Jewish DNA Puzzle OR You Don’t Look Jewish
I love it when friends who totally disagree with me give me exactly what I need to make a point I have the feeling they will not like. A few days ago, a friend shared on Facebook the missing piece I needed to put together an article that has been swishing around my brain for a while without an axis around which to congel. The piece is the wonderful video about how nobody can claim to be pure of race today.
Well, perhaps there are people in some isolated places of the world whose DNA is 100% something, but I actually doubt it. Human beings are migratory and some migrate because they have to and others migrate because they are looking for adventure. And when we migrate we mingle our DNA with each other. You know, people just do that.
What is The DNA Journey Trying to Say?
This video is trying to help us reach world peace. It is doing so by trying to break down artificial barriers created by people believing they belong to a unique race that is different — translate that to mean better — than everyone else. It is trying to show us that all of us are more alike than we are different and that the lines that divide us are, genetically, quite simply dotted lines rather than solid.
You see in the video how some people react when they discover that their genes are not entirely made up of what they thought they were. It was fun to watch the British man who really doesn’t like Germans discovering that he is 5% German and to see the Icelandic man who thinks Icelanders are better than everyone else to find out that he has lots of other kinds of Europeans in his family tree, and to see the Cuban find out he has white Eastern European blood and the Kurdish woman learn that Turkish blood (we know how Kurds feel about Turks) runs through her own veins. What was most surprising to me about this video is that anyone was surprised.
Come to Israel and see red-headed Arabs and you know that somewhere along the line some Arabs slept with some Europeans, either with the benefit of holy matrimony or not. And this kind of thing is, of course, not specific to the Middle East.
In any case, world peace will not come any closer because people find out they are part this and part something they may hate and/or fear. After all, in Israel many Arabs and Jews call each other “cousin” because we do recognize that we are “family”. See how well being branches of the same family tree works? And many of us know situations in which family members haven’t talked to each other for years. Sometimes parents are estranged from children and sometimes siblings don’t want anything to do with each other; nobody is genetically closer to each other than siblings. Therefore common genetic origins have nothing to do with making peace.
And that brings me to my point – what is Jewish DNA?
There are some using the Khazar theory and the 4-European-mothers discovery to prove that European Jews are colonialists in Israel and, therefore, have no right to this country. Let’s ignore, for the sake of argument, the fact that 50% of the Israeli Jewish population is made up of Mizrachi Jews, OK? Just for the sake of argument – for looking at the contention that European Jews are not indigenous to Israel and that that is proven by genetics.
I think you would have a hard time finding anyone Jewish who believes that his or her DNA is proof of being 100% anything. Doesn’t everyone know Jewish families with members who converted to Judaism, or who married non-Jews who did not convert but the kids grew up Jewish? Of course we do. Converts, perhaps beginning with Ruth, have intermingled their DNA with ours since ancient times.
And we have the Ethiopian Jews, the Russian Jews, the Chinese Jews, the Indian (from India) Jews, and the just about anything else Jews. Jewish hair is frizzy and curly and straight and thin; Jewish eyes are blue and green and brown; Jewish skin is white and brown and black; Jews are naturally tall and naturally short, naturally stocky and naturally thin. There is nothing that can physically distinguish us, except perhaps for certain diseases that particularly attack Jews, Tay-Sachs Disease being only the best known of them (specific to Ashkenazi Jews).
Our claim of indigenous status on this land has nothing to do with racial purity. Indigenous status is not defined by DNA alone. And the extent to which our DNA shows that even Ashkenazi Jews originated in the Levant is still being argued in the population genetics research. I will be reviewing the empirical studies related to Ahkenazi Jewish DNA and posting what I learn from that here with you in future articles. You might find it as fascinating as I am. Stay tuned.
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Read More: Published 10 June 2016: To Khazaria & Back OR Who’s Afraid of Khazars?