish
Y-chromosome diversity derives mainly from a common Middle Eastern source population or from admixture with neighboring non-Jewish populations during
and after the Diaspora. Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not
significantly different from one another at the genetic level. Admixture estimates suggested low levels of European Y-chromosome gene flow into
Ashkenazi and Roman Jewish communities. A multidimensional scaling plot placed six of the seven Jewish populations in a relatively tight cluster that
was interspersed with Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations, including Palestinians and Syrians. Pairwise differentiation tests further indicated that
these Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations were not statistically different. The results support the hypothesis that the
paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population,
and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the
Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic
With a new technique based on the male or Y chromosome, biologists have traced the diaspora of Jewish populations from the dispersals that began
in 586 B.C. to the modern communities of Europe and the Middle East.
The analysis provides genetic witness that these communities have, to a remarkable extent, retained their biological identity separate from
their host populations, evidence of relatively little intermarriage or conversion into Judaism over the centuries.
Another finding, paradoxical but unsurprising, is that by the yardstick of the Y chromosome, the world's Jewish communities closely resemble not only
each other but also Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, suggesting that all are descended from a common ancestral population that inhabited the Middle
East some four thousand years ago.
Despite the Ashkenazi Jews' long residence in Europe, their Y signature has remained distinct from that of non-Jewish
Y Chromosome Bears Witness to Story of
the Jewish Diaspora
Those who continue to push forth the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are not 'real Jews' also display a gross ignorance of the Jewish religion concerning
the treatment and acceptance of converts. This is either ignored or unknown by those who make the accusation. Although we can see above DNA evidence
vindicates modern Jews, even if by some chance they were not ancestrally related, the fact remains in Judaism a convert is treated with the utmost
respect and, according to Jewish Law, no differentiation is made between a 'biological,' if you will, Jew and a Jewish convert.
Even some famous Biblical characters, one example being Ruth, an ancestor of King David, were converts to the faith and not born into it as a
descendant of Abraham. A Jew is a Jew either through heritage or conversion so this accusation is negated.
As I mention above, the statistics regarding the Khazarian conversion is a hotly debated topic. For the sake of intellectual honesty, I will say that
in some cases there is historical support to confirm a a large amount of converts. However, this still poses no problem to Israel's right to exist or
its current citizens of being 'Real Jews.' There were conversions as well as a mixing of the cultures but the scientific evidence above proves the
bloodline retained its integrity. History, biology, and archeology also prove not all Khazarians became Ashkenazi Jews and not all Ashkenazi Jews were
Khazarian. Although many did convert to Judaism, many Kharzarians still held a diverse range of religious beliefs.
In light of all evidence, most scholars and historians have rejected or abandoned the conspiracy theory altogether. The remaining proponents of the
theory generally consist of various groups and organizations seeking to undermine Israel's sovereignty, its citizens right to the land, and to
propagate anti-semitic information.
You'll often find this information still being presented without any actual facts to back it up on anti-semitic websites like Stormfront, Jew Watch,
The fact remains, this claim simply is not factual and all evidence points to this conspiracy theory being false.