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Israel's founding is a myth - the diaspora didn't happen - Palestinians are the descendants of Judah
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From The Consortium:

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Israeli Scholar Disputes Founding Myth

January 3, 2015

From the Archive: Twin myths undergird the claim by Israeli hardliners that they own the land of Palestine: the Biblical stories about the Exodus and the ancient kings of Israel and the claim that the Romans forced the Diaspora of Jews to Europe, a fiction that a brave Israeli scholar exploded, as Morgan Strong reported in 2009.
By Morgan Strong (Originally published April 12, 2009)
The founding narrative of the modern State of Israel was born from the words of Moses in the Old Testament, that God ordered the Jewish people to conquer the land of Israel and that it was to be theirs for all time (a promise supposedly given originally to Abraham).
Then, there was the story of the Diaspora that after Jewish uprisings against the Romans in the First and Second centuries A.D., the Jews were exiled from the land of Israel and dispersed throughout the Western world. They often were isolated from European populations, suffered persecution, and ultimately were marked for extermination in the Nazi Holocaust.
[Image: 477px-Shlomo_Sand-238x300.jpg]Israeli historian and author Shlomo Sand. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Finally after centuries of praying for a return to Israel, the Jews achieved this goal by defeating the Arab armies in Palestine and establishing Israel in 1948. This narrative spanning more than three millennia is the singular, elemental and sustaining claim of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation.
But a 2008 book by Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand challenges this narrative, claiming that beyond the religious question of whether God really spoke to Abraham and Moses the Roman-era Diaspora did not happen at all or at least not as commonly understood.
In When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, Dr. Sand, an expert on European history at the University of Tel Aviv, says the Diaspora was largely a myth that the Jews were never exiled en masse from the Holy Land and that many European Jewish populations converted to the faith centuries later. (Sand's book was published in English as The Invention of the Jewish People.)
Thus, Sand argues, many of today's Israelis who emigrated from Europe after World War II have little or no genealogical connection to the land. According to Sand's historical analysis, they are descendents of European converts, principally from the Kingdom of the Khazars in eastern Russia, who embraced Judaism in the Eighth Century, A.D.
The descendants of the Khazars then were driven from their native lands by invasion and conquest and through this migration created the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe, Sands writes. Similarly, he argues that the Jews of Spain came from the conversion of Berber tribes from northern Africa that later migrated into Europe.
The Zionist Narrative
Sand, himself a European Jew born in 1946 to Holocaust survivors in Austria, argues that until little more than a century ago, Jews thought of themselves as Jews because they shared a common religion, not because they possessed a direct lineage to the ancient tribes of Israel.
However, at the turn of the 20th Century, Sand asserts, Zionist Jews began assembling a national history to justify creation of a Jewish state by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion and that they had primogeniture over the territory that had become known as Palestine.
The Zionists also invented the idea that Jews living in exile were obligated to return to the Promised Land, a concept that had been foreign to Judaism, Sand states.
Like almost everything in the Middle East, this scholarship is fraught with powerful religious, historical and political implications. If Sand's thesis is correct, it would suggest that many of the Palestinian Arabs have a far more substantial claim to the lands of Israel than do many European Jews who arrived there asserting a God-given claim.
Indeed, Sand theorizes that many Jews, who remained in Judea after Roman legions crushed the last uprising in 136 A.D., eventually converted to Christianity or Islam, meaning that the Palestinians who have been crowded into Gaza or concentrated in the West Bank might be direct descendants of Jews from the Roman era.
Despite the political implications of Sand's book, it has not faced what might be expected: a withering assault from right-wing Israelis. The criticism has focused mostly on Sand's credentials as an expert on European history, not ancient Middle Eastern history, a point that Sand readily acknowledges.
One critic, Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University, attacked Sand's credentials and called Sand's thesis "baseless," but disagreed mostly over Sand's assertion that the Diaspora story was created as an intentional myth by Zionists seeking to fabricate a direct genealogical connection between many of the world's Jews and Israel.
"Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions," Bartal wrote in the newspaper Haaretz. "Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely. …
"The kind of political intervention Sand is talking about, namely, a deliberate program designed to make Israelis forget the true biological origins of the Jews of Poland and Russia or a directive for the promotion of the story of the Jews' exile from their homeland is pure fantasy."
In other words, Bartal, like some other critics, is not so much disputing Sand's historical claims about the Diaspora or the origins of Eastern European Jews, as he is contesting Sand's notion that Zionists concocted a false history for a cynical political purpose.
But there can be no doubt that the story of the Diaspora has played a key role in the founding of Israel and that the appeal of this powerful narrative has helped the Jewish state generate sympathy around the world, especially in the United States.
"After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom," reads the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
Reality from Mythology
In January 2009, as the Israeli army bombarded Palestinians in Gaza in retaliation for rockets fired into southern Israel, the world got an ugly glimpse of what can result when historical myths are allowed to drive wedges between people who otherwise might have a great deal in common.
After the conflict ended with some 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many children and other non-combatants the Israeli government investigated alleged war crimes by its army and heard testimony from Israeli troops that extremist Rabbis had proclaimed the invasion a holy war.
The troops said the Rabbis brought them booklets and articles declaring: "We are the Jewish people. We came to this land by a miracle. God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land."
In his book and in an interview with Haaretz about his book Sand challenged this core myth. In the interview, he said:
"I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country.
"The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th Century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."
The True Descendants Asked if he was saying that the true descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians, Sand responded:
"No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents.
"The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-1939], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled.
"Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"
Sand argues further that the Jewish people never existed as a "nation race" but were rather an ethnic mix of disparate peoples who adopted the Jewish religion over a great period of time. Sand dismisses the Zionist argument that the Jews were an isolated and seminal ethnic group that was targeted for dispersal by the Romans.
Although ruthless in putting down challenges to their rule, the Romans allowed subjects in their occupied territories a great many freedoms, including freedom to practice religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.
Thousands of Jews served in the Roman legions, and there was a sizable Jewish community in Rome itself. Three Jewish descendants of Herod the Great, the Jewish Emperor of Jerusalem, served in the Roman Senate.
Jewish dietary laws were respected under Roman law, as well as the right not to work on the Sabbath. Jewish slaves 1,000 carried to Italy by Emperor Titus after crushing the first Jewish rebellion in 70 A.D. were bought and set free by Jewish families already long settled into Roman society.
After the final Jewish rebellion, the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136 A.D., historians say the Romans placed restrictions on Jews entering Jerusalem, which caused other areas, such as Galilee in northern Palestine, to become centers of Jewish learning. But there is little or no evidence of a mass forced relocation.
Sand says the Diaspora was originally a Christian myth that depicted the event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.
Genetic Evidence
There has been no serious rebuttal to Sand's book, which has been a bestseller in Israel and Europe. But there were earlier genetic studies attempting to demonstrate an unbroken line of descent among Ashkenazi Jews in Europe from the Hebrew tribes of Israel.
In a genetic study published by the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi, Roman, North African, Kurdish, Near Eastern, Yemenite, and Ethiopian Jews were compared with 16 non-Jewish groups from similar geographic locations. It found that despite long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level.
Although the study also demonstrated that 20 percent of the Ashkenazim carry Eastern European gene markers consistent with the Khazars, the results seemed to show that the Ashkenazim were descended from a common Mid-Eastern population and suggested that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.
However, a monumental genetic study entitled, "The Journey of Man," undertaken in 2002 by Dr. Spencer Wells, a geneticist from Stanford University, demonstrated that virtually all Europeans males carry the same genetic markers found within the male population of the Middle East on the Y chromosomes.
That is simply because the migration of human beings began in Africa and coursed its way through the Middle East and onward, stretching over many thousands of years. In short, we are all pretty much the same.
Obsessive Delusion
Despite the lack of conclusive scientific or historical evidence, the Diaspora narrative proved to be a compelling story, much like the Biblical rendition of the Exodus from Egypt, which historians and archeologists also have questioned in recent years.
It is certainly true that all nations use myths and legend for sustenance; some tales are based on fact, others are convenient self-serving contrivances. However, when myth and legend argue for excess, when they demand a racial, ethnic or religious purity to the exclusion of others so that some prophecy can be fulfilled or some national goal achieved reason and justice can give way to extremism and cruelty.
The motive for creating the state of Israel was to provide respite for the Jews of Europe after World War II, but that worthy cause has now been contorted into an obsessive delusion about an Israeli right to mistreat and persecute Palestinians.
When right-wing Israeli Rabbis speak of driving non-Jews out of the land that God supposedly gave to the Israelites and their descendants, these Rabbis may be speaking with full faith, but faith is by definition an unshakable belief in something that taken by itself cannot be proven.
This faith or delusion also is drawing in the rest of the world. The bloody war in Iraq was an appendage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as is the dangerous rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the region.
There is also now the irony that modern Israel was established by Jews of European origin, many of whom may be ethnically unconnected to Palestine. Another cruel aspect of this irony is that the descendants of the ancient Israelites may include many Palestinians, who are genetically indistinct from the Sephardic Jews who were, like the Palestinians, original and indigenous inhabitants of this ancient land.

