February 23, 2014
Professor Shlomo Sand’s book, The Invention of the Jewish People, was published in 2010. In that book he uses the Khazar theory to back up his central argument — as the Internet magazine Science puts it — that most
“modern Jews do not descend from the ancient Land of Israel but from groups that took on Jewish identities long afterward.”
However, even though the genetic and historical evidence both for and against the Khazar theory will be covered (to a small extent) later on, my main point will be that, in a strong sense, none of that scholarship really matters.
What I mean by that is that National Socialists (Nazis) hate Jews simply because they are Jews; not because of theory X or theory Y. In other words, theory X or theory Y doesn’t cause them to become Jew-haters. What usually happens is that the Nazi adopts theory X or theory Y because he’s already a Jew-hater.
Similarly with International Socialists (Leftists) like Shlomo Sand (a self-described “communist”). They say what they say because they are already against capitalist democracy and the very idea of a “state for the Jews” (which, of course, both come together in the state of Israel). To Shlomo Sand himself, the Israelis — as well as many Jews worldwide — use their “ethnos” (as he puts it) to justify their “territorial ambitions”. In other words, Sand is using classical Marxist theories about capitalism and the Jews and applying them to today’s Israelis and Jews. (Marx, Stalin and other well-known Leftist Jew-haters, or “anti-Zionists”, had already done pretty much the same thing long before Shlomo Sand.)
To put this another way: Shlomo Sand’s all-encompassing Leftist ideology — as well as his zealous hopes for a fully socialist Israel (which would amount to Israel’s annihilation) — permeates just about every single word he utters. If his readers don’t understand that, then they will have no idea about where this man is coming and what he is trying to achieve through his books and articles.
Biographically, Shlomo Sand’s parents — as was the case with the parents/families of Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein — passed on their Marxist ideology (or religion) to their son. And as you’d expect to follow from that, Sand has been active in Leftist politics/activism ever since. (For example, Sand, in the 1970s, was a member of the fanatical Maoist group Matzpen; a group which, rather fantastically, wanted to turn the entire Middle East into a socialist federation.)
The History of the Khazar Theory
It’s ironic that the man who popularised the Khazar theory, Arthur Koestler (in his 1976 book The History of the Jewish Khazars AKA The Thirteenth Tribe), did so in order to dissipate European Jew-hatred. The idea was to show his fellow Europeans that the Jews were just as European as anyone else (i.e., they were not really Semites). He thus attempted to show people that Jews could trace their heritage back to the Khazars in the 8th century. In fact, Koestler himself once told French biologist Pierre Debray-Ritzen that he
“was convinced that if he could prove that the bulk of Eastern European Jews (the ancestors of today’s Ashkenazim) were descended from the Khazars, the racial basis for anti-Semitism would be removed and anti-Semitism itself could disappear.”
However, as the Swedish archaeologist Bozena Werbart, put it:
“In the Khazar kingdom, Koestler wanted to see the origin of the eastern European Jewry. Nevertheless, all the historical and linguistic facts contradicted his theories.”
Nowadays Jew-haters are using Koestler’s theory of a European Jewish heritage against — rather in favor of — Jews. In addition, the theory is also used to support the cause of brown-skinned Palestinians; a group you wouldn’t ordinarily think would stir the deep sympathetic emotions of the Nazis/racists who tend to dislike people who don’t have a white skin.
In any case, Koestler was right about the European heritage of the Jews; though he was largely wrong when it came to his theories about Jews in Europe being the descendents of only Khazars. That is, Jews had indeed lived in Europe for centuries. Nonetheless, they had done so for roughly a thousand years before the Khazar kingdom came into being.
Although it was Arthur Koestler who made the Khazar theory popular (at least largely amongst Jew-haters), the theory did of course exist before that time. For example, Albert Yakovlevich Harkavy raised the possibility (in 1869) that there may be a link between the Khazars and European Jews. And it was Harkavy’s theory which inspired Koestler’s work on the very same subject.
This raises another point. Because some Jews have endorsed the Khazar theory (incidentally, almost all of the contemporary believers are either Leftists, Nazis, or Islamists), you often get the following ‘argument’:
If even Jews think this theory is true, then it must be true.
