Khazar = Ashkenazi Theory has no basis

The theory that Germanic speaking Jews were descendants of converted Turkic Khazars was popularized in 1976 by Arthur Koestler in his book “The Thirteenth Tribe.” It again was revived in 2008 with the publication of Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Both authors rely on the writings of Professor D. M. Dunlop of Columbia University, the most authoritative historian of the Khazar kingdom who used Arabic, Hebrew and Russian sources, as well as documents from the Cairo Geniza, to reconstruct the Khazars’ history. Dunlop’s conclusion that there is “little evidence to substantiate the theory” is the one important quote that Koestler, Sand and other proponents of this theory fail to mention!

In the 1950s and ’60s, Douglas Morton Dunlop was Professor of History at Columbia University in New York. He is best known for his influential histories of Arab civilization and the Khazar Khaganate. Dunlop was the “most esteemed scholar of the Khazar monarchy.” He had command of the many languages needed to study the Khazars, information about whom is found in Arabic, Byzantine, Hebrew and Chinese literature. []

None of the genetic studies of Ashkenazi Jews have detected evidence of a significant Central or East Asian genetic component which is present in other Turkic populations. The actual Khazars who remained Jewish after their conquest by the Rus’-Byzantine Christian alliance would likely have been assimilated by the Krymchaks (Crimean Jews) following the fall of the Khazars. Even so, the Krymchaks had a long history of assimilating other Jews who came to the Crimea, so their ancestry is still largely Levantine. [“Who Were The Krymchaks?”]

The Khazar state, at various times referred to as the Khazar Khaganate or Khazaria, was a Central Asian polity in the medieval era. Many Jews sought refuge from turmoil in the Persian and Eastern Roman Empires by emigrating to the Khazar region, and by the 10th century, it is estimated that there were about thirty thousand Jews living in Khazaria. [source] Around the 8th century, the Khazars’ ruling class converted to Judaism, and from then on they cultivated relations with diasporic Jewish communities across Europe and Asia until their fall in the 10th century.

Khazar history begins in the 7th century and the conversion of the Khazar nobility (not the lower classes) to Judaism was in the 8th century and lasted till the early 10th century. Ashkenazi history begins in along the Rhine River in Western Europe in the early 10th century quite separately from the Khazars in Eastern Europe. Khazaria was later invaded by the Rus’-Byzantine  Christian alliance in the early 10th century and most of the Khazars would have ended up converting to Christianity, or to Islam if they fled the war towards the Fertile Crescent.

Jewish-Khazars assimilated into the Krymchak (Crimean Jew) communities following the fall of the Khaganate and are not reported to have reached communities practising Ashkenazi (Germanic rite) Judaism – the Khazar nobility had been Mizrahi Jews, not Ashkenazi Jews.

The Khazar=Askenazi Theory has great appeal to neo-Nazis and Christian Zionists. If you google the two words “Khazar Ashkenazi”, beside some excellent Wikipedia and RationalWiki articles, you will see a plethora of disturbingly racist websites linking myths of Israelite bloodline purity with neo-Nazi and fundamentalist ideas. Some websites use this theory to assert that Palestinians trace closer bloodline than modern Jews with the ancient Israelites who conquered Canaan in the biblical story, and some theorize that the British / Aryan / insert-race-here are the REAL chosen people of the Bible, and enthusiastically claim that the Khazar=Askenazi Theory validates their beliefs.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is not about religion or bloodlines, it is about settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, justice and human rights! Nazis and religious extremists are not human rights activists!

In Canaan the Judeans were a separate culture and religion, but not a separate race from the other peoples of the Middle East. Palestinian Arabs share the same wide range of genes that Jews do. The Middle East, as a trading crossroad, has always been a melting pot of Asians, Europeans and Africans. Racial/racist theories relating to Jews and Palestinians are nonsense. This is NOT the basis of the conflict, and nor is it religion – ideological Zionism is at the basis of the conflict!

There is a popular view that the Israel-Palestine conflict is inevitable, too complicated for a practical solution to ever be found, which leads to resignation that it will just persist forever. This view is mistaken. There is a solution, which is for international law to be applied. This is the outcome that Israel and the US have fought so aggressively to prevent under the “peace process”, which is premised upon the rejection of the applicability of such treaties as the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions and, instead, elevates Israel’s wants over Palestinians’ rights. <source>


Extended Argument

The notion that almost the whole of contemporary Jewry from Russia, Poland, and the Baltic States, both religious and secular,originated from the Khazars, whose Khaganate was obliterated by a Rus’ and Byzantine military alliance in the 10th century, is utternonsense from many points of sensible research, but this unsubstantiated hypothesis is now widely disseminated, by bothneo-Nazis and anti-Nazis, and by both Zionists and ati-Zionists,primarily due the ingrained perspectives of people who have read either the 1976 book The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, a now well-known historiography of the Jewish people that heavily relies on Arthur Koestler’s book, published by Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, in his 2008 book in Modern Hebrew language, מתי ואיך הומצא העם היהודי?‎‎, Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?, literally When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, which was in the best-seller list in Israel for nineteen weeks.[Carlo Strenge. Shlomo Sand’s ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ is a success for Israel”. Retrieved 18 February 2014.]

Shlomo Sand began his work by looking for research studies about forcible exile of Jews from the area now bordered by modern Israel, and its surrounding regions. He was astonished that he could find no such literature, he says, given that the expulsion of Jews from the region is viewed as a constitutive event in Jewish history. The conclusion he came to from his subsequent investigation is that the expulsion simply did not happen, that no one exiled the Jewish people from the region, and that the Jewish diaspora is essentially a modern invention. He accounts for the appearance of millions of Jews around the Mediterranean and elsewhere as something that came about primarily through the religious conversion of local peoplesaying that Judaism, contrary to popular opinion, was very much a “converting religion” in former times. He holds that mass conversions were first brought about by the Hasmoneans under the influence of Hellenism, and continued until Christianity rose to dominance in the fourth century CE.[Ilani, Ofri (March 21, 2008). Shattering a ‘national mythology’”.Haaretz. Retrieved 18November 2009.]