Yasir Arafat told me quite often that the Israelis are really cousins of the Palestinians. He may have been wrong; they are more likely brothers and sisters.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#2
Also from The Consortium:

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Israeli Founder Contests Founding Myths

January 3, 2015

The Torah (or Old Testament) is a master work of literature and faith, but it tells many mythological tales that have little or no basis in real history, as Uri Avnery, one of Israel's founders, has had the courage to declare, with an introduction from retired U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.
William R. Polk: The speech below is from the great Israeli commentator Uri Avnery, a former Irgun terrorist who fought for the creation of Israel; he also was a member of the Israeli parliament. What he has to say is not exactly new. Much of it has been pointed out by many of us historians for a long time and by other Israeli scholars.
The political effects of the myth on the creation of Israel are laid out by Shlomo Sand in his The Invention of the Jewish People and On the Nation and the Jewish People. But since neither the reality nor the critique of the myth is known to many, even practicing Jews, and what we know to be factual is firmly disbelieved by many, even practicing Christians, and because, like many religious myths, it can be lethal, the story deserves attention.
[Image: UriAvnery-198x300.jpg]Israeli Uri Avnery
We are having enough trouble trying to make peace without being blindsided by myths. So I welcome having the myths treated as they should be treated, as myths, openly by a hero of the Israeli nation. Only if much of the imagination about the past and much of the basis of current ideology can be cleared away do we have a chance.
Uri Avnery's keynote speech at Israel's Kinneret College conference on "the Rock of our Existence the connection between Archeology and Ideology":
First of all, let me thank you for inviting me to address this important conference. I am neither a professor nor a doctor. Indeed, the highest academic title I ever achieved was SEC (Seventh Elementary Class). But like many members of my generation, from early youth I took a profound interest in archeology. I shall try to explain why.
When asking themselves about my connection with archeology, some of you will think about Moshe Dayan. After the June 1967 war, Dayan was a national even international idol. He was also known for his obsession with archeology.
My magazine, "Haolam Hazeh," investigated his activities and found that they were highly destructive. He started digging alone and collecting artifacts all over the country. Since the primary aim of archeology is not simply to discover artifacts but also to date them, and thus to put together a picture of the consecutive history of the site, Dayan's uncontrolled digging created havoc. The fact that he used army resources only worsened matters.
Then we discovered that not only did Dayan expropriate the artifacts which he found (which by law belonged to the state) and stock them at his home, but he had also become an international dealer, getting rich by selling articles "from the personal collection of Moshe Dayan."
Publishing these facts and speaking about them in the Knesset bestowed on me a singular distinction. At the time, a public opinion institute identified every year the "most hated person" in Israel. That year, I attained that honor.
However, the important question does not concern Dayan's morals but a much more profound matter: Why were Dayan and so many of us at the time concerned with archeology, a science considered by many people as a rather dreary business? It held for us a profound fascination.
That Zionist generation was the first one born in the country (though I myself was born in Germany). For their parents, Palestine was an abstract homeland, a land they had dreamed about in the synagogues of Poland and Ukraine. For their native-born sons and daughters it was a natural homeland. They were yearning for roots. They trekked to every corner, spent nights around a campfire, came to know every hill and valley.
For them, the Talmud and all the religious texts were a bore. The Talmud and other scriptures had sustained the Jews in the Diaspora for centuries, but evoked no interest here. The new generation embraced the Hebrew Bible with unbounded enthusiasm, not as a religious book (almost all of us were atheists) but as an unequalled masterpiece of Hebrew literature.
Since they were also the first generation for whom the rejuvenated Hebrew was their mother tongue, they fell in love with the lively, concrete Biblical Hebrew language. The much more sophisticated, abstract language of the Talmud and other later books repelled them.
The Biblical events had taken place in the country they knew. The Biblical battles had been fought in the valleys they knew, the kings had been crowned and buried in the localities they knew intimately.
They had looked at night at the stars of Megiddo, where the Egyptians had fought the first recorded battle in history (and where, according to the Christian New Testament, the last battle the battle of Armageddon will take place). They stood on Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elias had slaughtered the priests of Baal. They had visited Hebron, where Abraham had been buried by his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, fathers of the Arabs and the Jews.
This passionate attachment to the country was by no means preordained. Indeed, Palestine played no role in the birth of modern political Zionism. As I have mentioned before, the founding father, Theodor Herzl, did not think about Palestine when he invented what became known as Zionism. He hated Palestine and its climate. Especially he hated Jerusalem, which to him was a foul and dirty town.
In the first draft of his idea, which was addressed to the Rothschild family, the land of his dream was Patagonia, in Argentina. There, in recent times, a genocide had taken place, and the land was almost empty. It was only the sentiments of the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe that compelled Herzl to redirect his efforts towards Palestine. In his founding book, Der Judenstaat ("the Jewish State"), the relevant chapter is less than a page long and entitled "Palestine or Argentina." The Arab population is not mentioned at all.
Once the Zionist movement directed its thoughts towards Palestine, the ancient history of this country became a hot issue. The Zionist claim to Palestine was solely based on the Biblical history of the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon and the events of those times. Since almost all the founding fathers were avowed atheists, they could hardly base themselves on the "fact" the God had personally promised the land to the seed of Abraham.
So, with the coming of the Zionists to Palestine, a frantic archeological search started. The country was combed for real, scientific proof that the Biblical story was not just a bunch of myths, but real honest-to-God history. (Pun intended.) Christian Zionists came even earlier.
There started a veritable attack on archeological sites. The upper layers of Ottoman and Mamelukes, Arabs and Crusaders, Byzantines and Romans and Greeks and Persians were uncovered and removed in order to lay bare the ancient layer of the Children of Israel and to prove the Bible right.
Huge efforts were made. David Ben-Gurion, a self-appointed Biblical scholar, led the effort. The Chief of Staff of the army, Yigael Yadin, the son of an archeologist, and himself a professional archeologist, searched ancient sites to prove that the Conquest of Canaan really happened. Alas, no proof.
When remnants of the bones of Bar Kochba's fighters were discovered in Judean desert caves, they were buried on Ben-Gurion's orders in a big military ceremony. The uncontested fact that Bar Kochba had caused perhaps the greatest catastrophe in Jewish history was glossed over.
And the result? Incredible as it sounds, four generations of devoted archeologists, with a burning conviction and huge resources, did produce exactly: Nothing.
From the beginning of the effort to this very day, not a single piece of evidence of the ancient history was found. Not a single indication that the exodus from Egypt, the basis of Jewish history, ever happened. Nor of the 40 years of wandering in the desert. No evidence of the conquest of Canaan, as described at length in the Book of Joshua. The mighty King David, whose kingdom extended according to the Bible from the Sinai peninsula to the north of Syria, did not leave a trace. (Lately an inscription with the name David was discovered, but with no indication that this David was a king.)
Israel appears for the first time in sound archeological findings in Assyrian inscriptions, which describe a coalition of local kingdoms which tried to stop the Assyrian advance into Syria. Among others, King Ahab of Israel is mentioned as the chief of a considerable military contingent. Ahab, who ruled today's Samaria (in the north of the occupied West Bank) from 871 BC until 852 BC was not beloved by God, though the Bible describes him as a war hero. He marks the beginning of the entry of Israel into proven history.
All these are negative pieces of evidence suggesting that the early Biblical story is invented. Since practically no trace whatsoever of the early Biblical story has been found, does this prove that it is all fiction? Perhaps not. But real proof does exist.
Egyptology is a scientific discipline that is separate from Palestinian archeology. But Egyptology proves conclusively that the Biblical history until King Ahab is indeed fiction.
Up to now, many tens of thousands of Egyptian documents have been deciphered, and the work is still going on. After the Hyksos from Asia invaded Egypt in 1730 BC, the Pharaohs of Egypt took very great pains to watch the happenings in Palestine and Syria. Year after year, Egyptian spies, traders and soldiers reported in great detail on events in every town of Canaan. Not a single item has been found, telling of anything remotely resembling Biblical events. (A single mention of "Israel" on an Egyptian stele is believed to refer to a small territory in the south of Palestine.)
Even if one would like to believe that the Bible only exaggerates real events, the fact is that not even a tiny mention of the exodus, the conquest of Canaan or King David has been found. They just did not happen.
Is this important? Yes and no. The Bible is not real history. It is a monumental religious and literary document, that has inspired untold millions throughout the centuries. It has formed the minds of many generations of Jews, Christians and Muslims.
But history is something else. History tells us what really happened. Archeology is a tool of history, an invaluable tool for the understanding of what took place. These are two different disciplines, and never the twain shall meet.
For the religious, the Bible is a matter of belief. For non-believers, the Hebrew Bible is a great work of art, perhaps the greatest of all. Archeology is something entirely different: a matter of sober, proven facts.
Israeli schools teach the Bible as real history. This means that Israeli children learn only its chapters, true or fictitious. When I once complained about this in a Knesset speech, demanding that the full history of the country throughout the ages be taught, including the chapters of the Crusades and the Mamelukes, the then minister of education started to call me "the Mameluke."
I still believe that every child in this country, Israeli and Palestinian, should learn its full history, from the earliest days to this day, with all its layers. It is the basis of peace, the real Rock Of Our Existence.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#3
Isn't this along the same lines of what Arthur Kosteler was arguing 30-40 years ago?
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
― Leo Tolstoy,
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#4
Below, a long and somewhat complex scientific look at DNA evidence in one Jewish group. It seems to me from looking at a number of such scientific studies, that it is likely that Judaism began in 'Palestine', then spread elsewhere by both genetics and voluntary conversions and/or conversions by marriage. I'm Jewish, but find the claim of some Jews to the right of return to Palestine about as convincing as that for any human to the inherent right of return to Africa, from where we all come from. Linguistic evidence, as well as genetic show that the Muslims of Palestine and the Jews must have shared a common heritage. Hebrew and Arabic are very very closely related languages and the two peoples share genetic markers. Below is but one study of one subgroup of Jews [the West and East European Jews]. I don't believe the Old Testament can be used as a history book, except very VERY loosely. Events and dates are misinterpreted or understood in the light of how things could be understood thousands of years ago [i.e. a local flood could be interpreted as a global flood, a local plague of locusts as something that encompassed the Planet, etc.]. It is a book of stories - likely ones that were told and retold for centuries if not millenia before committed to paper. Not all Jews can trace their genetic roots to Palestine - but some can - or can in part; but so what of it? However, none of them can claim IMHO any inherent right to the land there, when they were living for centuries in other places - the majority in the Russian Pale - and others were living continually in Palestine. Yes, the Jews were persecuted - but in that they were not alone. And in that they more than others should have learned the lesson of the pain of persecution and not to persecute others. I have no problem with those Jews who wish to return to Palestine, but they should never have taken land and lives of those who were and are living there. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not all Jews [in fact, I'd argue a majority worldwide] believe in Zionism, which as pointed out above couldn't decide if it should be in Argentina or Palestine - Patagonia would have disrupted far fewer people. People often construct historical narratives to explain or excuse inconvenient truths or actions post facto or about to be committed. Few peoples, except indigenous tribes, can claim to have long lived in one location - but even they all came from somewhere else at some earlier point. We are all brothers and sisters and came from one location in East Africa. Once we were all dark skinned. Organized religion and quasi-religious beliefs have caused more strife and war than anything else in modern time. Shalom/Salam (Peace)