This is, of course, exactly the same argument used about the Jewish critics of Israel such as Chomsky and Finkelstein.
Of course it’s hardly a logical position. (In fact it is hardly anything at all.) You may as well say that because one black person once said that all black people are the sons and daughters of Satan, then that must indeed be true. In any case, for Harkavy the Khazar theory was really just a suggestion. In addition, it wasn’t even a suggestion that all European Jews were descendents of the Khazars.
I mentioned Professor Shlomo Sand earlier. He argues that Jews and Israelis reject Koestler’s theory simply because
“[n]o one wants to go looking under stones when venomous scorpions might be lurking beneath them, waiting to attack the self-image of the existing ethnos and its territorial ambitions.”
National Socialists too have praise for Koestler’s book. For example, the neo-Nazi magazine The Thunderbolt said it was “the political bombshell of the century“.
Of course, this new brand of Jew-hatred is primarily used as a gimmick — by both National Socialists and the International Socialists — to claim that Jews have no right to live in Israel and thus no right to “displace the indigenous Palestinians.”
Leftists propagate the Khazar theory for exactly the same reasons why they propagate the theory, or myth, of “Israeli apartheid” — to destroy Israel. (Both Nazis and Leftists want to destroy Israel because it is a capitalist and democratic state for Jews; which is a three-level heresy for any respectable Leftist or Nazi.)
All this clearly shows us how deeply both International Socialists and National Socialists fuse on the Jews and on so much more. (Here’s a video in which Leftists, Nazis, and Islamists quite literally joined together on the streets of Paris — in January, 2013 — to call for the Jews to be “kicked out” of France.)
History & Genetics
It’s is a simple fact that most scholars — such a historians and geneticists — reject the Khazar theory. Still, all of these scholars could of course be cynical “Zionists” (or Jews). Alternatively, they could — each and every one of them — simply be the victims of a false consciousness created by a platonic Media and an academia which are both “run and controlled by Zionists” (or Jews).
The history in favor of the Khazar theory is very weak. In addition, the evidence from studies in genetics is strongly against the theory. So much so that the general consensus is that the Khazar “blood” in the Ashkenazi gene pool is insignificant. For example, there is no genetic evidence at all that shows that (all) Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Turkic tribes (as the Khazars were). In fact the genetics show that European Jews are closer to Levantine and Syrian Arabs than to central Asians like the Khazars.
Some people have of course argued to the contrary. Nevertheless, in science, as everywhere else, someone will always argue to the contrary. For example, Eran Elhaik argued, in 2012, that there was a significant Khazar component amongst Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis; though not, it must be added, amongst French, German and other central Europeans. Despite that, one year later, in 2013, another study found that there is a large amount of evidence to show a prehistoric — i.e., pre-Khazar — European ancestry for Ashkenazi Jews.
All this shows that you should never rely on a single scientist, or historian, to give you the complete picture of anything. Nonetheless, if you are a hater of Jews, and therefore on a constant lookout for scientists or historians to back up what you already believe, then my bet is that you’ll find such a person; even if that person is going against the scientific consensus.
Still, if your hatred of the Jews is based on “thinking with the blood”, then genetics, or science as a whole, will have little impact on such “thinking”.
In terms of history, it’s quite incredible that it’s generally recognized that the Khazars themselves left no documentary evidence. In fact most of the evidence comes from a later Arab historian by the name of Ahmad ibn Fadlan (whose work was also used by Jewish scholars). The thing is, he wrote about the Khazars some two hundred years after the Khazar conversation to Judaism.
Of course none of this will help dissipate Jew-hatred. A confirmed and professional hater of the Jews will simply find another reason to hate them. And that reason will no doubt also be racial in nature. For example, instead of the argument that all European Jews are Khazars, a Jew-hater may well slip effortlessly into stressing, yes, the Levantine (or Semitic) nature of the Jews (as the Nazis did). As I said, it doesn’t matter what the theory or reason is (let alone if it is true or based on facts), as long as it backs up an already-existing hatred of Jews.