Sand‘s claim that he could find no literature or research studies about forcible exile of Jews from the area now bordered by modern Israel and its surrounding regions is surprising. I’m not sure whether Sand dismisses ancient and medieval historical Roman, Greek, Arabic and Hebrew literature and both older and modernRussian historical literature but a quick look online obtains the following:

1., Josephus, The Jewish War; Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem StudiesFrom Pompey to the Destruction of the Second Temple (63 B.C.E.-70 C.E.);

2. (“After the Jewish defeat, Hadrian (the picture shows him killing a Jew) tried to root out Judaism. The prisoners were sold at Hebron and Gaza, each one at the price of a horse. He forbade the conquered to teach Mosaic law and to own scrolls. The province Judaea was renamed Palestine; Jerusalem was called Aelia Capitolina.”);

3. (The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of Judean communities, more so than the First Jewish–Roman War of 70 CE.The Jewish communities of Judea were devastated in events some scholars describe as a genocide.[Totten, S. Teaching about genocide: issues, approaches and resources. p24] According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews perished in the war and many more died of hunger and disease, while those who survived were sold into slavery. Up until this date the Bar Kokhba documents indicate that towns, villages and ports where Jews lived were busy with industry and activity. Afterwards there is an eerie silence, and the archaeological record testifies to little Jewish presence until the Byzantine era, in En Gedi. This picture coheres with what we have already determined in Part I of this study, that the crucial date for what can only be described as genocide, and the devastation of Jews and Judaism within central Judea, was 135 CE and not, as usually assumed, 70 CE, despite the siege of Jerusalem and the Temple’s destruction.” [Taylor, J. E. The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea. Oxford University Press.])

Despite the inability of Shlomo Sand to find (for him, convincing) evidence, the literature on the Jewish wars with the Romans, whether from Roman, Jewish, Islamic, ancient, medieval and modern sources agree that the defeat of the last Jewish revoltdramatically shifted Jewish life to the Jewish diaspora, as many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery, and the countryside towns-people, farmers and goat-herders gradually assumed the religions of conquering armies, and those remaining in Gaza, Samaria, Judea, and Galilee become Palestinians. Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, a sizeable portion of these were at Jewish hands and due to illnesses brought about by hunger. This situation of engineered chaotic depopulation is also typical of modern attempted genocides including those of the Armenians and Jews in the 20th century, and the continuing reconstitution of the population of Palestine-Israel with a Jewish majority.

Sand’s book was reprinted three times when published in French (Comment le peuple juif fut inventéFayard, Paris, 2008). In France, it received the “Prix Aujourd’hui”, a journalists’ award given to a non-fiction political or historical work.[Prix Aujourd’hui”. Prix 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-03-16.] (See also  Sela, Maya (March 12, 2009). Israeli wins French prize for book questioning origins of Jewish people”Haaretz. Retrieved 18 November 2009.

When published in English as The Invention of the Jewish People, English Edition (Verso Books, 2009) it received wild approbation from the Western media. (See Hastings, Max (November 15, 2009), The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand”, The Sunday Times. Retrieved November 29, 2009; Judt, Tony (2009-12-07), Israel Must Unpick Its Ethnic Myth”, The Financial Times. Retrieved 2010-03-07;

This highly contentious myth, that European Jews were supposedly direct descendants of a Turkic tribe on the south-eastern fringe of Europe, spread within a year to supposedly scientific studies in Jewish population genetics from June 2010, as the popular press reported on two studies in this field, (Atzmon et al., American Journal of Human Genetics and Beha et al., Nature – the originals unfortunately are not available online to non-subscribers.)

Thus, Newsweek mentions Sand’s book as having “revived” debate on the Khazar hypothesis.[ referring to Begley, Sharon (June 3, 2010). The DNA Of Abraham’s Children”, Newsweek, Retrieved 10June 2010.] and the New York Times said the studies “refute the suggestion made last year by the historian Shlomo Sand in his bookThe Invention of the Jewish People that Jews have no common origin but are a miscellany of people in Europe and Central Asia who converted to Judaism at various times.”[Wade, Nicholas (June 9, 2010). Studies Show Jews’ Genetic Similarity”. New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2010.]

Michael Balter, reviewing the study in the journal Science, says the following:

Shlomo Sand of Tel Aviv University in Israel argues in his book The Invention of the Jewish People, translated into English last year, that most modern Jews do not descend from the ancient Land of Israel but from groups that took on Jewish identities long afterward. (Unfortunately the study is not available online to non-subscribers.)

Nevertheless, the study by Ostrer‘s group concluded that all three Jewish groups—Middle Eastern, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi—share genomewide genetic markers that distinguish them from other worldwide populations.[Balter, Michael (June 3, 2010). Tracing the Roots of Jewishness”.Science (journal). Retrieved June 10, 2010.]

Ostrer said, “I would hope that these observations would put the idea that Jewishness is just a cultural construct to rest.” Balter’s article further cites Noah Rosenberg of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as saying that although the study “does not appear to support” the Khazar hypothesis, it “doesn’t entirely eliminate it either.”[Balter, Michael (June 3, 2010). Tracing the Roots of Jewishness”.Science (journal). Retrieved June 10, 2010.]

Shlomo Sand has contested the claim that his book has been contradicted by recent genetic research published in Nature journal and the American Journal of Human Genetics. In a new afterword for the paperback edition of The Invention of the Jewish People, Sand writes:

This attempt to justify Zionism through genetics is reminiscent of the procedures of late nineteenth-century anthropologists who very scientifically set out to discover the specific characteristics of Europeans. As of today, no study based on anonymous DNA samples has succeeded in identifying a genetic marker specific to Jews, and it is not likely that any study ever will. It is a bitter irony to see the descendants of Holocaust survivors set out to find a biological Jewish identity: Hitler would certainly have been very pleased! And it is all the more repulsive that this kind of research should be conducted in a state that has waged for years a declared policy of “Judaization of the country” in which even today a Jew is not allowed to marry a non-Jew.[Sand, Shlomo (2010-06-10). New York Times on Sand and Jewish Origins”. Retrieved 2010-07-05.]

Sand, Shlomo (2010-06-10). 

Another study on European Jewish population genetics was published in 2012 (Elhaik et al.). According to his study’s conclusions, European Jews derive from Caucasus and Mesopotamian populations.[][Aderet, Ofer (2012-12-28). The Jewish people’s ultimate treasure hunt – Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper”. Retrieved 2013-05-15][Eran Elhaik1,2. The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”. Retrieved 2013-05-15.]

On the publication of Elhaik’s study, Haaretz reported comments by Sand, who took Elhaik’s paper as a vindication of his ideas and seized the opportunity to criticize again “geneticists looking for Jewish genes”, expressing the suspicion that the findings of prior geneticists may have been “adapted” for political reasons.[Some people, historians and even scientists, turn a blind eye to the truth. Once to say Jews were a race was anti-Semitic, now to say they’re not a race is anti-Semitic. It’s crazy how history plays with us.”

Shlomo Sand cited Danielle Venton, Highlight: Out of Khazaria—Evidence for “Jewish Genome” Lacking,’ in Genome Biology and Evolution, Vol.5, Issue 1, 2013 pp.75-6.] As in historical research so in genetics, Sand argues: “It is very easy to showcase certain findings while marginalizing others and to present your study as scholarly research.” [Ofer Aderet, The Jewish people’s ultimate treasure hunt,’ at Haaretz, 28 December 2012.]

