Jewish researcher attacks DNA evidence linking Jews to Israel

| May 13, 2013 |
Credit: Flickr/ Daniele Giovannoni Credit: Flickr/ Daniele Giovannoni

It’s one of the consequences of the ongoing conflict between Israel and its neighbors that the origins of the “Jewish people” periodically surfaces as an issue of great controversy. It’s particularly troublesome when a scientist—in this case, an Israeli molecular geneticist whose motivations appear more personal and ideological than scientific—stokes the contretemps.

The current brouhaha arises over a recent study by Eran Elhaik and is accompanied by his personal attacks on more mainstream scientists who have eviscerated his work. In the face of overwhelming evidence from dozens of studies over twenty years from geneticists and historians around the world, Elhaik is aggressively stumping on behalf of his belief that most Jews trace their seminal ancestry not to the Middle East but to the Caucuses and Eastern Europe.

Khazarian myth

Elhaik, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins, is recirculating the debunked “Khazarian hypothesis” promoted by journalist Arthur Koestler in his 1976 book, The Thirteenth Tribe, written before scientists had the tools to compare genomes and challenge his conclusion.

The Khazarian myth was more recently recycled (to great applause by anti-Israeli activists and some pro-Palestinian groups) in no less convincing form by Israeli French historian Shlomo Sand in The Invention of the Jewish People, published in 2008—a book panned by both historians and geneticists.

Elhaik reengaged the faux controversy late last year when the Oxford journal Genome Biology and Evolution published his study, “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses.” The young Jewish researcher challenged the so-called “Rhineland hypothesis”—the broadly accepted genetic and historic evidence that about 80 percent of Jewish Ashkenazi males trace their ancestry to a core population of approximately 20,000 Eastern European Jews who originated in the Middle East. Elhaik wrote that the Khazars converted to Judaism in the eighth century, although historians believe and genetic evidence confirms that only a fraction of the population converted, including almost certainly royalty and some members of the aristocracy.

A paper published in 2000 by geneticists Harry Ostrer, a professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer showed that most Ashkenazis, Italians, North Africans, Iraqi, Iranian, Kurdish and Yemenite Jews share common Y-DNA haplotypes that are also found among many Arabs from Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.  Only a small percentage of the Y-DNA of Jews originated outside of the Middle East—some in the Caucuses.

The competing Rhineland and Khazarian theories were most recently discussed by Ostrer in two studies published in 2012 and in his well received book, Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People. He found that geographically and culturally distant Jews still have more genes in common than they do with non-Jews around them, and that those genes can be traced back to the Levant, an area including modern-day Israel. “All European [Ashkenazi] Jews seem connected on the order of fourth or fifth cousins, Ostrer has said.

The concept of the “Jewish people” remains controversial. The Law of Return, the Israeli law that established the right of Jews around the world to settle in Israel and which remains in force today, was a central tenet of Zionism. The DNA that links Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi, three prominent culturally and geographically distinct Jewish groups, could conceivably be used to support Zionist territorial claims —except, as Ostrer has pointed out, some of the same markers can be found in Palestinians, distant genetic cousins of the Jews, as well. Palestinians, understandably, want their own ‘right of return’.

That disagreement over the interpretations of Middle Eastern DNA also pits Jewish traditionalists against a particular strain of secular Jewish ultra-liberals who have joined with anti-Israeli Arabs and many non-Jews to argue for an end to Israel as a Jewish nation. Their hero is the Austrian-born Shlomo Sand—and now Elhaik. His study gained buzz in neo-Nazi websites and radical anti-Israeli and more radical pro-Palestinian blogs. For example, the notorious former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke actually attacked Elhaik in his latest anti-Jewish rant—Duke’s anti-Semitic beliefs hang on the fact that Jews are genetically cohesive and conspiratorial. “The disruptive and conflict-ridden behavior which has marked out Jewish Supremacist activities through the millennia strongly suggests that Jews have remained more or less genetically uniform and have … developed a group evolutionary survival strategy based on a common biological unity — something which strongly militates against the Khazar theory,” Duke wrote in his blog in February.