A MOSAIC OF PEOPLE: THE JEWISH STORY AND A REASSESSMENT OF THE DNA EVIDENCE


Ellen Levy-Coffman


The Jewish community has been the focus of extensive genetic study over the past decade in an attempt to better understand the origins of this group. In particular, those descended from Northwestern and Eastern European Jewish groups, known as "Ashkenazim," have been the subject of numerous DNA studies examining both the Y chromosome and mitochondrial genetic evidence.

The focus of the present study is to analyze and reassess Ashkenazi results obtained by DNA researchers and synthesize them into a coherent picture of Jewish genetics, interweaving historical evidence in order to obtain a more accurate depiction of the complex genetic history of this group. Many of the DNA studies on Ashkenazim fail to adequately address the complexity of the genetic evidence, in particular, the significant genetic contribution of European and Central Asian peoples in the makeup of the contemporary Ashkenazi population. One important contribution to Ashkenazi DNA appears to have originated with the Khazars, an ancient people of probable Central Asian stock that lived in southern Russia during the 8[SUP]th[/SUP]-12[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries CE. Significant inflow of genes from European host populations over the centuries is also supported by the DNA evidence. The present study analyzes not only the Middle Eastern component of Ashkenazi ancestry, but also the genetic contribution from European and Central Asian sources that appear to have had an important impact on Ashkenazi ancestry.




Introduction

The word "Jew" has a mosaic of meanings: it defines a follower of the Jewish faith, a person who has at least one Jewish parent, or a member of a particular ethnic group ("Jewish"). There are many Jews who do not practice Judaism as a religion but define themselves as "Jewish" by virtue of their family's heritage and identification with the culture and history of the Jewish people.

Thus, Judaism is a mosaic of culture, religion, ethnicity, and for some, a way of life. It is an identity that is not quite a nationality, but neither is it a simple ethnic or cultural phenomenon either. This unusual combination of characteristics, coupled with Jewish resistance over the centuries to assimilation and strong adherence to their religious faith, has contributed to the intense feelings of curiosity, hatred, admiration, attraction and hostility by the rest of the world.





Received: February 15, 2005

Address for correspondence: Ellen Coffman, Ellenlevy66@yahoo.com

Early on, the unique history of the Jews attracted DNA researchers who sought to solve the mystery of the origins of the Jewish people. Researchers had previously relied on linguistic, anthropological and archaeological evidence to try to address this question; genetic genealogical research has opened up a new area for researchers to explore.

One question the DNA studies sought to answer was whether the genetic ancestry of contemporary Jewish populations demonstrated, to any degree, their supposed descent from the ancient Israelites of the Middle East of three thousand years ago. Or rather, did the DNA evidence indicate that Jews were simply a people who came into being in Europe during the Diaspora years, being mainly comprised of those descended from European ancestors? Or, as some historical researchers suggested, did the DNA of Jews mainly reflect ancestry from the Khazars, an ancient tribal people with roots in both Central Asia and Russia who converted to Judaism in the 8[SUP]th[/SUP] century?

This paper represents a new examination and reassessment of the Jewish DNA studies to date, presenting possible alternative explanations for the origins and distribution of certain genetic markers among Jewish populations, and in particular, among the group of Jews known as "Ashkenazim."
Recent genetic research has greatly expanded our understanding of the probable origins and distinct geographic patterns of certain groups of people, including Jews. This recent research has superceded some of the earlier studies on Jewish DNA, allowing a reassessment of the theories of Jewish origins in light of this new research.

The new analysis shows that Jewish ancestry reflects a mosaic of genetic sources. While earlier studies focused on the Middle Eastern component of Jewish DNA, new research has revealed that both Europeans and Central Asians also made significant genetic contributions to Jewish ancestry. Moreover, while the DNA studies have confirmed the close genetic interrelatedness of many Jewish communities, they have also confirmed what many suspected all along: Jews do not constitute a single group distinct from all others. Rather, modern Jews exhibit a diversity of genetic profiles, some reflective of their Semitic/Mediterranean ancestry, but others suggesting an origin in European and Central Asian groups. The blending of European, Semitic, Central Asian and Mediterranean heritage over the centuries has led to today's Jewish populations.

In examining Y chromosomal diversity in this review, two types of data are considered: Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), and Short Tandem Repeat Loci (STRs). STR markers are characterized by mutation rates much higher than those seen with SNPs. SNPs, on the other hand, are derived from rare nucleotide changes along the Y chromosome, so-called unique event polymorphisms (UEP). These UEPs represent a single historical mutational event, occurring only once in the course of human evolution. UEPs have been given a unified nomenclature system by the Y Chromosome Consortium (2002), resulting in the identification of each UEP with a particular haplogroup.

While I examine both types of Y chromosome data, I rely primarily on SNP data due to its increasing use by researchers as a tool in reconstructing the peopling of the world. Research on the diversity and geographic patterns of haplogroups have provided researchers with a greatly expanded understanding of prehistoric movements of people and a means of better understanding the present-day genetic variation among populations. Research with STR "haplotypes" is also occasionally discussed in this paper, particularly in light of its ability to demonstrate a high rate of endogamy, genetic drift, and founder effects among Jewish populations.

Examination of mitochondrial DNA, on the other hand, is based on the combined polymorphisms of the control region (hypervariable segments I and II, or HVSI and HVSII) along with specific SNPs in the coding regions of DNA found in the mitochondria. Both males and females have mtDNA, which they have inherited from their mothers, whereas Y chromosome DNA is found only in males and is inherited directly from their fathers.

Like the Y chromosome data, mtDNA sequences are sorted into major phylogenetic haplogroups as well. Recent analysis on both mtDNA and Y chromosome SNPs have allowed researchers to further divide many haplogroups into sub-branches, known in the DNA literature as "sub-clades." The geographic distribution of mtDNA haplogroups and their sub-clades also adds to our understanding of relationships of groups of people, including Jewish populations.


The Birth of European Judaism

This section is intended to provide the reader with a brief history of the Jews in Europe as well as define terms used frequently in the Jewish DNA studies, such as "Diaspora," "Sephardim," and "Ashkenazim." Furthermore, since Jews appear to have both Israelite/Middle Eastern and European genetic ancestry, an understanding of the Jewish experience in Europe is important in explaining how European ancestry became an integral part of the Jewish genetic makeup. However, this section is not intended to be an extensive recounting of the history of the Ashkenazi people.

The birth of European Judaism begins with the Diaspora. "Diaspora" is a term derived from the Greek work meaning "scattering." While the word was originally used by ancient peoples to identify any group that was exiled or resettled from their homeland, the term has now become particularly associated with the Jewish exile from ancient Israel and resettlement elsewhere.

The Jews resettled in many distant lands, even as far as China. This work, however, focuses specifically on the Ashkenazi Jewish experience. Jews were subdivided into groups depending on where they resettled. Ashkenazi Jews are the Jews of France, Germany, andEastern Europe. Sephardic Jews are the Jews of Spain, Portugal and North Africa. Mizrachi/Oriental Jews are the Jews of the Middle East. Certain Jewish communities do not fit into these distinctive groupings in particular, the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia and the Chinese Jews.

Contemporary Jewry is comprised of approximately 13 million people, of whom 5.7 million live in the United States, 4.7 million live inIsrael, and the remainder resides throughout the world (Ostrer 2001). Approximately 90% of the Jews of the U.S. are of Ashkenazi origin, while among the Jews of Israel, 47% are Ashkenazi, 30% are Sephardic, and 23% are of Mizrachi/Oriental origin (Ostrer 2001). Within Jewish groups, membership in three male castes (Cohen, Levi, and Israelite) is determined by paternal descent (Behar et al. 2003).

The history and genetic ancestry of Sephardic Jews is dealt with in only a cursory fashion here. There have been only very limited genetic studies on Jews of Sephardic descent, while in contrast, many DNA studies have explored the genetic ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews. Thus, the primary focus of this work is on Ashkenazim DNA results, but also included is a comparison of Sephardic and Ashkenazi results pertaining to Y chromosome haplogroups J and E.