Some geneticists conducting studies in Jewish genetics have challenged Elhaik’s methods. Michael Hammer, a geneticist at the University of Arizona, called one of Elhaik’s underlying assumptions “unrealistic” and described Elhaik and other proponents of the Khazarian hypothesis as “outlier folks … who have a minority view that’s not supported scientifically.”[Rita Rubin, Jews a Race’ Genetic Theory Comes Under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert,’The Forward, 7 May 2013.]

Marcus Feldman, a geneticist at Stanford University and director of its Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, agrees: “If you take all of the careful genetic population analysis that has been done over the last 15 years, … there’s no doubt about the common Middle Eastern origin” of the Jewish people. [Rita Rubin, Jews a Race’ Genetic Theory Comes Under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert,’The Forward, 7 May 2013.]

Dan Graur, professor of molecular evolution at the University of Houston and Elihak’s doctoral supervisor, called Elhaik’s conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews originated in the Caucasus region and not the Middle East “a very honest estimate” and said that Elhaik “writes more provocatively than may be needed, but it’s his style.”[Rita Rubin, Jews a Race’ Genetic Theory Comes Under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert,’The Forward, 7 May 2013.]

Actually people all ethnicities and sects of the Greater Syria area generally say that most people of the Fertile Crescent, whatever their tribe, sect or religion, originated long ago in the Caucasus region. But also it is evident there are many people in the region have Mediterranean, African and Asian features.

The Amber Road from the Baltic Sea linked Syria to Italy. Thus Jewish trade in amber from what today is Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia (including Ukraine and Byelorussia), along the Amber Road to the Roman Empire and the Baltic, flourished from the fourth century. Jewish communities in these areas long preceded the conversion of Khazar nobility to Judaism!

The spread of Yiddish amongst Jews towards the east from southern Germany started in the thirteenth century (after developing in Bavaria from the 10th century.) It was in the 8th-9th centuries that the ruling elite of the Turkic Khazars chose Judaism to distance themselves from the Christians to the north and the Muslims to the south. The theory that Ashkenazi (i.e. German) Jews of Europe had their origin in Turkic refugees that had migrated from the collapsed Khazarian Khanate westward into the Rhineland is obvious nonsense. The clear historical evidence points to Jews moving eastward from Ashkenaz (Germany-Poland) not westward from Turkic Khazaria to Ahkenaz! Also the linguistic evidence is clear: Yiddish, which is a Germanic dialect that incorporated elements of Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages, and Romance languages, has NO Turkic influence AT ALL! Clearly Ahkenazim came from Ashkenaz (Germany-Poland-Galicia) and then migrated eastward, not the other way around!

The Jewish traders migrating along the Amber Road generally took non-Jewish wives and converted them, teaching them Jewish customs, but whole families and communities of Jews followed on the trade routes along waterways, especially the Rhine, during the eighth and ninth centuries.

The descendants of the Scythians include Thracians, Illyrians, and Dacians, who over time became the present day Slavs. The Turkic Bulgars became sedentary during the 7th century in the Caspian steppe, establishing the khanate of Old Great Bulgaria c. 632 AD. However it was absorbed by the Khazar Empire in 668 AD. In c. 679 AD the Turkic Khan Asparukh conquered Scythia Minor from the Khazars and established the First Bulgarian Empire, which had, like Khazaria, a mainly Slavic population. Both Huns and Khazars, together with the Slavic speaking descendants of the Scythians (Thracians, Illyrians, and Dacians) became the Bulgarian Slavic people south of the Danube. The notion that almost the whole of the contemporary Jewry from Russia, Poland, the Baltic States originated from the Khazars is nonsense. Jews of definitely Semitic origin have lived in Bulgaria for at least 1000 years and in Poland for 1600 years! While many Jews came to Bulgaria from Spain escaping the Inquisition at the end of 15th century AD, most of the Ashkenazic Jews settled in Bulgaria by the end of 19th century AD, when the country was liberated from Ottoman rule.

Jews, Like the Palestinians have genetic inheritance from all the conquering tribes of the Middle East as well as from all the areas they have dwelt in and migrated through – there is no such thing as a “prominent Khazar gene”.

The clear historical record of Arab, Jewish and European historians traces Jewish migration from the Middle East to Europe via the Roman roads, in particular the Amber Road along which Jews settled in every city all the way to Central Europe, and the Western Road up the Roman Peninsula and over the Alps to France (from where later persecution pushed the English and French Jews eastward to join up with the Ashkenazic Jews of Central Europe. There is NO such historical record or clear archaeological record of major Jewish migration going westward from Central Asia to Eastern Europe. All evidence points in the opposite direction.

Mizrahi is Hebrew for “easterners” and Jews from Yemen, Iraq and countries further east like India and China are called Mizrahim. Jews from Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and North Africa are called Sephardim because their religious customs differ from those of the Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. Sepharad is the Hebrew word for Spain and at the time of the Spanish inquisition Jews and Moors had to leave Spain and settled all around the Mediterranean Sea. Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for Central Europe and Ashkenazic Judaism developed in Europe different religious customs and literature from the Mediterranean and eastern Jews.

The words Sepharad and Ashkenaz are place names mentioned in the Hebrew version of the Five Books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament of the Bible, whereas the word Khazar is a Turkic word and it was in the early 9th century, along the Danube River of Eastern Europe, the nobility of Khazaria converted to Judaism. By sheer coincidence Ashkenazi history begins in the late 9th century, although along the Rhine River of West-central Europe, when Jews expelled from England and France settled amongst the Jews of southern Germany and started developing a dialect of Bavarian German with Anglo-Saxon-style simplified grammar, mixing in words from Hebrew, Aramaic, Romance and finally Slavic languages as Yiddish culture gradually migrated from central Europe (Ashkenaz) into eastern Europe (the Pale of Jewish Settlement bridging Germanic and Slavic Europe).

The distinctive Jewish culture in Central Europe came to be calledאַשכּנזי Ashkenazi, from אַשכּנז Ashkenaz (Genesis 10:3). Ashkenaz was centered on the Rhineland and the Palatinate (notably Wormsand Speyer), in what is now the westernmost part of Germany. Its geographic extent did not coincide with the German principalities of the time, and it included northern France. Ashkenaz bordered on the area inhabited by another distinctive Jewish cultural group, theSephardim or Spanish Jews, which ranged into southern France(and later encompassed the whole Mediterranean area). Ashkenazi culture later spread into Eastern Europe with large-scale population migrations. Nothing is known with certainty about thevernacular of the earliest Jews in Germany, but several theories have been put forward.