While Elhaik’s work has provided ideological support for those seeking the destruction of Israel, it’s fallen flat among established scientists, who peer reviewed his work and found it sloppy at best and political at worst.

“He’s just wrong,” said Marcus Feldman of Stanford University, a leading researcher in Jewish genetics. “If you take all of the careful genetic population analysis that has been done over the last 15 years… there’s no doubt about the common Middle Eastern origin,” he said. He added that Elhaik’s paper “is sort of a one-off.”

“It’s an unrealistic premise,” said University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer, one of the world’s top Y-chromosomal researchers.

Discover’s Razib Khan did a textured critique in his Gene Expression blog, noting the study’s historical fuzziness and its selective use of data to come up with what seems like a pre-cooked conclusion. As Razib writes, it’s hardly surprising that we would find a small but sizable Khazarian contribution to the “Jewish gene pool”. In fact the male line of my own family traces to the Caucuses, suggesting I’m one of the 20 percent or so of Jews whose lineage traces to converted royal Khazarians. But that view is widely acknowledged by Ostrer, Hammer, Feldman, Michael Thomas and every major researcher in this area—as summarized in my book, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People.

The rebuke of Elhaik’s study apparently has irked the beleaguered and brash researcher. He’s launched a new offensive—the double entendre is intentional—as chronicled in the Jewish Forward. Elhaik is now calling the world’s top geneticists “liars” and “frauds.” When I weighed in on the magazine’s discussion board, Elhaik responded with academic restraint, claiming my reporting was no better than the geneticists he trashed, saying it shared “common ground with the Nazism (sic) ideology.”

Judaism’s tribal roots

Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism is not solely a faith-based religion. Its origins, as is the case with the other prominent surviving ancient religion, Zoroastrianism, are tribal. The blood connections mentioned endlessly in the Hebrew Bible are not just symbolic; the Jews of ancient Israel were a clan of connected tribes who coalesced over hundreds of years. While Jesus and later Mohammad transformed the notion of “blood” into “faith”—one could become a Christian or Muslim through faith alone—Judaism has always retained an ancestral component.

In the Torah, that blood link is patrilineal, passed on from father to son. That tradition is preserved today in the Jewish priesthood, known as the Aaronite line. According to the Bible (and we have no way to know if this is historical or apocryphal), Aaron was anointed as the first Jewish priest and his sons and their descendants became the seed population of the Jewish priesthood. Jewish Cohanim—the word means ‘priests’ in Hebrew—supervised the inner sanctum until the destruction of the Second Temple in the first century, after which the Aaronite line was preserved by tradition, with Cohanim having special privileges and responsibilities to this day.

Are present day Cohanim descended from Aaron? That question is unanswerable; we do not even know for certain that Aaron or Moses even existed. However, DNA studies of the Y chromosome have determined that a majority of self-proclaimed Cohanim (it’s an oral tradition) has a set of genetic markers that trace back approximately three thousand years to a single common ancestor. In other words, if there was no Aaron, there was certainly a High Priest early in the Jewish tradition whose ancestors have retained evidence of that tradition in their DNA.

As discussed in Abraham’s Children, Judaism has always retained its tribal roots even as faith-based religions flourished. In the centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple in the first century, Jewish lineage became defined through the mother rather than the father. Jewishness is now based on a triple helix: belief in God (although many Jews are agnostic or atheist); recognition of ancient Israel as a Biblical homeland; and literal blood connection with other Jews, passed on from generation to generation.

To many people—including and especially Jews sensitive to the Nazi branding of Jews as a race, which led to the near extinction of the religion—acknowledging the genetic cohesiveness of Judaism is uncomfortable. Anything that marks Jews as essentially different runs the risk of stirring either anti- or philo-Semitism. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the factual reality of what Ostrer calls the “biological basis of Jewishness” and “Jewish genetics.” Acknowledging the genetic distinctiveness of Jews is “fraught with peril,” but we must grapple with the hard evidence of “human differences” if we seek to understand their implications of the age of genetics.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.

