The Trope of Racial Purity in Anti-Zionism

Anti-Zionists claim that Ashkenazi Jews are racially pure “Whites” with no Middle Eastern origin. This is contrary to genetic science which has documented Ashkenazis to be descended from Middle Eastern men and Italian women. But facts are generally not of concern to Anti-Zionists who never hesitate to make contrafactual claims. 

It happens to be that there is a group of Jews who are genetic “Whites”. They are the Subbnotiks who are descended from Russian peasants who converted to Judaism in the 18th century. They only married among themselves and it was not until immigrating to Israel after the fall of the former Soviet Union that they started to marry other Jews. They have however been Jewish already for several hundreds years and their genetic origin does not make them any less Jewish than Jews of Levantine genetic origin. 

After all the Israelites were polytheist Canaanites who converted to Atenism. With the Anti-Zionist logic could it be argued that Jewish descendants of Canaanites are “fake Jews” due to being descended from converts. The Italian women who converted to Judaism and married Jewish men converted already in Roman times and this certainly did not make them any less Jewish. Genetic science shows that most rabbinically Jewish ethnic groups share a common Middle Eastern genetic origin patrilineally and where else in the Middle East would that origin be if not in Israel which is where the indigenous Jewish nation originated? 

It may seem peculiar that Anti-Zionists want to divide Jews into “racial Jews” and “racial gentiles”. It is however not peculiar at all since this is similar to Nazi practices of distinguishing between “racial Jews” and “racial Aryans”. The difference is that Ashkenazis are no longer racialized as “racial Jews” but as “racial Whites”. Both assertions are complete nonsense as the Ashkenazis are of mixed genetic origin but this shows the Anti-Jewish impulse of racializing Jews in both racializing Anti-Semitism and racializing Anti-Zionism. 

Anti-Zionists of course deny that Jews are the indigenous people of the land and try also to deny the entire Jewish history in the land of Israel and deliberately ignore vast amounts of Jewish archaeological finds in the land. So why do they bother to make this distinction since they do not recognize the connection to the land of Mizrahi Jewry? This whole attempt at Anti-Jewish historical denial is geared towards stigmatizing Ashkenazi Jews as ostensibly “gentile European colonialists”. This is an attempt at fabricating history and delegitimize not only the State of Israel but the Jewish people. After all, Anti-Zionists deny Jewish ethnicities and therefore also Jewish nationality.

The truth is that the Subbotniks are no less Jewish than fellow Jews, their “White” origin notwithstanding. Conversion to Judaism involves tribal initiation into an indigenous nation and converts are as Jewish and as indigenous as any other Jews. The Anti-Zionist theme of denying the mixed genetic origins of Ashkenazi Jewry is based on the idea of the existence of a single Jewish race as is the claim that Jews and Palestinians are different “racial groups” when in fact rabbinic Jews and most Palestinians are closely patrilineally related. 

The claim that Palestinians and Jews constitute “different racial groups” is a complete invention designed to prop up the Anti-Jewish Apartheid libel according to which Jews are a “racial group” which ostensibly “oppresses” the Palestinians who according to this narrative are a different “racial group”. The truth is that most Palestinians do not live under Israeli rule and Palestinian Israelis are the only Arabs in the Middle East who enjoy full democratic rights. The Jews are the ones who were historically oppressed by Palestinians and the false claim that Palestinians are an oppressed group is a deliberate Anti-Semitic inversion.

The claim that the Jewish people is a single racial group (a Nazi idea) of course completely contradicts the claim that Ashkenazi Jews are not “racially Jewish” and the related Anti-Zionist claim that the Jewish people generally is not descended from the land of Israel. Again, the purpose is to delegitimize the Jews by any and all means. This needs to be called out for what it is, namely Anti-Jewish bigotry.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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