The first language of Ashkenazi Jews may have been Aramaic, the vernacular of the Jews in Roman-era Judea and ancient and early medieval Mesopotamia. The widespread use of Aramaic among the large non-Jewish Syrian trading population of the Roman provinces, including those in Europe, would have reinforced the use of Aramaic among Jews engaged in trade. In Roman times, many of the Jews living in Rome and Southern Italy appear to have beenGreek-speakers, and this is reflected in some Ashkenazi personal names (e.g., Kalonymus). Hebrew, on the other hand, was regarded as a holy language reserved for ritual and spiritual purposes and not for common use. Much work needs to be done, though, to fully analyze the contributions of those languages to Yiddish.[]

It is generally accepted that early Yiddish was likely to have contained elements from other languages of the Near East and Europe, absorbed through migrations. Since some settlers may have come via France and Italy, it is also likely that the Romance-based Jewish languages of those regions were represented. Traces remain in the contemporary Yiddish vocabulary: for example,בענטשן (bentshn, to bless), from the Latin benedicereלייענען(leyenen, to read), from the Latin legere; and the personal namesאַנשל Anshl, cognate to Angel or Angelo; בונים Bunim (probably from “bon homme”). Western Yiddish includes additional words of Latin derivation (but still very few): for example, אָרן orn (to pray), cf. Latin and Italian “orare”.[]

The Jewish community in the Rhineland would have encountered the many dialects from which standard German would emerge a few centuries later. In time, Jewish communities would have been speaking their own versions of these German dialects, mixed with linguistic elements that they themselves brought into the region. Although not reflected in the spoken language, a main point of difference was the use of the Hebrew alphabet for the recording of the Germanic vernacular, which may have been adopted either because of the community’s familiarity with the alphabet or to prevent the non-Jewish population from understanding the correspondence. In addition, there was probably widespread illiteracy in the non-Hebrew script, with the level of illiteracy in the non-Jewish communities being even higher. Another point of difference was the use of Hebrew and Aramaic words. These words and terms were used because of their familiarity, but more so because in most cases there were no equivalent terms in the vernacular which could express the Jewish concepts or describe the objects of cultural significance.[]

There are no words of Ashkenazi Yiddish I am aware of that were borrowed from Turkic languages, which should have been an indication to both Arthur Koestler and Shlomo Sand that their hypothesis might have serious flaws.

Arthur Koestler was a member of the Communist Party of Germany prior to World War II, but after the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 he became a Herut Beitari (Jabotinsky party Herut) radical Zionist and he ran the Secretariat of Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Zionist Revisionist Party in Berlin which had close links with the Nazi Party in Germany and the Fascist Parties in Italy and Spain.

Koestler’s official biography, written by Michael Scammell, specifically quotes him on why he wrote “The Thirteenth Tribe.”His argument was that if he could persuade people that a non-Jewish “Khazar” heritage formed the basis of modern Jews, then this would be a weapon against European racially based anti-Semitism.“Should this theory be confirmed, the term ‘anti-Semitism’ would become void of meaning,” he said. According to Scammell, Koestler told French biologist Pierre Debray-Ritzen he“was convinced that if he could prove that the bulk of Eastern European Jews were descended from the Khazars, the racial basis for anti-Semitism would be removed and anti-Semitism itself could disappear.” (Source: Scammell, Michael. Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, Random House, 2009, ISBN 978-0-394-57630-5, p. 546.)

Arthur Koestler thought that by establishing Khazar descendance rather than from the Jews of Jesus’s time and area, the “Christ-Killer” accusations would end and Antisemitism would disappear. [Michael Scammell Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic Random House, 2009, p. 546]

There is no great logic to Koestler’s statement that anti-Semitism would disappear if Europeans thought that the Jews of Europe were more closely related to Turks than to Palestinians and other Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean peoples, but there is plenty of evidence that members of the radical Zionist Revisionist Party in Berlin were highly racist and generally agreed with the Nazis that Jews should be separated from non-Jews and forcibly transported to Madagascar according to early Nazi propositions, or forcibly transported to Palestine according to proposals of the radical Zionist Revisionist Party in Berlin to the Nazi Party.

I have marked off with dotted lines the following extract fromZionism in the Age of the Dictatorsby LENNI BRENNER, 24FEB 2014


When Menachem Begin retired and Yitzhak Shamir became Israel’s 2nd Likud Prime Minister, I had a Palestinian English-language weekly publish a translation of his 1940-41 outfit’s offer to go to war on Hitler’s side. An Israeli newspaper questioned him about it. I went on to London and there, in the 21 October Times, was the PM’s lie:

Shamir… denied that he had any part in the efforts by Mr. Abraham Stern… to establish contact with the Nazis and Italian Fascists.

There was a plan to turn to Italy for help and to make contact with Germany on the assumption that these could bring about a massive Jewish immigration to Palestine. I opposed this… but I did join Lehi after the idea of contacts with the Axis countries was dropped.’”

The “Proposal of the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany” was found post-war in Germany’s Turkish embassy.

The Sternists declared that

The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.

Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”

I went to The Times with the German original, the translation and a letter. “You sure didn’t make this up in German!” My letter appeared on 4 November:

Away from my files, I cannot be certain exactly when in 1940 Shamir joined the group. But in any case, isn’t he confessing that he knowingly joined an organization of traitors which had offered to ally itself to the archenemy of the Jews? Nor can there be any doubt that he joined up with Stern before December 1941, when the Sternists tried to send Nathan Yallin-Mor to Turkey to contact the German ambassador there with the same proposal.”

I relocated evidence that Shamir was a ‘Stern Gang’ founder and presented it to The Times. He organized their 1944 assassination of  Britain’s Middle East High Commissioner in Cairo. In 1963, Gerold Frank published The Deed about it.

Stern split off from David Raziel’s Irgun in September 1940. Frank wrote up a meeting where “Yizernitsky” (Shamir’s born-name)….“spoke tersely, summing up the reason, behind Stern’s decision decision to walk out of the Irgun.” One of the assassins “could not forget Yizernitsky’s ‘fire and powder’ remark in the days immediately following the Raziel-Stern split.”

This led to Edward Mortimer reviewing the book in the 11 February 1984 Times:

Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that “each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorders in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews”?

No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel….

It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to offer to join the war on Germany’s side in 1941, in the hope of establishing “the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich.” Unfortunately this was the group which the present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join….

Indeed the Stern Gang weren’t the only Zionist collaborators. On June 21, 1933 the Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutschland, the German Zionist Federation, appealed to the Nazis:

May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening…. because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group….

For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews…. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.”

The WZO made the Ha’ Avara (Transfer) agreement in 1933. The Nazis ‘taxed’ money leaving Germany, but the rate was lowest for German Zionists buying Nazi goods which the WZO sold in Palestine and the Middle East. In 1935 Weizmann explained that the WZO “should concern ourselves with the constructive solution of the German question through the transfer of the Jewish youth from Germany to Palestine, rather than with the question of equal rights of Jews in Germany.”

