The claim that today’s Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars who converted in the Middle Ages is a myth, this according to a research by a Hebrew University historian.
The Khazar thesis gained global prominence when Prof. Shlomo Sand published “The Invention of the Jewish People” in 2008. In was in this book, a best seller and which was translated into several languages, that Prof. Shlomo Sand argued that the “Jewish people” is an invention, forged out of myths and fictitious “history” to justify Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel. Is a thesis we long have put forwards with the proven explanation as that it were the Hebrews, later called children of Israel, Israel being a person, not tribe but a tribe called of this person Israel a name given by the God of the Hebrews to Israel (the person not the State).
However, as every action will have a reaction, now, yet another Israeli historian has challenged one of the foundations of Sand’s argument: his claim that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the people of the Khazar kingdom, who in the eighth century converted en masse on the instruction of their king. In an article Prof. Shaul Stampfer concluded that there is no evidence to support this assertion. “Such a conversion, even though it’s a wonderful story, never happened,” Stampfer said. Stampfer, as an expert in Jewish history, analyzed material from various fields, but found no reliable source for the claim that the Khazars, a multiethnic kingdom that included Iranians, Turks, Slavs and Circassians, converted to Judaism. In short that conversion of the Khazars, never did happen and as such must be seen as a myth no factual basis.”
However, as 70% of the Hebrews stories now accepted as part of the Books of Moses can be seen as myth without a factual basis, he is stepping on thin ice. It is not possible to claim that a part is a myth because it cannot be proven while accepting another large part of myths as being the truth. As a historian he should have realised this and now saying that he is surprised to discover how hard it is “to prove that something didn’t happen, while promoting and accepting other complete myths as being possible and therefore although it cannot be proven in any concept of possibilities that it forms the base for the Jewish religion is an distorting of facts and suggestions to possibilities. The fact being that Jewish is a religion and the rest is suggestions and possibilities. Until now, he said; most of my research has been aimed at discovering or clarifying what did happen in the past. It’s a much more difficult challenge to prove that something didn’t happen than to prove it did.”
With this we do agree, I remember my two periods on Ararat to discover the possibilities of the ark of Noah with after a total of eight months to come away complete empty handed, and that makes it indeed a difficult challenge to prove that something they said did happen, didn’t happen and but failed to prove either way. I remember the 5 months we walked around and I mean walked, mount Sinai in the hope to find even the smallest of suggesting evidence that Moses indeed walked there with the rest of the Israeli’s, and all we found where evidence later then the third century of Christians and Muslims who were claiming that it did happen as in a myth but no proof was found.
That’s because the proof is based primarily on the absence of evidence rather than its presence, like the fact that an event as unprecedented as the Ark of Noah, the 40 years walk in the Sinai and an entire kingdom’s conversion to Judaism merited no mention in contemporaneous sources. “The silence of so many sources about the Khazars’ Judaism is very suspicious,” Stampfer said. “The Byzantines, the Jewish religious leaders of the sixth to eleventh centuries, the sages of Egypt – none of them have a word about the Jewish Khazars.” Just as the sages of Egypt does not have a word about the Israeli’s or the Ararat mountain failed to show proof.
It is here where Stampfer contradict the findings as he does not except that the Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars, as he cannot find the proof, but does accept the Ark of Noah and the 40 years walk of Moses, of which there is even less proof. He put it aside by saying; “It’s a really interesting historical question, but it has political implications, as a historian, I’m naturally worried by the misuse of history. I think history should be removed from political discussions, but anyone who nevertheless wants to use history must at least present the correct facts. In this case, the facts are that the Khazars didn’t convert; the Jews aren’t descendants of the Khazars.
In this respect, he made the wrong statement of conclusion, the Jews are indeed no descendants of the Khazars and neither is the Khazars dependence of the Israeli. The Khazars, all of some of them took the Jewish religion, it did not make them Israeli or Hebrews as some would say, it left them Khazars with the Jewish religion. The fact remains that the Hebrews did come into what later was called Israel long before the Khazars had heard of the Israeli. However they were not the first in that land, others were there first. The fact that Israel managed to conquer for a short period the whole of the lands does not alter that fact. As such the legitimacy of Israel is there not only claimant even if the Western state say they are.