The word "Ashkenazi" is derived from the Hebrew word for Germany, while "Sephardic" is derived form the Hebrew word for Spain. The word "Ashkenazi" was first used in medieval rabbinical literature to define western European Jews. An interesting story was related by author Arthur Koestler, who noted that the term "Ashkenaz" is also mentioned in the Hebrew bible, referring to a people living somewhere in the vicinity of Armenia. Probably for this reason, the Khazars, a people who lived in and around this area in ancient times and converted to Judaism in the 7[SUP]th[/SUP]- 8[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries, came to believe they were the descendants of these biblical people. Some scholars argue that they began to call themselves "Ashkenazim" when they migrated to Poland in the 13[SUP]th[/SUP] century. Eventually, perhaps, the term came to describe the community as a whole, not just the Khazarian immigrants (Koestler 1976, pp. 181-182).

While the Jews of today are connected historically and religiously to the Jews of ancient Israel, the DNA evidence also indicates that a significant amount of Jewish ancestry can be traced directly back to their Israelite/Middle Eastern ancestors. However, these ancestors represented a heterogeneous mix of Semitic and Mediterranean groups, even at their very beginnings.

The Israelite Kingdom arose in the 11[SUP]th[/SUP] century BCE in an area between modern-day Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Current archaeological evidence indicates that the Israelite kingdom arose out of the earlier, Bronze Age Canaanite culture of that region, and displayed significant continuity with the Canaanites in culture, technology, language and ethnicity (Dever 2003, pp. 153-154).

While the Canaanites were a Western Semitic people indigenous to the area, they appear to have consisted of a diverse ethno-cultural mix from the earliest times. It is from this diverse group that the evolution of the Israelites occurred. Although little is known about these groups, they probably included some of the following populations:


  1. Amorites: Western Semites like the Canaanites. They were probably the pastoral nomadic component of the Canaanite people.
  2. Hittites: A non-Semitic people from Anatolia and Northern Syria.
  3. Hurrians (Horites): A non-Semitic people who inhabited parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. Many kings of the early Canaanite city-states had Hurrian names.
  4. Amalekites: Nomads from southern Transjordan. Even inimical references to this group in the Hebrew Bible "tacitly" acknowledge that the Israelites and Amalekites shared a common ancestry.
  5. Philistines: Referred to in ancient texts as "Sea Peoples." They invaded and settled along the coasts of ancient Canaan. Their culture appears to stem from that of Mycenae.
(Dever 2003, pp. 219-220).

While the Israelite kingdom clashed with a number of world powers over the centuries, including Egypt, Babylon, and Persia, it was the Romans who would destroy the Second Temple in 70 CE, violently sacking Jerusalem and scattering the Israelite population from their homeland. Many Jews were taken as slaves to Rome and its colonies (Konner 2003, p. 86). This watershed moment in the history of the Jewish people is often considered by many researchers to represent the true beginnings of the Jewish Diaspora.

Ironically, however, many scholars believe the Ashkenazi population probably had its earliest roots in Rome, where Jews began to establish communities as early as the second century B.C. While some of these Jews were brought to Rome as slaves, others settled there voluntarily. There were as many as 50,000 Jews in and around Rome by the first century CE, most who were "poor, Greek-speaking foreigners" scorned for their poverty and slave status (Konner 2003, p. 86). Eventually, however, many of these slaves gained their freedom, continuing to live in and around Rome.

By the first century, however, the Jewish Diaspora had already spread to a number of regions of the world, many of which may have contributed to the make-up of the early Ashkenazi Jewish community. These include the Aegean Island of Delos, Ostia (a main port ofRome), Alexandria, and other places in Macedonia and Asia Minor (Konner 2003, p. 83). Jews also began to migrate north of the Alps, probably from Italy (Ostrer 2001).

By 600 CE, Jews were present in many parts of Europe, with small settlements in Germany, France and Spain. More to the east, there were also small Jewish settlements along the Black Sea, as well as larger communities in Greece and the Balkans (Konner 2003, p. 110).

By the 12[SUP]th[/SUP]-13[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries CE, Jews were expelled from many countries of Western Europe, but were granted charters to settle in Polandand Lithuania (Ostrer 2001). The Ashkenazi Jewish population expanded rapidly in Eastern Europe, growing from an estimated 15,000-25,000 people in the 13[SUP]th[/SUP]-15[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries, to two million by 1800 and eight million in 1939 (Ostrer 2001, Behar 2004b). Thus, Jewish settlement in Eastern Europe became the dominant culture of the European Jews, and then of most Jews throughout the world.


The DNA Evidence for Israelite Ancestry: The Jewish Priests and Cohanim DNA Study

The search for Israelite/Middle Eastern DNA among contemporary Jewish populations properly begins with Dr. Karl Skorecki's landmark genetic study of the Cohanim, the priests of the Jewish religion. The study came about based on the following story:

Dr. Skorecki, a Cohen of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazim), was attending synagogue one morning. During the service, a Cohen of Sephardic descent from North Africa was reading from the Hebrew bible. According to Jewish tradition, all Cohanim (plural of "Cohan" or "Cohen") are direct descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses, and serve important priestly functions within the Jewish religion. The line of the Cohanim is patrilineal, allegedly being passed from father to son without interruption from Aaron, for 3,300 years, or more than 100 generations. Dr. Skorecki wondered if this claim could actually be tested. Could he find scientific evidence to support the oral tradition of an ancient priestly lineage? Did he and the Sephardic Cohen possess a set of common genetic markers indicating they shared a common ancestor?

Dr. Skorecki, a nephrologist already involved in molecular genetic research, contacted Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, a pioneer in Y chromosome research, and the Cohanim DNA study was born. Their findings clearly indicated that the Cohanim did indeed share a common ancestor. They discovered that a particular haplotype was found in 97 out of the 106 participants tested. This haplotype has come to be known as the "Cohen Modal Haplotype" or "CMH". According to the study, calculations for dating the CMH yielded a time frame of 106 generations from the ancestral founder of the lineage approximately 3,300 years ago (Thomas et al. 1998).

Not only did the genetic researchers corroborate the oral history of an ancient Jewish priestly caste, but they also confirmed the genetic link between both Sephardic and Ashkenazi populations, indicating that before the two populations separated, those who shared the CMH also shared common Israelite ancestry. Today, the CMH is considered not only the standard genetic signature of the priestly Cohanim, but also the yardstick by which all Jewish DNA is compared for determination of Israelite genetic ancestry. Thus, if a haplogroup is not shared by both Sephardim and Ashkenazim at a similar frequency, then it is generally not considered to be of Israelite origin.

Skorecki and Hammer reported that the CMH occurred within Y chromosome haplogroup J (Skorecki et al. 1997). We now know significantly more about haplogroup J than when these studies were originally published. Haplogroup J consists of an ancestral form (J*) and two subgroups J1 and J2. Although you can have the CMH in either J1 or J2, it is the genetic signature in J1 that is considered the Jewish priestly signature.

What is not widely reported is that only 48% of Ashkenazi Cohanim and 58% of Sephardic Cohanim have the J1 Cohen Modal Haplotype (Skorecki et al. 1997). So nearly half of the Ashkenazi Cohanim results are in haplogroups other than J1. Overall, J1 constitutes 14.6% of the Ashkenazim results and 11.9% of the Sephardic results (Semino et al. 2004). Nor is Cohanim status dependent on a finding of haplogroup J1.

Additionally, many other haplogroups among the Ashkenazim, and among the Cohanim in particular, appear to be of Israelite/Middle Eastern origin. According to Behar (2003), the Cohanim possess an unusually high frequency of haplogroup J in general, reported to comprise nearly 87% of the total Cohanim results. Among the Sephardim, the frequency of 75% is also notably high (Behar 2003). Both groups have dramatically lower percentages of other haplogroups, including haplogroup E. Given the high frequency of haplogroup J among Ashkenazi Cohanim, it appears that J2 may be only slightly less common than J1, perhaps indicating multiple J lineages among the priestly Cohanim dating back to the ancient Israelite kingdom.

However, J1 is the only haplogroup that researchers consider "Semitic" in origin because it is restricted almost completely to Middle Eastern populations, with a very low frequency in Italy and Greece as well (Semino et al. 2004). The group's origins are thought to be in the southern Levant. Its presence among contemporary Sephardic and Ashkenazi populations indicates the preservation of Israelite Semitic ancestry, despite their long settlement in Europe and North Africa. Further, the CMH is considered the putative ancestral haplotype of haplogroup J1 (Di Giacomo et al. 2004).

Table 1 compares the Jewish J1 CMH to the J1 modal haplotypes of other Middle Eastern populations:



Table 1
Modal Haplotypes* in J1 Populations

[TABLE="width: 295"]
[TR]
[TD]J1
GROUPS[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
0
1
9 [/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
8[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
0[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
1[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
2[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
3[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]CMH[/TD]
[TD]14[/TD]
[TD]16[/TD]
[TD]23[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Bedouin[/TD]
[TD]14[/TD]
[TD]15[/TD]
[TD]23[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Palestinian[/TD]
[TD]14[/TD]
[TD]17[/TD]
[TD]22[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

*6-Locus Haplotype.