The WZO opposed anti-Nazi boycott movements. Fritz Reichart, the Gestapo’s Palestine agent, wrote to his headquarters:

The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv be- cause the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany.”

The ZVfD asked Baron von Mildenstein of the Nazi SS elite corp to write pro-Zionist articles in the Nazi press. He visited Palestine for six months as the ZVfD’s guest and wrote 12 articles forDer Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ, about how Jewish soil under a Jew’s feet “reformed him and his kind in a decade. This new Jew will be a new people.”

To commemorate the Baron’s expedition, Propaganda Minister Goebbels had a medal struck: the Zionist star and EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA — A Nazi Travels to Palestine — on one side, the swastika UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff — And tells about it in Angriff — on the other.

The medal is on the front cover of the new edition of my book.

(The above is an extract from Zionism in the Age of the Dictatorsby LENNI BRENNER, 24 FEB 2014, provided here to show the viewpoint relating to anti-Semitism of radical Zionists like Arthur Koestler, who wrote The Thirteenth Tribe.)



The Krymchaks were a Jewish ethno-religious group closely related to the Khazars:

The Krymchaks (Krymchak: sg. кърымчах – qrımçax, pl.кърымчахлар – qrımçaxlar) are Jewish ethno-religious communities of Crimea derived from Turkic-speakingadherents of Orthodox Judaism.[See Krymchaks at theEncyclopedia of Ukraine] The Krymchaks have historically lived in close proximity to the Turkic Karaites who followJudaism (Karaite Judaism) which is not recognised by Orthodox Judaism as normative modern Judaism as they reject the authority of the Talmud.

At first krymchak was a Russian descriptive used to differentiate them from their Ashkenazi Jewishcoreligionists, as well as other Jewish communities in the former Russian Empire such as the Georgian Jews, but in the second half of the 19th century this name was adopted by the Krymchaks themselves. Before this their self-designation was “Срель балалары” (Srel balalary) – literally “Children of Israel”. The Crimean Tatars referred to them as zuluflı çufutlar (“Jews with pe’ot” – pe’ot are strands of hair growing from the sideburns as it is forbidden for them to put a razor to the face) to distinguish them from the Karaites, who were called zulufsız çufutlar(“Jews without pe’ot”).

Krymchaks are probably partially descended from Jewish refugees who settled along the Black Sea in ancient times. (As with every other groups descended from Jewish settlement, in Europe their gene pool is widely mixed with intermarriage with other “wandering Jews” – i.e. Jews, both male and female, fleeing from areas of persecution, war and famine, or Jews trading along the great ancient trade routes. And the gene pool of such “wandering Jews” over millenia was heavily added to with the genes of non-Jewish, mostly female converts, from every area where Jews have resided, taken as wives by Jewish traders and guildsmen negotiating with non-Jewish traders and guildsmen all over the world.)

Jewish communities existed in many of the Greek coloniesin the Black Sea region during the late classic period. Recently excavated inscriptions in Crimea have revealed a Jewish presence at least as early as the 1st century BCE. In some Crimean towns, monotheistic pagan cults calledsebomenoi theon hypsiston (“Worshippers of the All-Highest God”, or “God-Fearers“) existed. These quasi-proselytes kept the Jewish commandments but remained uncircumcised and retained certain pagan customs. Eventually, these sects disappeared as their members adopted either Christianity or normative Judaism. Another version (of Krymchak history is) that after the suppression of the Bar Kokhba’s revolt (in the Roman province of Judeain 132-135 C.E.), by the emperor Hadrian those Jews who were not executed were exiled to the Crimean peninsula.

The late classical era saw great upheaval in the region as Crimea was occupied by GothsHunsBulgarsKhazars and other peoples. Jewish merchants such as the Radhanitesbegan to develop extensive contacts in the Pontic (Black Sea) region during this period, and probably maintained close relations with the proto-Krymchak communities. Khazar dominance of Crimea during the early Middle Ages is considered to have at least a partial impact on the Krymchak demographics.

In the late 7th century most of Crimea fell to the Khazars. The extent to which the Krymchaks influenced the ultimate conversion of the Khazars and the development of Khazar Judaism is unknown as the monumental historical chronicle, “Dewar sefataim”, literally “Utterance the mouth” but meaning in Hebrew “(Recording) Oral History”(of the history of the Crimean Khanate/Khaganate/Kingdom) commences with Khazar rule and offers scant information about the Jewish groups living there before Khazar rule.

During the period of Khazar rule, intermarriage between Crimean Jews and Khazars is likely, and the Krymchaks probably absorbed numerous Khazar refugees during the decline and fall of the Khazar kingdom. A Khazar successor state, ruled by Georgius Tzul, was centered on Kerchone of the most ancient cities in Crimea. Russian, Hebrew and Arabic historians record that Kipchak converts to Judaism existed, and it is possible that from these converts the Krymchaks adopted their distinctive language.(The Kipchaks were a Turkic nomadic tribe originally from the Kimek Khanate, they conquered large parts of theEurasian steppe during the Turkic expansion of the 11th and 12th centuries together with the Cumans, and were in turn conquered by the Mongol invasions of the early 13th century. The Cuman-Kipchak confederation was a predecessor of the Kazakh Khanate and, later, modern-dayKazakhstan.)

The Mongol conquerors of the Pontic (Black Sea) region were promoters of religious freedom, and the Genoeseoccupation of the southern Crimea (1315–1475) saw rising degrees of Jewish settlement in the region. The Jewish community was divided among those who prayed according to the Sephardi/Sephardic tradition (i.e. Sephardim) who had migrated north-eastward from the Mediterranean via the Fertile Crescent along with Mizrahi Jews from Iraq and Iran, the Ashkenazi/Ashkenazic tradition (i.e. Sephardimwho had migrated eastward from Germany’s Rhineland), and the Romaniote rites (of Jewish communities speakingYevanic, a Greek dialect who have lived in Greece and neighboring areas for more than 2,000 years – Yevan is the Hebrew word for Greece, so they are called Yevani Jews or Yevanim in Hebrew). Only in 1515 were the different styles united into a distinctive Krymchak rite by Rabbi Moshe Ha-Golah, a Chief Rabbi of Kiev who had settled in Crimea.[Ueber das Maḥsor nach Ritus Kaffa. (On the Kievan Rites)Isaac Markon, 1909.]

In the 18th century the Krymchak community was headed by David Ben Karasubazar Lehno Eliezer (d. 1735), author of the introduction of the “ritual prayer book Kaffa” (“Kaffa” means “Kiev, Kievan” ) and the works of “Mishkan David” (“Abode of David”), devoted to grammar of Hebrew. He is also the author of the monumental historical chronicle “Dewar sefataim” (lil. “Utterance the mouth”, meaning “Oral History”) in Hebrew on the history of the Crimean Khanate/Khaganate.