Sand had tied the Khazar issue directly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; telling Haaretz in 2008 that many Jews fear that wide acceptance of his thesis would undermine their “historic right to the land. “Those who believed this story and they are many usually didn’t do so for malicious reasons,” he says. “I tell my students that the only thing I want them to remember from my classes is the need to investigate and ask to investigate whether the arguments they hear are credible, reasonable and well-founded.” However only to the points he said are a myth, the real myths on which Jewish is build are not included.
Overall, the findings of Ostrer and several other scientists have stood virtually unchallenged on the genetics of Jews and the story they tell of the common Middle East origins shared by many Jewish populations worldwide. Jews and Ashkenazim in particular are indeed one people, Ostrer’s research finds. And as such they right and wrong at the same time they are indeed one in the Jewish religion but not as in one people. It’s a theory that more or less affirms the understanding that many Jews themselves hold of who they are in the world: a people who, though scattered, share an ethnic-racial bond rooted in their common ancestral descent from the indigenous Jews of ancient Judea or Palestine, as the Romans called it after they conquered the Jewish homeland. However, they are not exclusive ethnic-racial connected, they are connected by religion just as the Christians and the Muslims, with the exclusion that Christians and Muslims have a more provable religion as where Jewish is a religion build on unverifiable myths.
But now, Elhaik, an Israeli molecular geneticist, has published research that he says debunks this claim. And that has set off a predictable clash. “He’s just wrong,” said Marcus Feldman of Stanford University, a leading researcher in Jewish genetics, referring to Elhaik. But the question of where did the Askenazi Jewish did come from is still not answered. The debate touches upon such sensitive issues as whether the Jewish people is a race or a religion, and whether Jews or Palestinians are descended from the original inhabitants of what is now the State of Israel. Of which the answer must be a religion and they are a mixture with the original inhabitants of what is now the State of Israel. There is however a other problem that is very actual although it is hidden behind the many other questions does Ostrer’s suggestion lend a hand of authority by science to the Zionist aggression displayed at the moment in the State of Israel, who see themselves as being possession as the descendants of the land’s original residents. By using sophisticated molecular tools, Feldman, Ostrer and most other scientists in the field have found that Jews are genetically homogeneous. No matter where they live, these scientists say, Jews are genetically more similar to each other than to their non-Jewish neighbours, and they have a shared Middle Eastern ancestry, the Rhineland Hypothesis as it is known. According to the hypothesis, Ashkenazi Jews descended from Jews who fled Palestine after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century and settled in Southern Europe. In the late Middle Ages they moved into Eastern Europe from Germany, or the Rhineland.
They are descendants, it can be argued, of the Khazars, a Turkic people who lived in one of the largest medieval states in Eurasia and then migrated to Eastern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ashkenazi genes, Elhaik added, are far more heterogeneous than Ostrer and other proponents of the Rhineland Hypothesis believe. Elhaik writes that the Khazars converted to Judaism in the eighth century, although many historians believe that only royalty and some members of the aristocracy converted. But widespread conversion by the Khazars is the only way to explain the ballooning of the European Jewish population to 8 million at the beginning of the 20th century from its tiny base in the Middle Ages.
Clearly, Jews are not a "race" in the sense that they don't have any homogeneous skin tone, hair type, eye colour, etc. But that is a different question than asking if Jews have a set of common ancestors that can be seen through genetic testing. There have always been converts and there always will be. So of course, there will be heterogeneity amongst Jews in our genetic heritage. But there may also be genetic "markers" if you look backward in time. I have heard of a few families who were practicing Christians who had a member of their family take genetic tests in the last ten years or so, and found Jewish markers. However it is here where it gets “misty”. Original, the Hebrew come from a what we now call “Arab” population as a family they settled after a long time in the south of what is now Israel, as a family they grew, and grew, and grew.
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