  • Matjasz Bogatay

    Palestinians are not ‘distant cousins of Jews.’ Kohanim gene occurs almost as frequently among Palestinians as Jews, shown by Israeli researcher. Cavallo-Sforza et al,’s seminal work demonstrates on a range of markers predominant in the Eastern Mediterranean that Palestinians and Jews are equal on frequency, and more closely related to each other than any other group, incl. Lebanese, Jordanian and Saudi Arabs, Syrians, and others. Many Jews of Galilee turned out to be more Syrian than Judaean. This work has been confirmed by Israeli, British, and American genetic researchers as well. This article is very biassed as usual. If you can’t overcome your ethnocentrism and myths, as well as your hate, you will never obtain peace or longevity as a state.

    • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

      I don’t think you understand the relationship between a haplotype and closeness of relationship. Jews and Palestinians are indeed more closely related than many other groups, but their maternal and paternal lines and their overall gene makeup have diverged over the past two thousand years quite significantly, according to all the studies.

      Nebel et al, in Human Genetics in 2000 concluded: “The two modal haplotypes in the I&P Arabs were closely related to
      the most frequent haplotype of Jews (the Cohen modal haplotype). However, the I&P Arab clade that includes the two Arab modal haplotypes (and makes up 32% of Arab chromosomes) is found at only very low frequency among Jews, reflecting divergence and/or admixture from
      other populations.” Here’s the link to help you better understand the genetic data: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11153918. I have no idea about your reference to “myths” or my alleged “hate”. You certainly won’t find it in anything I’ve written. My book “Abraham’s Children” documents the shared ancestry of Jews and Muslims ….something I’m quite proud about as Arabs and Jews share noble Semitic origins. Frankly I’m not sure the point you are trying to make. It’s kind of cool that Palestinians and Jews are cousins; both are cultures well known for their commitment to literacy and family. This is really a science debate and personal attacks are just not warranted.

      • spiritwalker888

        Yes Jon you are right there has been a significant divergence over the many centuries since Abram who later became known as Abraham had a child with Hagar at the insistence of Sarah his wife and Ishmael was born as a result of that union and then when Sarah became pregnant with Isaac, she forced Hagar and Ishmael out of the encampment by basically complaining to Abraham about her. So the Egyptian people are the half brothers of the Israelis and I am sure that the Egyptian People over the course of thousands of years have bred outside of the Egyptian Population, so all of the people over there are half brothers and sisters or cousins to the Israeli People simply because of the intermingling of the people.

  • Jim Jordan

    Wouldn’t the politically relevant genetic data be the pre-Mosaic makeup of the “Canaanites” who were dispossessed of their land when the Chosen People moved for the first time into a land that had been promised to Abraham by Yahweh but which was, inconveniently, already occupied by other people?

    • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

      Jim: Alas, not relevant either politically or genetically. The biblical story is just that–a story or myth. The genetic and anthropological data suggests that the original Israelites were in fact “Canaanties”–a mixture of tribal people indigenous to that region along with a random mixture of “Sea People”(from Med cultures), Semites from elsewhere in the region, and even wanderers from Africa. That evolved into the core population that became the seminal people who made up the early Jewish religion, plus many non-Jewish Arabs. The founding of tribal Judaism led to intermarriage and a distinct population as far back as 2500 years ago. If this subject interests you, I discuss it at some length in my book, “Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chose People.”

      • Mike

        Dear John: My Jewish heritage was recently y-dna tested and my haplogroup is E3B/v22.The timing on this subclade among Ashkenazic Jews has me intrigued!(9th-11th cetury) It’s as if they appear out of nowhere!.They certainly shouldn’t be found there (Ukraine) EXCEPT THROUGH MIGRATION /TRADE.This subclade is certainly NOT native to the Caucuses!(Khazars) The connection between an ancient Jewish kingdom in “Kush” and the Samaritans has been pointed out by scholars.Remember Eldad Ha-Dani? He spoke of a Danite Jewish connection to this kingdom.EV22 has a sizeable representation in this very region(Nothern Sudan) AND it is the haplogroup of the current high priest of the Samaritans claiming Israelite ancestry.Why aren’t scholars pursuing this matter further??

        • Jonah Lissner

          During the Middle Ages, e.g. c. 1000 CE there was likely in-migration from Egypt to Constantinople and then the Black Sea region to add to the contemporary Jewish populations in the Black Sea and Ukraine, after the Islamic incursions from whence E3B and other Y-DNA lines in Ashkenazim genetics occur.