The following is from

The Khazars (Turkish: Hazar-lar, Hebrew: כוזרים (Kuzarim), Arabic: خزر‎‎ (khazar), Ukrainian: Хоза́ри, Russian: Хаза́ры, Tatar: Xäzärlär, Persian: خزر‎‎, Greek: Χάζαροι, Latin: Gazari/Cosri/Gasani) were a semi-nomadic Turkic people, who created what for its duration was the most powerful polity to emerge from the breakup of the western Turkish steppe empire, known as the Khazar Khanate or Khazaria.[Sneath, David (2007). The Headless State: Aristocratic Orders, Kinship Society, and Misrepresentations of Nomadic Inner AsiaColumbia University Press.ISBN 978-0-231-51167-4. Retrieved 9 March 2014.]

Sneath, David (2007). 

Astride a major artery of commerce between northern Europe and southwestern Asia, Khazaria became one of the foremost trading emporia of the medieval world, commanding the western marches of the Silk Road and playing a key commercial role as a crossroad betweenChina, the Middle East and Kievan Rus’[Noonan, Thomas S. (1999), “European Russia c500-c1050”, In Reuter, Timothy;McKitterick, Rosamond, The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 3, C.900-c.1024 3. Cambridge University Press. pp. 485–534. ISBN 978-0-521-36447-8. Retrieved 4 August 2013.][Golden, Peter Benjamin (2011),Central Asia in World History, New Oxford World History,Oxford University PressISBN 978-0-19-979317-4. Retrieved 16 October 2013.]

Noonan, Thomas S.

For some three centuries (c. 650–965) the Khazars dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppes to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus.[Noonan, Thomas S. (1999), “European Russia c500-c1050”, In Reuter, Timothy;McKitterick, Rosamond, The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 3, C.900-c.10243. Cambridge University Press. pp. 485–534. ISBN 978-0-521-36447-8. Retrieved 4 August 2013.]

[Noonan, Thomas S.

Khazaria long served as a buffer state between theByzantine empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad empire, after serving as Byzantium’s proxy against the Sasanian Persian empire. The alliance was dropped around 900. Byzantium began to encourage the Alansan Iranian nomadic pastoral people ofantiquity, to attack Khazaria and weaken its hold on Crimea and the Caucasus, while seeking to obtain an entente with the rising Rus’ power to the north, which it aspired to convert to Christianity.[Golden, Peter B. (2007a), Khazar Studies: Achievements and Perspectives” in [Golden, Peter Benjamin (2011), Central Asia in World History, New Oxford World History, Oxford University PressISBN 978-0-19-979317-4. Retrieved 16 October 2013.] Between 965 and 969, the Kievan Rus’ ruler Sviatoslav I of Kievconquered the capital Atil and destroyed the Khazar state.(Atil in Turkish is İtil; cf. Chinese阿得/阿得水 A-de Shui), literally meaning “Big River”, was the capital of Khazariafrom the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century. The word İtil is also a Turkic name for the Volga River.

Golden, Peter B.

Originally, the Khazars were pagan Tengrist worshippers.Tengrism (also called Tengriism or Tengrianism) is aCentral Asian religion characterized by features ofshamanismanimismtotemism, both polytheism andmonotheism, and ancestor worship. [R. Meserve, Religions in the central Asian environment, in: History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume IV, The age of achievement: A.D. 750 to the end of the fifteenth century, Part Two: The achievements, p. 68: “[…] The ‘imperial’ religion was more monotheistic, centred around the all-powerful god Tengri, the sky god.“; Michael Fergus, Janar Jandosova, Kazakhstan: Coming of Age, Stacey International, 2003, p.91: “[…] a profound combination of monotheism and polytheism that has come to be known as Tengrism.“; H. B. Paksoy, Tengri in Eurasia, 2008; Napil Bazylkhan, Kenje Torlanbaeva in: Central Eurasian Studies Society, Central Eurasian Studies Society, 2004, p.40]

Historically, Tengrism was the prevailing religion of theTurksMongols, and Hungarians, as well as the Xiongnuand the Huns.[“There is no doubt that between the 6th and 9th centuries Tengrism was the religion among the nomads of the steppes” Yazar András Róna-Tas, Hungarians and Europe in the early Middle Ages: an introduction to early Hungarian history, Yayıncı Central European University Press, 1999, ISBN 978-963-9116-48-1p. 151Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early… – András Róna-Tas. Retrieved 2013-02-19.] It was the state religion of the five ancient Turkic states: Göktürk Khaganate,Western Turkic KhaganateGreat Bulgaria,Bulgarian Empire and Khazaria. In Irk Bitig, Tengri is mentioned asTürük Tängrisi (God of Turks).[Jean-Paul Roux, Die alttürkische Mythologie, p. 255] The term has been perceived among Turkic peoples as a nationalreligion.)

Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early… – András Róna-Tas

The populace of the Khazar Khaganate appears to have been multi-confessional—a mosaic of pagan, Tengrist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers.[Robert Dankoff (2008), From Mahmud Kaşgari to Evliya Çelebi, Isis Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-975-428-366-2.]

Judah Halevi (also Yehuda Halevi or Judah ben Shmuel Halevi, 1075 – 1141, Spanish Jewish physician, poet andphilosopherand Abraham ibn Daud (also known by theabbreviation Rabad I or Ravad I 1110 – 1180, Spanish-Jewish astronomerhistorian, and philosopher) wrote that the ruling elite of the Khazars was said by to have converted to Rabbinic Judaism in the 8th century [Golden, Peter B. (2007a), Khazar Studies: Achievements and Perspectives”, in Golden, Peter B.; Ben-Shammai, Haggai; Róna-Tas, András, The World of the Khazars: New Perspectives. Handbook of Oriental Studies 17. BRILL. pp. 7–57.ISBN 978-90-04-16042-2. Retrieved 13 Feb 2013.]

Golden, Peter B.

