Racializing the Jews

There is a certain logocentrism at work in how pre-Israel European Anti-Semitism and post-Holocaust Anti-Zionism racialize and stigmatize Jews with particularly intense interest in specifically Ashkenazi Jews. Pre-Israel European Anti-Semitism claimed that Ashkenazi Jews were racial “Orientals” who were “genetically alien” to Europe. Post-Holocaust Anti-Zionists in contrast claim that Ashkenazi Jews are racial “Europeans” who are “genetically alien” to the Middle East. The truth as laid bare by genetic science is that Ashkenazi Jews are Israelite-European genetic hybrids with in particular significant Italian ancestry although the majority of the Ashkenazi genetic ancestry is associated with the Middle East.  

Contemporary Anti-Zionists collectively accuse Israeli Ashkenazi Jews of being ostensible “White supremacists” which is interesting since no one until after the Holocaust considered Ashkenazi Jews to be “Whites”; Ashkenazi Jews were in fact universally considered to be people of color. Rather than racializing and stigmatizing Ashkenazi Jews as people of color as did pre-Israel European Anti-Semitism are Ashkenazi Jews instead racialized and stigmatized by post-Holocaust Anti-Zionists as ostensibly “racial Europeans” and purported “racial Whites”.

While pre-Israel European Anti-Semitism racialized and stigmatized Ashkenazi Jews as ostensibly racially impure “Orientals” does post-Holocaust Anti-Zionism racialize and stigmatize Ashkenazi Jews as ostensibly racially pure “Europeans” as if there were such thing! What is clear is that Anti-Jewish bigots have an abiding interest in pseudo-scientifically racializing Ashkenazi Jews and stigmatizing them as ostensibly intrinsically racially/genetically “foreign”. 

All distinctions between different Jewish ancestral groups are however abandoned by Anti-Zionists when in comes to the Anti-Jewish Apartheid libel. The international legal definition of the crime of Apartheid is that of “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them” (The International Convention of Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid) and inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime” (The Rome Statute). Contemporary Anti-Zionists have adopted the Neo-Nazi rhetoric of alleged so called “Jewish supremacism”, a term which was popularized by the infamous American Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Nevertheless, the accusation of ostensible “Jewish supremacism” lies at the heart of the anti-Jewish Apartheid libel. The core underlying problem for the Anti-Zionists is that the extremely racially diverse, multiethnic and multicultural Jewish people in Israel are specifically not a racial group, meaning not a singular racial group and are thus intrinsically incapable of committing the crime of Apartheid as internationally codified. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unrelated to race and this is especially true considering that 90% of Palestinians belong to historically endogamous communities (Arabic: hamula) who are descended from Rabbinic Jews and Samaritan Jews respectively who were historically coercively converted to Christianity and Islam and often by both at different points in history.

While most Jewish ethnic groups have in part shared Israelite genetic origins – the Bene Israel from India, the Beta Israel from Ethiopia, the Bnei Menashe from India and the Subbotnikim from Russia do not have Israelite ancestry – the Jewish people in Israel is extremely racially diverse and there is no other country where miscegenation is more common and widespread than in Israel. 25% of Israeli Jewish children are of mixed Ashkenazi and Mizrahi/Sephardi origin. It should be further noted that Sephardi (i.e. Iberian) Jews and Mizrahi (i.e. Oriental) Jews are genetically (but not religiously) distinct from each other and they marry each other all the time in contemporary Israel. Russian-speaking Jews and partial Jews in Israel are typically of recent mixed Ashkenazi and Slavic origin and they freely marry other Israeli Jews of all Jewish ethnic/genetic groups. All this in what Anti-Zionists describe as the ostensibly “racist” Jewish state.

Why then do Mizrahi, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews look different from each other despite having in part shared Israelite genetic origins as documented by genetic science? The answer is that Judaism (unlike pre-Israel European Anti-Semites and post-Holocaust Anti-Zionists) do not believe in racial purety and have always welcomed converts of all genetic origins to the Jewish people. The Diaspora period involving many generations thus in total involved significant miscegenation and now in Israel everyone is marrying each other resulting in a tremendous frequency of miscegenation as unprecedented in Jewish history.

The Anti-Jewish Apartheid libel is completely false in all other respects but at its core lies a great lie to use Goebbels’ famous term. That great lie is the Nazi notion that the multiethnic, multicultural and multiracial Jewish people ostensibly constitute a singular racial group.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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