          Another in-migration source is from Romaniote or Italkim Jews, and a third source from Persian Jewish communities all moving North to new lands where the Khazar Kingdom had built to welcome Jewish migration.

          Also vide:

          http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/07/22/the-sudan-connection-are-ethiopian-jews-descendants-of-the-ancient-israelites

          Synopsis of Israeli Migrations from Mosaic, Assyrian and Babylonian Exiles in Northeast Africa

          Jonah Lissner

          Copyright 2014 by Jonah Lissner. All rights reserved by the Author.

          Drs. Parfitt, Omer, and others including my own research indicate the vibrant multicultural world of the Solomonic Kingdom and the centuries thereafter. It is the dynamic system of Afro-Asiatic socioculture that develops these communities of Israelites, e.g. from c. 1000 BCE to c.1000 CE from Mesopotamia to the Horn of Africa and the ancient to contemporary Nile River system cities and regions. Even 100 years ago, modern Eritrea, Djbouti and Yemen had Jewish communities, however the legacy from the Classical to Medieval Era is likely to include Ethiopia, Sudan and Somali based on the former extent and duration of the Israelite to Judaic migrations and proselytes or conversions to Israelite worship.

          There is much proof for a vibrant African and Asian Israelite community today, which includes the sociogenetic lines, sociocultural artefacts and historical data. As the tribes of Israel today regather the combination of complex system science, history, language, comparative studies and sociogenetics should build strong support for Israelites and Jews of all colors from the Exile, with the majority having the common Afroasiatic/Near Eastern genetic signatures, as Dr. Omer is demonstrating.

          In history and classical texts, popular medieval literature from Afro-Asiatic travelers like Eldad Ben Mahli Ha-Dani and Benjamin of Tudela and others lend more credence to the reality of thriving Jewish communities of the post-Solomonic era across Africa and Asia. If these criteria for Israelite presence are evaluated with folk traditions it is possible, like the Lemba of South Africa, and Chinese Jews of Kaifeng region, another of the Exiled tribes can be restored.

          Sources:

          http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/07/22/the-sudan-connection-are-ethiopian-jews-descendants-of-the-ancient-israelites

          http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11052-moses-children-of

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_Parfitt

          http://lissnerresearch.weebly.com/journal-of-hebrew-african-and-indological-studies-jhais.html

          http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5515-eldad-ben-mahli-ha-dani

          http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2988-benjamin-of-tudela

    • Zeev

      The so called Cannanites were basically Hamites who were given the African continent to settle, Shemites got the Levant and Japhetites the Northern lands. See Noah had to leave his sons something for an inheritance and since he was the only surviving father with sons around he divided up the continents.
      The Canaanites were living outside the boundaries of their inheritances after having murdered the descendants of Shem to the point they couldnt fend off the Canaanite incursions.
      So the so called occupying Cannanites were given the options, Leave, Make Peace, Prepare for War. Now you will change and say the bible isnt true anyways though many you will use it if it suits your malevolent agenda.

  • Bulan Sabriel

    Dr. Elhaik is a liar and dumb liar. In his abstract, he shows that he
    doesn’t know when Khazaria existed. And then it gets stupider.

    “Alternatively, the “Khazarian Hypothesis” suggests that Eastern
    EuropeanJew descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that
    settled the Caucasus in theearly centuries CE and converted to Judaism
    in the 8thcentury. Mesopotamian and Greco-RomanJews continuously
    reinforced the Judaized Empire until the 13th century”

    There simply was not Khazar polity after 1016 CE, when the Rus and
    Byzantines destroyed the reminents of Khazaria in the Crimea.
    Ironically, the leader of this polity, Georgiuz Tzul carried a CHRISTIAN
    name.

    I should not be able to find a glaring error in the abstract of piece.