Researchers believe that marker 388=17 is linked with the later expansion of Arabian tribes in the southern Levant and northern Africa (Di Giacomo et al. 2004). There were two migrations of J1, the first occurring in the Neolithic period, spreading J1 to Ethiopia and Europe(Semino et al. 2004). A second wave of J1 occurred in the 7[SUP]th[/SUP] century, spread by Arab expansion from the southern Levant into North Africa. This secondary migration is also distinguished by a mutational event at marker YCAIIYCAIIa=22 and YCAIIb=22 (Semino et al. 2004).

The Cohanim study was widely misinterpreted by the public as indicating that all Jews were in haplogroup J and had the CMH. Furthermore, many non-Jews in haplogroup J mistakenly believed that they must have some Jewish ancestry hidden in their past to explain their DNA results. As it turned out, most non-Jews were in subgroup J2 rather than J1 (Semino et al. 2004). Interestingly, Jews were later found to have as much J2 ancestry as J1.

The misinterpretation of the Cohanim results was damaging in some ways to the wider understanding of Jewish genetic ancestry. For example, one widely published media quote went like this: "This genetic research has clearly refuted the once-current libel that Ashkenazi Jews are not related to the ancient Hebrews, but are descendants of the Kuzar (sic) tribe a pre-10[SUP]th[/SUP] century Turko-Asian empire which reportedly converted en masse to Judaism." Further, it was claimed that "[r]esearchers compared the DNA signature of the Ashkenazi Jews against those of Turkish-derived people, and found no correspondence" (Kleinman 1999).

However, it would soon become very clear that Jewish DNA was much more complicated than was presented by the media in their reporting of the Cohanim data. And Jewish Khazarian ancestry would come to the public's attention yet again when another DNA study was conducted, this time on the Jewish priestly group known as the Levites.


The Khazars: A Jewish Kingdom in Europe

Author Arthur Koestler (1976) is generally credited for bringing the unique history of the Khazars to the attention of the public. The decades that have past since the publication of his book have not dampened its highly controversial nature.

The country of the Khazars lay in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas, between the Caucasus Mountains and the Volga River. There, between the ever-invading Muslim Arabs and the Christian Byzantine Empire, a peculiar thing occurred a Jewish empire arose. In 740 CE, the Khazarian King, his court and military ruling class all embraced the Jewish faith. This large scale official conversion of an ethnically non-Jewish people is well attested to in Arab, Byzantine, Russian and Hebrew sources (Koestler 1976, pp.13-15).

The rationale behind such conversion continues to both puzzle and fascinate historians why would a people, despite political pressure from two great powers, chose a religion which had no support from any political power, but was rather persecuted by all? Whatever the reason, the Jewish Khazars continued to rule their kingdom until the 12[SUP]th[/SUP]-13[SUP]th[/SUP] century, when their empire finally dissolved. The fate of the Khazars after the fall of their empire remains a subject of great controversy among researchers.

The Khazars are often described as "a people of Turkish stock," although such description is misleading (Koestler 1976, p. 13). Although the Khazars spoke a Turkish dialect believed to be related to that spoken today by the peoples of the Chuvash Soviet Republic, their ethnic origins remains a matter of debate. Many of the Eurasian tribes driven westward by the Chinese, including the Huns, were labeled under the generic term of "Turk." The origin of the word "Khazar" most likely derives from the Turkish root "gaz," meaning "to wander" or simply "nomad." (Koestler 1976, p. 21).

Given that the Khazarian kingdom arose in the area of today's Ukraine, it is likely that there was a significant amount of indigenous Eastern European ancestry among this group. And, in fact, the various descriptions of the Khazars provided by ancient writers attest to the probable heterogeneous ethnic mixture in this group.

According to an 11[SUP]th[/SUP] century Arab chronicler Ibn-al-Balkhi, the Khazars are

. . . to the north of the inhabited earth towards the 7[SUP]th[/SUP] clime, having over their heads the constellation of the Plough. Their land is cold and wet. Accordingly their complexions are white, their eyes blue, their hair flowing and predominately reddish, their bodies large and their natures cold. Their general aspect is wild" (Koestler 1976, p. 19). An Armenian writer described them as having "insolent, broad, lashless faces and long falling hair, like women. (Koestler 1976, p. 20).

A slightly more flattering picture is provided by Arab geographer Istakhri:

The Khazars do not resemble the Turks. They are black-haired, and are of two kinds, one called the Kara-Khazars [Black Khazars] who are swarthy verging on deep black as if they were kind of Indian, and a white kind [Ak-Khazars], who are strikingly handsome. (Koestler 1976, p. 20)

However, Koestler (1976, p. 22) cautions the reader not to place too much weight on this description, since it was customary among Turkish peoples to refer to the ruling classes as "white" and the lower clans as "black."

It is clear that the Khazars were closely connected to the Huns, who themselves are an ethnic mystery. The Byzantine rhetorician Priscus, who was part of an embassy to Attila the Hun's court in 448 CE, reported that a people known as the "Akatzirs" or "White Khazars" were subjects of the Huns. According to Koestler (1976, p. 23), "Priscus's chronicle confirms that the Khazars appeared on the European scene about the middle of the fifth century as a people under Hunnish sovereignty, and may be regarded, together with the Magyars and other tribes, as a later offspring of Attila's horde." After the collapse of the Hunnish Empire following Attila's death, the confederation of tribes known as the Khazars eventually gained supremacy in the southern half of Eastern Europe, retaining control of this region for nearly four centuries.

What became a matter of dispute among historians was the fate of the Jewish Khazars after the destruction of their empire in the 12[SUP]th- [/SUP]13[SUP]th[/SUP]centuries. Koestler argued that remnants of the Khazar tribes migrated into regions of Eastern Europe where the greatest concentrations of Jews were found, eventually merging with those pre-existing communities. In fact, Koestler's controversial argument was that the Khazars emigrated in substantial enough numbers to have had a significant genetic impact on contemporary Jewish ancestry.

With the advent of DNA studies, the question of whether contemporary Jews could trace any part of their ancestry back to the Khazars became a tantalizing mystery to try to solve. While the Cohanim DNA writers attempted to close the book on this question, evidence from another important genetic study, that of the Jewish Levite priests, made it apparent that the Khazarian debate was far from over.


The Levites: The DNA of the Jewish Khazarian Priests

The other Jewish priestly caste is known as the "Levites." Like the Cohanim, Levites are recorded in the Hebrew Bible as direct descendants of Aaron, Israel's first High Priest. In fact, the Cohanim are actually a special subsection of the Levites (Telushkin 1997, p. 125).

In the second study published on the Cohanim, researchers reported that despite a priori expectations, Jews who identified themselves as Levites did not share a common set of markers with the Cohanim (Thomas et al. 1998). Unfortunately, the reporting that the Levites did not share a genetic signature from a common patrilineal ancestor with the Cohanim flew in the face of Jewish tradition. This led to some rather bizarre and disparaging explanations, like the following from Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman (1999) in Jewish Action:

It is interesting to note that the tribe of Levi has a history of lack of quantity…After the Babylonian exile, the Levi'im (plural) failed to return en masse to Jerusalem, though urged by Ezra the Scribe to do so (They were therefore fined by losing their exclusive rights to maser.). Though statistically, the Levi'im should be more numerous than Cohanim, in synagogues today it is not unusual to have a minyan with a surplus of Cohanim, yet not one Levi.

In point of fact, the Levites were shown to have a common set of genetic markers just not the CMH. These markers were not even part of the same J1 haplogroup as found in the Cohanim. The majority of Levites shared a common haplotype, indicating a shared common ancestor among them, but this haplotype occurred within haplogroup R1a and, more specifically, within subgroup R1a1. Furthermore, this haplogroup was found only in the Ashkenazi Levites; it was not shared with the Sephardic Levite population in the same fashion as the CMH. Given the fact that the Ashkenazi Levites did not share R1a with their Sephardic counterparts, it appeared that this haplogroup had entered the Jewish population sometime during the Diaspora.

In one of the first studies to closely examine the high levels of R1a among Levites, researchers found that R1al formed a "tight cluster" within the Ashkenazi Levites (Behar et al. 2003). This suggested to the researchers a very recent origin of this group from a single common ancestor (Behar et al. 2003).

In a subsequent Levite study, the modal haplotype reported for Ashkenazi R1a1, known as "H6," was reported to occur twice as often as the second most common R1a1 haplotype among Ashkenazim, known as "H10" (Nebel et al. 2005). Out of a sample of 55 individuals, 25 had haplotype "H6" and 12 had haplotype "H10" (Nebel et al. 2005, Supplementary Material).


Table 2
Haplotypes* for Ashkenazi R-M17
[TABLE="width: 312"]
[TR]
[TD]
HAPLOTYPE[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
0
1
9[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
8[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
0[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
1[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
2[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
3[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]H6[/TD]
[TD]16[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[TD]25[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]H10[/TD]
[TD]15[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[TD]25[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

*6-Locus Haplotype


Behar believed that among Ashkenazi Jews, R1a1 was essentially restricted to Levites. However, we know from subsequent research that R1a1 comprises nearly 12% of Ashkenazi results, while the Levites only make up about 4-5 % of the Jewish people (Nebel et al. 2005). Thus, these results extend well beyond the Levite priestly class to approximately 5-8% of the Cohanim and Israelites (the non-priestly Jewish population) as well.

Haplogroup R1a1 is relatively rare within Middle Eastern populations, but very common among Eastern European and Scandinavian populations (Behar et al. 2003). It is found at a frequency of 7% in some Near Eastern groups (Behar et al. 2004b). However, given that Sephardic groups did not share R1a1 frequencies with the Ashkenazim, it was apparent that Jewish R1a1 was probably not of ancient Israelite origin.