The scope of the conversion within the Khazar Khanateremains uncertain, and the evidence used to tie the Ashkenazi communities to the Khazars is exiguous and subject to conflicting interpretations. [Aderet, Ofer (26 June 2014), Jews are not descended from Khazars, Hebrew University historian says”, Haaretz, Retrieved 1 Oct 2014; Behar, Doron M.; Metspalu, Mait; Baran, Yael; Kopelman, Naama M.; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Gladstein, Ariella; Tzur, Shay; Sahakyan, Havhannes; Bahmanimehr, Ardeshir; Yepiskoposyan, Levon; Tambets, Kristiina; Khusnutdinova, Elza K.; Kusniarevich, Aljona; Balanovsky, Oleg; Balanovsky, Elena; Kovacevic, Lejla; Marjanovic, Damir; Mihailov, Evelin; Kouvatsi, Anastasia; Traintaphyllidis, Costas; King, Roy J.; Semino, Ornella; Torroni, Antonio; Hammer, Michael F.; Metspalu, Ene; Skorecki, Karl; Rosset, Saharon; Halperin, Eran; Villems, Richard; Rosenberg, Noah A. (2013), No Evidence from Genome-Wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews” in Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints (Wayne State University; Singerman, Robert (2004), Contemporary Racist and Judeophobic Ideology Discovers the Khazars, or, Who Really Are the Jews?” (PDF), Rosaline and Myer Feinstein Lecture Series 2004, Final version at]

Aderet, Ofer (26 June 2014), 

Proposals of Khazar origins have been made regarding theSlavic-Judaising Subbotniks, the Bukharan Jews, the Muslim KumyksKazakhs, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites to the Moldavian Csángós, theMountain Jews and others.[Birgit Scholz, Von der Chronistik zur modernen Geschichtswissenschaft: die Warägerfrage in der russischen, deutschen und schwedischen Historiographie, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2000 pp.13-14; Vilhelm Thomsen|Vilhelm Ludvig Peter Thomsen, The Relations Between Ancient Russia and Scandinavia, and the Origin of the Russian State: Three Lectures Delivered at the Taylor Institution, Oxford, in May, 1876, Cambridge University Press, reprint 2010 p.16.]

In the late 19th century, a theory emerged that the core of today’s Ashkenazi Jewry are genetically descended from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora who had migrated westward from modern Russia and Ukraine into modern France and Germany. This theory still finds occasional support, but most scholars view it with skepticism.[Mikhail Kizilov, National Inventions: The Imperial Emancipation of the Karaites from Jewishness,’ in Roland Cvetkovski, Alexis Hofmeister (eds.),An Empire of Others: Creating Ethnographic Knowledge in Imperial Russia and the USSR,Central European University Press, 2014 pp.369-393 p.399, citing Karl NeumannDie Völker des südlichen Russlands in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, (1847) 2nd ed.Teubner 1855 pp.125-6: ‘Die Chasaren verschwinden nun als gebietende Horde aus der Geschichte, aber ihr Name hat sich, wie bekannt, in den Ländern und an den Meeren, wo sie ehemals herrschten, noch Jahrhunderte lang und zum Theil bis auf den heutigen Tag erhalten. Auch ist ja die Masse des Volkes von dem Jaik bis zur Donau immerdar dieselbe geblieben; es haben die Chasaren nur die Herrschaft verloren, welche auf andere Türken überging, auf Petschenegen, Usen und Komanen. Reste dieses Volkes, namentlich der zum Mosaismus sich bekennenden Abtheilung, sind die Karaim im südlichen Russland und den ehemaligen polnischen Ländern, welche türkisch sprechen undauch in Körpergestalt und Gesichtszügen den Türken gleichen. Von der Krim aus mögen auch zuerst die Juden, welche, wie wir wissen, so zahlreich waren im Reiche der Chasaren, nach Russland und Polen gewandert sein.’;Rossman 2002, p. 98: Abraham Harkavy, O iazike evreev, zhivshikh v drevnee vremia na Rusi i o slavianskikh slovakh, vstrechaiuschikhsia u evreiskikh pisatelei, St. Petersburg.]

The theory is sometimes associated with antisemitism andanti-Zionism (but sometimes also associated with philo-Semitism and Zionism).

According to various sources the majority of the small Khaganate upper class may have gone to Hungary, Polandand the Crimea, mingling with Jews in those areas and with later waves of Jewish immigrants from the west. Other sources claim some sought sanctuary with the lower classes, especially prior servants, and eventually converted to the religion of the invading armies. Some sources note the presence of Turkic Hazar peoples over a wide area of the Fertile Crescent in Islamic countries, and a few instances confuse the Turkic Hazar with the Hazara of Afghanistan, who speak Hazaragi, a dialect of the Persian language.


In 969 AD, Sviatoslav I of Kiev sacked Itil (Turk. Itil, Rus. Atil), the capital of the Khazar Khaganate. Khazar successor states appear to have survived in the Caucasusand around the Black Sea. But there is historic record oftwo later Khazar rulers:

Georgius Tzul was captured by a joint Rus’Byzantineexpedition and his state was destroyed. Shortly thereafter, the Kipchaks became masters of the Pontic steppe near the Black Sea. (see Cumans). However, there continue to be tantalizing references, in Muslim sources, of battles against “Khazars” in the Caucasus well into the late 11th century. Whether Khazar states continued to survive or their name was used generically to describe Caucasian highlanders is unclear.

Both Islamic and Jewish historical references often do not distinguish between Khazars, Hazar-lar, Tartars, “Mountain Jews” of the Caucasus, Karaites and Circassians. Russian historians record that the vast majority of the population of the Khazar Khaganate had little actual contact with the Jewish Khagans and so the populace of the Khazar Khaganate (which was multi-confessional—a mosaic of pagan, Tengrist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers) was easily absorbed into the strongly proseletizing Christian Byzantine empire and the nascent Rus’ (Russian Orthodox ruled) empire.

Islamic and Jewish historical references scantily record small numbers of “Khazar” refugees arriving in the 10th Century Messopotamia, Iran, Palestine and other areas of al-Shaam (the province of Greater Syria) after the destruction of the capital of the Khazar Khaganate in the 10th Century· Lake Hazar and the Hazar mountains in Turkey are names recording the of people the Turks considered to be Khazar (or “Hazar” in Turkish and Persian). Hazar village in Kerman Province of Iran; andHazar city, located on the Cheleken Peninsula of the Caspian Sea in the Balkan Province of western Turkmenistan, also attest to the possible spread of Khazar culture.

So the fate of the Jewish Khazars is unclear. Jewish travelers of the 12th century continue to refer to them in passing. Khazar Jews (or Jews claiming descent from the Khazar nobility) are known to have lived in Kiev and to have emigrated to Spain, the Byzantine Empire and other parts of the Fertile Crescent: Syria, Palestine, Iraq(including Upper Mesopotamia/Assyria/Kurdistan and partsof the Syrian Desert and Arabian Desertand Iran.