    Dr. Elhaik continues his citation ignorance by holding that Khazars were

    ” a confederation of Slavic, Scythian,Hunnic-Bulgar, Iranian, Alans, and
    Turkish tribes who formed in the central-northern Caucasusone of most
    powerful empires during the late Iron Age and converted to Judaism in
    the 8th century CE”

    There Khazars were no such thing. The Khazars were Oghuric/Lir Turks
    (Hunninc-Bulgar) who had many subject peoples. But there is not a shred
    of historic evidence that subject peoples converted. All of the accounts
    of travellers and from the Khazars state and show otherwise.

    Dr. Elhaik then uses this bad history as a justification for picking horrible choices for genetic sampling.

    “Palestinians were considered proto-Judeans because they are assumed to
    share a similar linguistic, ethnic, and geographic background with the
    Judeans and were shown to share common ancestry with European
    Jews(Bonné-Tamir and Adam 1992; Nebel et al. 2000; Atzmon et al. 2010;
    Behar et al. 2010).Similarly, Caucasus Georgians and Armenians were
    considered proto-Khazars because they are believed to have emerged from
    the same genetic cohort as the Khazars”

    This makes no sense. Palestinians aren’t proto-Jews. Elhaik could
    have chosen Samaritanes (those Israelites still exist) and Sephardim.
    Instead he chooses a different admixture. Neither Georgia nor Armenia
    were part of Khazaria and they were absolutely not “proto-Khazars”.

    So why were they chosen? The old Hebrew name from Armenia, “Ashkenaz”
    should be a clue. He could have chosen Turks who claim Khazar ancestry,
    such as Karaylar and Krymchaks. He refused to do so, because he didn’t
    want to compromise his political study with FACTS.

    Dr. Elhaik may not have known history, but he knew how to fake a study.

    And you don’t have to believe me, you can believe Razib Khan.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2013/05/the-algorithms-dont-lie-but-people-may-err/#.UiQ45X8gb4g

  • Palichamp

    I, of Welsh heritage, born in the United States, can now collect military toys, and with thousands of people of Welsh heritage from around the world, invade Wales and throw people from their homes? After all at about the same time Jews rebelled against Roman rule in Palestine, Welsh rebels lost their battles on the other end of the Roman Empire.
    Hmmmm. Where does one buy a warplane?

  • Zeev

    Looks like another nobody needs his 15 minutes of fame.

  • http://PricesKarate.com/ DavePrice

    Palestinian DNA and real Hebrew DNA are a match because, keeping it simple, They lived in the same areas for a long time and to pretend they did not breed with their neighbors is just stupid.

  • Maccalusso

    I recall Mr. Entine in an interview stating that “…the Israelites were a conglomeration of people.” In other words, they were not solely Jews as many commonly believe. Many scholars and historians state that modern Jewry has no connection to biblical Israelites or Semites. As the old saying goes, “those who have the most to hide, hide the most.”

    Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edition): “Khazars, confederation of Turkic and Iranian tribes that established a major commercial empire in the second half of the 6th century, covering the southeastern section of modern European Russia…In the middle of the 8th century the ruling classes adopted Judaism as their religion.”

    Academic American Encyclopedia (1985): “Ashkenazim, the Ashkenazim are one of the two major divisions of the Jews, the other being the Shephardim.”

    Encyclopedia Americana (1985): “Ashkenazim, the Ashkenazim are the Jews whose ancestors lived in German lands…it was among Ashkenazi Jews that the idea of political Zionism emerged, leading ultimately to the establishment of the state of Israel…In the late 1960s, Ashkenazi Jews numbered some 11 million, about 84 percent of the world Jewish population.”

    The Jewish Encyclopedia: “Khazars, a non-Semitic, Asiatic, Mongolian tribal nation who emigrated into Eastern Europe about the first century, who were converted as an entire nation to Judaism in the seventh century by the expanding Russian nation which absorbed the entire Khazar population, and who account for the presence in Eastern Europe of the great numbers of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Galatia, Besserabia and Rumania.”

    The Encyclopedia Judaica (1972): “Khazars, a national group of general Turkic type, independent andsovereign in Eastern Europe between the seventh and tenth centuries C.E. During part of this time the leading Khazars professed Judaism…In spite of the negligible information of an archaeological nature, the presence of Jewish groups and the impact of Jewish ideas in Eastern Europe are considerable during the Middle Ages. Groups have been mentioned as migrating to Central Europe from the East often have been referred to as Khazars, thus making it impossible to overlook the possibility that they originated from within the former Khazar Empire.”