Confirmation of the high frequency of Haplogroup R1a1 among Ashkenazim as compared to other Jewish and non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations was found in a genetic study on Samaritan and Israeli groups (Shen et al. 2004). Although population samples were small, consisting of twenty participants from Ashkenazi Jewish groups, all were Eastern Ashkenazim of Polish ancestry. Ashkenazi results were compared to other Jewish groups from Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Ethiopia and Yemen, as well as to non-Jewish Samaritan, Druze and Palestinian populations. Shen found that haplogroup R was found in 10-30% of all the groups, with the exception of Palestinians and Ethiopian Jews, though the majority belonged to R1b and R*. In contrast, the Ashkenazim had the highest percentage of haplogroup R (30%), with two-thirds of those results found in haplogroup R1a (Shen et al. 2004).

As for when R1a1 first entered the Jewish community, Behar (2003) estimated a mean TMRCA (time to the most recent common ancestor) of 663 years before the present using the Simple Stepwise Mutation Model and a mean time of 1,000 years before present under the Linear Length-Dependent Stepwise Mutational Model. This calculation was striking because it fit precisely within the time period that Koestler believed the mass migration and absorption of the Khazars by the larger Eastern European Jewish communities occurred.

R1a1 is found in very high frequencies not only in the area of Eastern Europe where the Khazarian kingdom is reported to have existed, but also in many Central Asian populations as well, where some of the Khazarian population may have originated (Nebel et al. 2005). Furthermore, the most common Ashkenazi haplotype, H6, is identical to the most common haplotype found among European R1a1 (YHRD 2003). Ashkenazi H10 is identical to the fifth most common European R1a1 haplotype.[1]

Behar (2003) noted that Ashkenazi R1a1 haplotypes clustered closely with those seen in Sorbian and Belarusian groups in Eastern Europe, yet the haplotypes were dissimilar enough to convince him that these groups were not the original source population for Ashkenazi R1a1. While the Ashkenazi H6 haplotype is also one of the most common haplotypes among the Sorbian and Belarusian populations, the modal haplotypes found among these two Eastern European groups do not appear among Ashkenazim (Behar, 2003). However, it is possible that genetic drift could have led to the loss of other Jewish R1a1 lineages (Behar, 2003).

Nebel (2005) emphasized that the R1a1 haplogroup must have entered the Jewish gene pool from outside sources because the ancestral haplotype (H6) is almost completely absent in Sephardic Jews, Kurdish Jews and Palestinian population samples. He suggested that R1a1 in Ashkenazim "may represent vestiges of the mysterious Khazars." However, he also argued for a single founder event early on in the Jewish Diaspora, proposing that the TMRCA for R1a1 among Ashkenazi was approximately 62.7 generations ago, or 1567 years ago.

However, the proposal that R1a1 originated with a single founder event early in the Diaspora has become increasingly unlikely as research on Jewish DNA progresses. Since R1a1 is spread fairly evenly in haplotype distribution and frequency throughout the Ashkenazi populations from various countries (Germany, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine), then the founders must have entered the community either before it expanded and spread to Eastern Europe, or merged separately into both eastern and western Ashkenazi groups. However, Nebel (2005) is forced to assert an extremely early TMRCA due to his belief that R1a1 must have originated with a single founder or very small group of founders. In order for R1a1 to reach its high frequency (12%) among the Ashkenazim from a single founder, a very early date must be proposed for the introgression of this haplogroup. Under this scenario, R1a1 entered the Jewish community when it was extremely small and in its formative stage. Gene flow from a single R1a founder at this early stage would likely have a huge impact on the expanding Ashkenazi population.

However, it appears that the most recently revised mutational dating techniques lend support to Behar's (2003) later date when applied to Jewish R1a1 haplotypes. If we assume that R1a1 entered the Jewish community around 1300 CE, then there would need to be enough founders to leave a 12% genetic impact on the population. Given that the Ashkenazi population at that time is estimated to be approximately 25,000 persons, it would be nearly impossible for a single founder to make such a significant genetic impact (Behar et al. 2004b). Adopting this conservative estimate of 25,000 persons, approximately two to three thousand R1a1 males probably entered the Ashkenazi community between the 12th-13[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries.

Interestingly, there are no historical accounts of any large scale conversions or Eastern European groups entering the Jewish community at this time except the Khazars.

Additionally, given the relatively late date of introgression and the large number of founders, these males must have already been very closely related to each other, sharing the R1a1 haplotypes that are later reflected in the Levite results. Behar (2003) noted that the lack of Levite R1a1 haplotype diversity suggested that all the founding lineages were very closely related to each other if, in fact, a large number of founding lineages contributed to the Levite R1a1 gene pool. The ancient reports on the Khazars indicate that the majority of the Jewish converts were from the Khazarian royalty and ruling classes (Koestler 1976, p.15). Although speculative, it seems likely this group would have intermarried heavily amongst itself, helping to preserve the group's elite status. Thus, it is probable that they would have already possessed a set of closely related R1a1 haplotypes which they simply passed on to their Levite descendants.

Most importantly, the fact that these R1a1 founders were endowed with Levite status is highly revealing. Behar (2003), in fact, argues against the possibility of a large number of R1a founders because it would involve a breach of "a well-regulated rabbinically controlled barrier" and would "most likely leave some prominent trace in the historical record which it has not." However, he then suggests that the R1a introgression may indicate a lesser degree of stringency for the assumption of Levite status than for the assumption of Cohen status. He points to a passage in the Talmud involving a debate over whether Levite status should be accorded to a man whose father was a non-Jew and who mother was the daughter of a Levite. This suggests that assignment of Levite status other than through patrilineal descent could have been sanctioned by the rabbinical authorities.

However, the Khazars were already Jewish, having converted hundreds of years before. Although of a different ethnic make-up than the Ashkenazim of the 13[SUP]th[/SUP] century, they were not "non-Jews." They probably already had their own Levite caste in place who may have simply continued their priestly functions among the Ashkenazim.

Integration into the Levite priesthood would have secured for the Khazarian immigrants a place in their new community while helping them maintain a sense of elite status among a new people. Yet it is clear that the Khazars had become Jews long before they became part of the larger Ashkenazi community. Thus, it should not be surprising that six hundred years after their reported conversion, the Ashkenazim may have accorded them a special role among their Levite priesthood.


The Khazars and the Smoking Gun of Haplogroup Q

With the discovery of haplogroup Q among Ashkenazi Jews, DNA researchers may have found the "smoking gun" of Khazarian ancestry.

In one of the few DNA studies to examine haplogroup Q among Jews, researchers made the surprising declaration that only 5-8% of the Ashkenazi gene pool is comprised of Y chromosomes that originated from non-Jewish European populations (Behar et al. 2004b). But since subsequent research has confirmed that R1a1 alone comprises nearly 12% of the Ashkenazi gene pool, it now appears that Behar's estimate is much too low. Additionally, Behar's (2004b, Supplementary Material) own data indicate that haplogroups R1b, R1a and I comprise more than a quarter of Ashkenazi DNA results.

As for haplogroup Q, Behar (2004b) states that it is a "minor founding lineage" among the Ashkenazim, but does not discuss it any further in the study. Haplogroup Q appears in 23 out of 442 Ashkenazi results in Behar's study, or approximately 5% of the total results (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material). Interestingly, out of 50 non-Jewish Hungarian results also appearing in this study, haplogroup Q did not appear at all (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material).

The modal haplotype for Ashkenazi Q is shown in Table 3:


Table 3
Ashkenazi Q-P36 Modal Haplotype*

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD]D
Y
S
0
1
9[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
8[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
9
i[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
9
ii[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
0[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
1[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
2[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
3[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
4
2
6[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
4
3
9[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]13[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[TD]16[/TD]
[TD]22[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]15[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[TD]16[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

* 10-Locus Haplotype


Approximately 19 out of the 23 Q results exhibited the above haplotype, with 3 additional results being a single step mutation away on DYS marker #393 (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material). In fact, so many identical haplotypes makes it difficult to accurately date Ashkenazi Q, since using a TMRCA calculation indicates these Ashkenazim, both eastern and western groups, could be related within the last hundred years. This, however, seems highly unlikely, given the separation between these populations over the last few hundred years.

By designating Q a "minor founding lineage," Behar (2004b) places this group among "those haplogroups likely to be present in the founding Ashkenazi population." However, given that Haplogroup Q is rarely found in Middle Eastern populations in DNA studies, the likelihood that Q can be attributed to Israelite ancestry seems remote. The presence of Haplogroup Q among all Ashkenazi groups indicates the founders of this group either mixed with a number of separate Ashkenazi populations or, more likely, entered to the Ashkenazi population in western Europe in a similar fashion to Haplogroup R1a1, before the Ashkenazi migrated in large numbers eastward in the 13[SUP]th[/SUP]-14[SUP]th[/SUP] centuries.

The extremely low haplotype diversity of Ashkenazi Q supports the argument of a small number of closely-related founders merging with the Ashkenazim while they still resided primarily in Western Europe, but not significantly earlier in their formation, since a longer time span would result in more haplotype diversity. It does not support the contention that Q is Israelite in origin, or that the founders merged into the Jewish population much earlier in the Diaspora. Assuming the Ashkenazi population consisted of approximately 25,000 individuals around 1200-1300 CE, then approximately 1000-1500 Q individuals became part of the Ashkenazi population at that time.

Haplogroup Q is rare in European populations as well. It occurs in low percentages in Hungary (2.6%) and much higher percentages inSiberia (Tambets et al. 2004). It can be found among populations in Norway and the Shetland Islands of Scotland where many Norwegian Vikings settled. The frequency of Haplogroup Q among Scandinavians is comparable to that found in Ashkenazim (Faux, private correspondence). It appears that Norwegians/Shetlanders and Ashkenazi Jews possess the highest percentages of haplogroup Q of any populations in Europe a rare link between two very different populations who may share a common ancestor from Central Asia or Eastern Europe. Interestingly, Scandinavians and Shetlanders also possess high levels of haplogroup R1a1 as well, perhaps some of it originating from Central Asian sources (Faux, private correspondence).

David Faux, a researcher examining the Shetlander's DNA and possible Central Asian links, notes the following:

The best evidence we have to date is that, although not investigated scientifically, that Q and K* arrived with R1a from the same population source in the Altai region of Russian Siberia. It is likely that what we are seeing with Q and K are very rare Scandinavian haplogroups whose origins were long ago in Asia. If this is true, then it is very unusual that there does not seem to be any Q or K along the overland pathways to Norway (e.g., in Western Russia) but there is Q, along with R1a, in the region of Kurdistan, and among a significant percentage of Ashkenazi Jews.

Faux further hypothesized that the homeland of Norse Q lies somewhere in the populations of Siberia, such as with the Selkups (66.4% Q and 19.1% R1a) or the Kets (93.7% Q), or among the populations of the Altai mountain system extending through Mongolia, Kazakhstanand Russia (Tambets et al. 2004).

Haplogroup K* also appears among Ashkenazim, though this group is rarely discussed in the DNA literature. Behar (2004b, Supplementary Infor-mation) found 2-3% among Ashkenazi Jews. Behar identifies this group as K*-M9, though they may, in fact, be within Haplogroup K2, since they closely match the K2 haplotypes reported among Turkish groups (Cinnioglu 2004). The appearance of Haplogroup K* only among eastern Ashkenazim may be attributable to Eastern European or Khazarian admixture (Behar 2004b, Supplementary Material). Interestingly, Ashkenazi K* exhibits more haplotype diversity than haplogroup Q results, perhaps indicating a larger percentage of unrelated K* founders or genetic drift.

However, Behar (2003) reports finding a significantly higher frequency of haplogroup K* among Sephardic Levites (23%) and Sephardic Israelites (13%), perhaps the highest frequency of K* found among any European population. This may indicate that some of Ashkenazi K* is, in fact, of Israelite origin. Its absence among western Ashkenazim and very low frequency among eastern Ashkenazim suggests that the high frequency of Sephardic K* may be due to pronounced genetic drift or significantly more K* founders as part of the original Sephardic population. However, it is also possible that Sephardic K* is the result of admixture with African or Mediterranean groups. Haplogroup K* is known to reach a frequency of 10% in Cabo Verbe, an east Atlantic island population with ties to Jewish founders from Spain and Portugal (Goncalves et al. 2003).

A comparison of haplogroup Q among Altaians and Ashkenazi Jews was undertaken by Dienekes Pontikos (2004), who operates a respected website dedicated to the examination of anthropological, archaeological and genetic research. He compared the frequency of haplogroups R1a and Q among Altaian Turkic speakers and Ashkenazi Jews. For Altaians, the percentages are 46/17, or a ratio of about 2.7, while in Ashkenazim it is 12/5, or a ratio of about 2.4. Dienekes writes:

If Proto-Khazars were similar to present-day Altaians minus haplogroup C, then they would have a frequency of about 59% R1a and 22% Q. Therefore, it seems reasonable that an overall 5/22=22% of such Proto-Khazar elements into the Ashkenazi Jewish populations may be likely. But, the Khazars of Khazaria may themselves have been somewhat mixed with Western Eurasian elements, which would decrease their frequency of haplogroup Q.

Dienekes (2004) also wrote that he found the continued silence of researchers about the presence of haplogroup Q among Ashkenazim "puzzling."

Haplogroup Q is found in high frequencies in only a few regions of the world. Native American's possess very high percentages of Q, particularly a sub-group known as "Q3" (Zegura et al. 2004). But haplogroup Q did not originate among the Native Americans, nor did this population obtain their Q ancestry from Jewish or Scandinavian ancestors. As previously noted by Faux, its origins probably lie somewhere in northern Eurasia, in Siberia or the Altai, where Q continues to be a common Y chromosome haplogroup. It is from this group after migration to the New World that Native American Haplogroup Q3 originated.

Genetic analysis has allowed researchers to trace Native American haplogroup Q to its probable ancestral homeland the Altai Mountains of Southwest Siberia (Zegura et al. 2004). The researchers have also pointed out that the Kets and Sekups, who currently inhabit the eastern part of Western Siberia and the Yenisey River Valley, can trace their origin homeland further south, on the slopes of the Altai mountains (Zegura et al. 2004). This region is, of course, where Faux postulated that Scandinavia's Q and K* ancestors originated. It may also be the homeland of Khazarian Q ancestors whose descendants are found today among Ashkenazi Jewish groups.

In conclusion, it appears that some members of three very distinct populationsScandinavian-Shetlanders, Native Americans and Ashkenazi Jewsmay share common ancestors originating from the Altai regions of southern Siberia. However, the Q ancestors of the Native Americans appears to have departed from their Altai homeland much earlier than the other two groups, migrating to the New World sometime between 10,000 to 17,000 years ago, providing sufficient time for the Native Americans to develop their own unique subgroup of Q, known as Q3 (Zegura et al. 2004).

The migration of R1a and Q groups into Scandinavia is presently unknown, though Faux postulates a group from Central Asia may have moved up into Scandinavia sometime around 400 CE. Only a few hundred years later, the Khazars of southern Russia make their first appearance in the historical record. And it is to the Khazars, who undoubtedly possessed a high frequency of this haplogroup, to which the Jews most likely owe their unique Q ancestry.



Possible Other Israelite Y-Haplogroups: J, E and G

Previously, the presence of Haplogroups J, E3b, and G among Jews was interpreted as additional evidence of Middle Eastern or Israelite ancestry in much the same fashion as the Cohanim Modal Haplotype. However, recent studies demonstrate that their origin is uncertain.

Unfortunately, misinformation about these haplogroups continues to pervade the public and media. Haplogroup E3b is often incorrectly described as "African," leaving a misimpression regarding the origin and complex history of this haplogroup. Haplogroup J2, as previously discussed, is often incorrectly equated with J1 and described as "Jewish" or "Semitic," despite the fact that it is present in a variety of non-Jewish Mediterranean and Northern European populations. And haplogroup G is rarely discussed in depth; its origin and distribution remain poorly understood.

Haplogroup G Among Jews

Lack of reported data regarding haplogroup G is surprising given that it is found in approximately 9% of Ashkenazi Jews, with G-M201* consisting of the great majority of those results (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material). Behar (2004b) considers G-M201* a "minor founder haplogroup" likely to have been present in the founding Ashkenazi population due to its very low frequency among non-Jewish Europeans. It is unclear whether Behar's G-M201* indicates G* results rather than sub-group G1, though this seems unlikely given the lack of G* reported in the Middle East and southern Europe (Cinnioglu et al. 2004). Haplogroup G-M201* is distributed among both western and eastern Ashkenazi groups (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material). Unfortunately, so little has been reported about the distribution of this haplogroup among European and Middle Eastern populations that its origins among the Ashkenazim remain unclear. Haplogroup G-M201 is found at high frequencies among populations of the Caucasus and Georgia and may have originated in that region (Cinnioglu et al. 2004). The modal haplotype shown in Table 4 was found in 14 out of 34 Ashkenazi results, with an additional 5 results only a single-step mutation away:


Table 4
Modal Haplotype* of Ashkenazi G-M201*

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD]D
Y
S
0
1
9[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
8[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
9
i[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
8
9
ii[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
0[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
1[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
2[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
3
9
3[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
4
2
6[/TD]
[TD]D
Y
S
4
3
9[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]15[/TD]
[TD]12[/TD]
[TD]14[/TD]
[TD]18[/TD]
[TD]23[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]13[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD]15[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

* 10-Locus Haplotype (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material)


Haplogroup G2 (G-P15) is present in both Jewish and non-Jewish European groups (Behar et al. 2004b). Although G2 is found in Turkey, it may be less common in Middle Eastern populations as compared to European groups. Haplogroup G2 appears almost exclusively in eastern Ashkenazim, comprising approximately 2% of the results (Behar et al. 2004b, Supplementary Material). The restriction to eastern Ashkenazim argues in favor of admixture with Eastern European or Khazarian ancestors. This group also exhibits high diversity and lack of a dominant modal haplotype, indicative of multiple founders or genetic drift.

Haplogroup E3b Among Jews

An examination of recent DNA studies clarifies the probable origins and history of Haplogroup E3b among Jewish populations. One important study by Cruciani explores and refines the origins and distribution patterns not only of E3b, but of the entire E haplogroup (Cruciani et al. 2004).

Researchers discovered that various branches and sub-branches of haplogroup E had very different evolutionary histories and distinct migration patterns (Cruciani et al. 2004). Two branches, E1 and E2, are found predominately in Africa. The third branch, E3, is further divided into E3a and E3b. Haplogroup E3b can be further broken down into a number of sub-clades, including E-M78, E-M81, E-M123, E-M281, and E-V6. If an individual does not fall into any of these sub-clades but still has the defining mutations for E3b, he is then in the ancestral group, E-M35* (Cruciani et al. 2004).