    The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: “The primary meaning of Ashkenaz and Ashkenazim in Hebrew is Germany and Germans. This may be due to the fact that the home of the ncient ancestors of the Germans is Media, which is the Biblical Ashkenaz…Krauss is of the opinion that in the early medieval ages the Khazars were sometimes referred to as Ashkenazim… About 92 percent of all Jews or approximately 14,500,000 are Ashkenazim.”

    The Bible relates that the Khazar (Ashkenaz) Jews were/are the sons of Japheth not Shem: “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth;…the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz…” Therefore, the Bible proves that the Ashkenaz Jews [Khazars] are not the descendants of Shem and cannot be Shemites, or what is known today as Semites.

    We can clearly see that the Jews fully understand their Khazarian heritage as the third edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia for 1925 records: “CHAZARS [Khazars]: A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Chazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians (855). Jews have lived on the shores of the Black and Caspian seas since the first centuries of the common era [after the death of Christ]. Historical evidence points to the region of the Ural as the home of the Chazars. Among the classical writers of the Middle Ages they were known as the ‘Chozars,’ ‘Khazirs,’ ‘Akatzirs,’ and ‘Akatirs,’ and in the Russian chronicles as ‘Khwalisses’ and ‘Ugry Byelyye.’…”

    The Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 10, (1971) relates the following about the Khazars (Chazars): “Khazars, a national group of general Turkic type, independent and sovereign in Eastern Europe between the seventh and tenth centuries A.D. During part of this time the leading Khazars professed Judaism.”

    The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: “Khazars, a medieval people, probably related to the Volga Bulgars, whose ruling class adopted Judaism during the 8th cent. The Khazars seem to have emerged during the 6th cent., from the vast nomadic Hun (Turki) empire which stretched from the steppes of Eastern Europe and the Volga basin to the Chinese frontier. Although it is often claimed that allusions to the Khazars are found as early as 200 C.E., actually they are not mentioned until 627…Most Jewish Historians date the conversion of the Khazar King to Judaism during the first half of this century {A.D.}…”

    The primary meaning of Ashkenaz and Ashkenazim in Hebrew is Germany and Germans. This may be due to the fact that the home of the ancient ancestors of the Germans is Media, which is the Biblical Ashkenaz…Krauss is of the opinion that in the early medieval ages the Khazars were sometimes referred to as Ashkenazim…About 92 percent of all Jews or approximately 14,500,000 are Ashkenazim.

    The American People’s Encyclopedia for 1954 at 15-292 records the following in reference to the Khazars: “In the year 740 A.D. the Khazars were officially converted to Judaism. A century later they were crushed by the incoming Slavic-speaking people and were scattered over central Europe where they were known as Jews. It is from this grouping that most German, Polish and Hungarian Jews are descended, and they likewise make up a considerable part of that population now found in America. The term Aschenazim is applied to this round-headed, dark-complexioned division.”

    Academic American Encyclopedia, Deluxe Library Edition, Volume 12, page 66 states: “The Khazars, a turkic people, created a commercial and political empire that dominated substantial parts of South Russia during much of the 7th through 10th centures. During the 8th century the Khazar aristocracy and the Kagan (King) were converted to Judaism.”

    The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 6, page 836 relates: “Khazar, member of a confederation of Turkic-speaking tribes that in the late 6th century A.D. established a major commerical empire covering the southeastern section of modern European Russia…But the most striking characteristic of the Khazars was the apparent adoption of Judaism by the Khagan and the greater part of the ruling class in about 740…The fact itself, however, is undisputed and unparalleled in the history of central Eurasia. A few scholars have asserted that the Judaized Khazars were the remote ancestors of many of the Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia.”