Although E3b arose in East Africa approximately 25,000 years ago, certain sub-clades appear to have been present in Europe and Asia for thousands of years (Cruciani et al. 2004). For example, although E-M78 occurs in about 30-20% of north and east African populations, it also occurs in 4.7% of French, 11.2% of Central Italians and 2.6% of Polish samples (Cruciani et al. 2004). It is particularly high in the Balkans, with some population having a frequency of 25% or more (Cruciani et al. 2004).

It appears that E-M78 migrated from the Middle East to Europe during the Neolithic period. Once it reached the Balkans, a distinctive cluster formed which Cruciani (2004) refers to as the "alpha cluster." The majority of European E-M78 appears to have originated from this cluster.

However, another cluster of E-M78, known as the "delta cluster," appears to have migrated to Europe from North Africa or the Middle Eastwith a distinctive haplotype already formed (Cruciani et al. 2004). It is found in low frequency among Spanish, French, Basque and Italian groups (Cruciani et al. 2004). In North Africa, it is also prevalent among Moroccan Arab, Berber and Egyptian groups. Among Middle Eastern groups, it is found in Turkish, Druze Arab and Palestinian populations (Cruciani et al. 2004). This cluster is distinguishable from the Balkan form by distinctive STR haplotype differences.

In a study that presented frequencies of haplogroups J and E among various groups, including both Ashkenazi and Sephardic populations, researchers found 14 out of 77 Ashkenazim (18.2%) were E3b, while 12 out of 40 Sephardim were E3b (30%). (Semino et al. 2004). Ashkenazim were also reported to have a frequency of 5.2% of E-M78, while Sephardim had 12.5%. Yet the providence of this sub-clade among Jews continues to remain unresolved. It is possible that Ashkenazi E-M78 is the result of multiple sources. Only further testing of E-M78 among Sephardic and Ashkenazi groups will determine which of Cruciani's clusters Jewish groups belong to and whether Ashkenazi and Sephardic groups share similar E-M78 ancestry. However, the fact that Behar (2004b, Supplementary Material) found E-M78 to be much more prevalent among eastern versus western Ashkenazim (10 out of 12 results) argues in favor of admixture with Greek, Italian, Balkan or Eastern European populations. It is also possible that the origin of this sub-clade among Ashkenazim is attributable to Khazarian ancestors.

The higher frequency of E-M78 among Sephardic groups may be the result of pronounced genetic drift, or more likely, gene flow from North African and Spanish populations. The likelihood of European and North African gene flow is further supported by the fact that another sub-clade, E-M81, occurs only among Sephardim (Semino et al. 2004). It is also found in very high percentages among North Africans. Its frequency among the Sephardim at 5% is comparable to that seen in Spanish populations, again suggesting possible gene flow from Spanish and Berber populations into Sephardic groups.

Behar (2004b) deemed sub-clade E-M35* a "major founding lineage" among Ashkenazim. But according to Semino (2004), E-M35* only occurs among 1.3% of Ashkenazim and among 2.5% of Sephardim. Behar, on the other hand, reports finding E-35 at a frequency of 7.1% among Eastern European Ashkenazim, versus 19.1% among Ashkenazim in the west. Not only do Behar's figures contrast sharply with that found by Semino, but Behar also apparently discovered a significant difference in the frequency of this sub-group between eastern and western Jews. The discrepancy between Behar and Semino's results may be attributable to Behar including sub-clade E-M123 results within his larger E-M35 category. The fact that E-M123 does not appear separately as part of Behar's data suggests that he did, in fact, combine these sub-clades into a single category.

In fact, the best candidate for possible E3b Israelite ancestry among Jews is E-M123. This sub-clade occurs in almost the same proportions (approximately 10-12%) among both Ashkenazim and Sephardim (Semino et al. 2004). According to Cruciani (2004), E-M123 probably originated in the Middle East, since it is found in a large majority of the populations from that area, and then back migrated to Ethiopia. He further notes that this sub-clade may have been spread to Europe during the Neolithic agricultural expansion out of the Middle East. However, because E-M123 is also found in low percentages (1-3%) in many southern European and Balkan populations, its origin among Jewish groups remains uncertain (Semino et al. 2004). Yet the fact that both Sephardim and Ashkenazim possess this sub-clade in similar high frequency supports an Israelite/Middle Eastern origin.

As for E-M35*, Semino (2004) did not find this group in either the Lebanese or Iraqi samples. Nor did Cruciani (2004) find it in any of his Middle Eastern samples. It is present, however, in East and North African samples; for example, it occurs in about 7.9% of Berber tribesmen from north-central Morocco (Semino et al. 2004). It also occurs in 2.7% of Andalusians in Spain, 5.5% of Sardinians and 1.5% Italian populations (Semino et al. 2004). It appears that the most likely explanation for Jewish E-M35* is that it represents gene flow from North African populations into Spain, Italy, and Sardinia, and hence, gene flow from these European populations into Jewish groups.

Haplogroup J2 Among Jews

Haplogroup J2 among Jews has been erroneously interpreted in the past as exclusively "Israelite" or "Middle Eastern" in origin. Among Ashkenazim, J2 occurs among 23.2% of the population, while Sephardim have 28.6% (Semino et al. 2004). While these percentages are nearly identical to Iraqi (22.4%) and Lebanese (25%) groups, they are also comparable to Greek (20.6%), Georgian (26.7%), Albanian (19.6%), Italian (20-29%), and to a lesser extent, French Basq
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#5

DNA research sheds light on ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews

Date:
October 8, 2013

Source:
University of Huddersfield

Summary:
Many of the maternal ancestors of modern Ashkenazi Jews were European converts, according to new research. Analysis of DNA samples has shown that on the female line, the Ashkenazim are descended not from the Near East but from southern and western Europe.






[Image: 131008112539-large.jpg]
Old Jewish cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic.
Credit: © monysasi / Fotolia
[Click to enlarge image]




Many of the maternal ancestors of modern Ashkenazi Jews were European converts, according to a research project headed by a University of Huddersfield professor.


Professor Martin Richards heads the Archaeogenetics Research Group based at the University of Huddersfield and he is a co-author of the new article, entitled "A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages."
In Hebrew, the word "Ashkenazi" means "Germans" and the term is used for Jews of eastern European origin who historically spoke the Yiddish or Judeo-German language. Professor Richards says that the new explanation for their origins was one of the most significant findings from a wider project in which he and his colleagues -- principally the Portuguese PhD students Marta Costa and Joana Pereira -- were analysing mitochondrial DNA samples (i.e. DNA that traces the maternal line) in order to investigate the prehistoric settlement of Europe by migrants from the Near East.
Ashkenazi Jewish lineages were among the large quantity of publicly available mitochondrial genomes of people from Europe, the Caucasus and the Middle East that entered the analysis. It was discovered that in the vast majority of cases, Ashkenazi lineages are most closely related to those of southern and western Europe and that they had been present in Europe for many thousands of years.
*"This suggests that, even though Jewish men may indeed have migrated into Europe from Palestine around 2000 years ago, they seem to have married European women," states Professor Richards.
This seems to have happened first along the Mediterranean, especially in Italy, and later -- but probably to a lesser extent -- in western and central Europe. This suggests that, in the early years of the Diaspora, Judaism took in many converts from amongst the European population, but they were mainly recruited from amongst women. Thus, on the female line of descent, the Ashkenazim primarily trace their ancestry neither to Palestine nor to Khazaria in the North Caucasus -- as has also been suggested -- but to southern and western Europe.
"The origins of the Ashkenazim is one of the big questions that people have pursued again and again and never really come to a conclusive view," said Prof Richards, who has described the new data as "compelling."


Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Huddersfield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:
  • Marta D. Costa, Joana B. Pereira, Maria Pala, Verónica Fernandes, Anna Olivieri, Alessandro Achilli, Ugo A. Perego, Sergei Rychkov, Oksana Naumova, JiÅ™i Hatina, Scott R. Woodward, Ken Khong Eng, Vincent Macaulay, Martin Carr, Pedro Soares, Luísa Pereira, Martin B. Richards. A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3543

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#6
Peter Lemkin Wrote:DNA research sheds light on ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews

Date:
October 8, 2013

Source:
University of Huddersfield

Summary:
Many of the maternal ancestors of modern Ashkenazi Jews were European converts, according to new research. Analysis of DNA samples has shown that on the female line, the Ashkenazim are descended not from the Near East but from southern and western Europe.



As my Rabbi said "Do you think Indian Jews look the way they do from eating curry?"

People socialise. It's what we do as social creatures. There is only one race. The human race.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#7
Magda Hassan Wrote:
Peter Lemkin Wrote:DNA research sheds light on ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews

Date:
October 8, 2013

Source:
University of Huddersfield

Summary:
Many of the maternal ancestors of modern Ashkenazi Jews were European converts, according to new research. Analysis of DNA samples has shown that on the female line, the Ashkenazim are descended not from the Near East but from southern and western Europe.



As my Rabbi said "Do you think Indian Jews look the way they do from eating curry?"

People socialise. It's what we do as social creatures. There is only one race. The human race.

Yes, and let's not forget that we are all passengers and crew of a mutual spaceship sailing through the immensity of space. It behoves us to remember that and to ensure our ship is kept in good condition, that all aboard are well mannered and harmonious etc. Whether we care for it or not we are all heading to the same place aboard the SS Earth.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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