    Collier’s Encyclopedia, Volume 14, page 65 states: “Khazars [kaza'rz], a semi-nomadic tribe of Turkish or Tatar origin who first appeared north of the Caucasus in the early part of the third century…In the eighth century Khaghan Bulan decided in favor of the Jews and accepted Judaism for himself and for his people…”

    New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII, page 173 relates: “The Khazars were an ethnic group, belonging to the Turkish peoples, who, toward the end of the 2d century of the Christian Era, had settled in the region between the Caucasus and the lower Volga and Don Rivers…At the beginning of the 8th century, dynastic ties bound the Khazars more closely to Constantinople, which led to a limited spread of Christianity among them. They also became acquainted with Judaism from the numerous Jews who lived in the Crimea and along the Bosphorus. When the Byzantine Emperor, Leo the Isaurian, persecuted the Jews in A.D. 723, many Jews found refuge in the Khazar kingdom, and their influence was so great that, around the middle of the 8th century, the King of the Khazars and many of the Khazar nobility accepted the Jewish faith.

    The Cadillac Modern Encyclopedia, page 822, states: “Khazars (khah’-zahrz), a S Russian people of Turkic origin, who at the height of their power (during the 8th-10th cent., A.D.) controlled an empire which included Crimea, and extended along the lower Volga, as far E as the Caspian Sea. The Khazar royal family and aristocracy converted to Judaism during the reign of King Bulan (768-809 A.D.) And Judaism was thereafter regarded as the state religion…”

    Arthur Koestler relates the following concerning Jewish history: In his 1976 best seller The Thirteenth Tribe, the Author of Darkness at Noon, Promise and Fulfillment, and The Roots of Coincidence dropped another bombshell by proving that today’s Jews were, for the most part, descendants of Khazars, who converted to Judaism seven centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. “This, of course, is inspired by the story of the Covenant in Genesis; and it implies that the Khazars too claimed the status of a Chosen Race, who made their own Covenant with the Lord, even though they [Khazars] were not descended from Abraham’s seed…He cannot, and does not, claim for them [the Khazars] Semitic descent, he traces their [Khazars] ancestry not to Shem, but to Noah’s third son, Japheth, or more precisely to Japheth’s grandson, Togarma, the anceestor of all turkish tribes. ‘We have found in the family registers of our fathers,’ Joseph asserts boldly, ‘that Togarma had ten sons, and the names of their off-spring are as follows: Uigur, Dursu, Avars, Huns, Basilii, Tarniakh, Khazars, Zagora, Bulgars, Sabir. We [Khazars] are the sons of Khazar, the seventh…'”

    The Jewish author Alfred M. Lilienthal relates the following concerning Jewish history: “…’The existence of [The State of] Israel is not founded on logic. It has no ordinary legitimacy. There is neither in its establishment nor present scope any evident justice – though there may be an utter need and wondrous fulfillment.’…

    Arthur Koestler answers this question with an emphatic ‘NO!’ In his 1976 best seller The Thirteenth Tribe, the Author of Darkness at Noon, Promise and Fulfillment, and The Roots of Coincidence dropped another bombshell by proving that today’s Jews were, for the most part, descendants of Khazars, who converted to Judaism seven centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D…Therefore, the great majority of Eastern European Jews are not Semitic Jews at all, and as most Western European Jews came from East Europe, most of them also are not Semitic Jews.

    Thus, maintains Koestler, the veins of 45 percent of Israelis (save only the Arab and the Sephardic Jews), plus a big majority of Jews around the world, are utterly vacant of corpuscular links to the tribe of Moses and Solomon…The Koestler thesis, however startling, is in no wise a new one. The genetic Khazar derivation of most Jews, only the Sephardic may be accounted Hebrews by blood, has been long if not widely known…The home to which Weismann, Silver, Ben- Gurion and so many other Ashkenazim Zionists have long yearned to return has most likely never been theirs…[it is an] anthropological fact, many Christians may have much more Hebrew- Israelite blood in their veins than most of their Jewish neighbors!

    Ironically enough, too, Volume IV of the Jewish Encyclopedia (as of the time of research, 1952), because this publication spelled Khazars with a ‘C’ instead of a ‘K,’ is titled ‘Chazars to Dreyfus.’

    And it was the famed trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, as interpreted by Theodore Herzl, that made the modern Jewish Khazars of Russia…forget their descent from converts to Judaism…to establish the State of Israel…

    “Strictly speaking it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an Israelite or a Hebrew.” – (1980 Jewish Almanac, p. 3)