Note: Ethnic Persians account for roughly half the population of Iran and the remaining half is comprised of ethnic Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs and Baluch. The Azerbaijanis are the largest minority, accounting for a third of the population. Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei is an ethnic Azerbaijani, as is opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Ethnic minorities pose a particular security problem for Iran as they primarily live in the border regions and many share ties with members of their ethnic communities in neighboring states, including Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan. Iran’s domestic makeup affects its foreign relations with most of its neighbors.< debate/2013/12/16/iran-more-than-persia/>

The desire to undermine the security of Iran and Russia is one of several reasons for an apparent covert Zionist and Neo-conservative promotion of the Khazar=Ashkenazi Theory. American diplomat Victoria Nuland, who serves as Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Barack Obama administration, whose husband is historian Robert Kagan, co-founder of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, negotiated with neo-Nazis in the Kagan-Nuland inspired and US State Department funded Ukrainian coup / “regime change” in early 2014,without disputing with the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, and the US State Department funded coup support groups in the Ukraine, any of their neo-Nazi theories linking the name Kagan with Khagan = rulers-from-Khazaria (and supposedly = Askenazi-Jews). As a result even anti-Nazi groups in the Ukraine and elsewhere can be observed associating the Hebrew word “Ashkenazi” with the English word Nazi, a shortened form for National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), and can be observed associating the Turkic/Jewish name Kagan with the Khazarian Khaganate and simultaneously with the Hebrew word Ashkenazi.

(Kağan; Persian: خاقان‎‎, Khāqān, alternatively spelled Kagan, Khaghan, Kha-khan, Xagahn, Qaghan, Chagan, Қан, or Kha’an) is a title in the Mongolian language equal to the status of emperor and used to refer to someone who rules a khaganate or empire. The title was adopted by Ögedei Khan from the Turkic title kaɣan. In modern Mongolian, the title became Khaan with the ‘g’ sound becoming almost silent or non-existent; the ğ in modern Turkish Kağan is also silent. Since the division of the Mongol Empire, emperors of the Yuan dynasty held the title of Khagan and their successors in Mongolia continued to have the title. Kağan and Kaan are common Turkish names in Turkey and some Sephardic Jews have this name. Observe the irony of neo-Nazis believing that holders of a Sephardic Jewish name are covert emperors of all the Ashkenazi Jews!)



Yiddish (ייִדישיידיש or אידיש, yidish/idish, literally “Jewish“; in older sources ייִדישטײַטש Yiddish-Taitsh” (English:Judaeo-German)[University of Manchester – “It was only in this context that Jews began to refer to their language as ‘Yiddish’ (= ‘Jewish’), while earlier it had been referred to as ‘Yiddish-Taitsh’ (=’Judeo-German’).”]) is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century and developed in the 10th century in Central Europe [Jacobs, Neil G. (2005). Yiddish: a Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p.2.ISBN 0-521-77215-X.], providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with an extensive Germanic based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages.[Baumgarten, Jean; Frakes, Jerold C. (1 June 2005), Introduction to Old Yiddish literature, Oxford University Press, p. 72.][Development of Yiddish over the ages”.] Yiddish is written with a fully vocalized alphabet based on the Hebrew script.

Baumgarten, Jean; Frakes, Jerold C. (1 June 2005), 

The earliest surviving references date from the 12th century and call the language לשון־אַשכּנז (loshn-ashknaz = “language of Ashkenaz”) or טײַטש (taytsh), a variant oftiutsch, the contemporary name for Middle High German. Colloquially, the language is sometimes called מאַמע־לשון(mame-loshn, literally “mother tongue”), distinguishing it from לשון־קדש (loshn-koydesh, meaning “holy tongue” inHebrew). The term “Yiddish”, short for “Yiddish-Teitsch” (Jewish German), did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature until the 18th century. In the late 19th and into the 20th century the language was more commonly called “Jewish”, especially in non-Jewish contexts, but “Yiddish” is again the more common designation.

Modern Yiddish has two major forms. Eastern Yiddish is far more common today. It includes Southeastern (Ukrainian–Romanian), Mideastern (Polish–Galician–Eastern Hungarian), and Northeastern (Lithuanian–Belarusian) dialects. Eastern Yiddish differs from Western both by its far greater size and by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin. Western Yiddish is divided into Southwestern (Swiss–Alsatian–Southern German), Midwestern (Central German), and Northwestern (Netherlandic–Northern German) dialects. Yiddish is used in a large number ofOrthodox Jewish communities worldwide and is the first language of the home, school, and in many social settings among most Haredi Jews, and is used in Hasidic and Lithuanian Yeshivas (Schools of Jewish learning).

The term Yiddish is also used in the adjectival sense, synonymously with Jewish, to designate attributes of Ashkenazi culture (for example, Yiddish cooking andYiddish music).[Oscar Levant described Cole Porter‘s ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy” as “one of the most Yiddish tunes ever written” despite the fact that “Cole Porter’s genetic background was completely alien to any Jewishness.” Oscar Levant,The Unimportance of Being Oscar, Pocket Books 1969 (reprint of G.P. Putnam 1968), p. 32. ISBN 0-671-77104-3.]

Prior to the Holocaust, there were over 10 million speakers of Yiddish;[Dovid Katz. YIDDISH” (PDF). YIVO. Archived from the original(PDF) on March 22, 2012. Retrieved 20 Dec 2015.] 85% of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were Yiddish speakers,[Solomo Birnbaum, Grammatik der jiddischen Sprache (4., erg. Aufl., Hamburg: Buske, 1984), p. 3.] leading to a massive decline in the use of the language. Assimilation following World War IIfurther decreased the use of Yiddish both among survivors and Yiddish-speakers from other countries (such as in the Americas). However, the number of speakers is increasing in global Hasidic communities.

Dovid Katz. 

Yiddish Surnames/Ashkenazi Surnames

Ashkenazi Jews did not take on family names until the 17thcentury (prior to that linking their name with their father’s name, like Moses Ben-Maimon = Moses Maimon-ides, or with their home-town, like Yeshua Notzri = Jesus of Nazereth. In a decree promulgated on this date in 1787, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II ordered all Jews in the Hapsburg Empire to acquire family names. The decree came five years after the Edict of Tolerance, which permitted Jewish children to attend schools and universities, eliminated vocational restrictions for Jewish adults, abolished stigmatizing rules of dress and conduct, and restricted the use of Yiddish and Hebrew to the private sphere. With the 1787 decree, according to Alexander Beider (in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe), “Jews were free to choose their names subject to approval of Austrian officials. If a Jew had not chosen a name, one was assigned. Some of the names referred to occupations, others to personal traits  (Redlich: honest; Freundlich: friendly). Other names, writes Beider, were “compound, made up of two roots.” Examples of these roots include: metals (Eisen: iron; Kupfer: copper), colors (Braun: brown; Roth: red; Weiss: white); flora (Baum: tree; Blum: flower; Wald: forest); size (Klein: small; Gross: big); “words related to the heavens” (Himmel: sky; Licht: light; Stern: star); topography (Berg: mountain; Feld: field; Stein: stone); and habitations (Dorf: village; Heim: home). “The resulting names,” Beider concludes, “often are associated with nature and beauty. It is very plausible that the choices were influenced by the general romantic tendencies of German culture at that time.” Joseph II’s decree was part of his policy of enlightened despotism, reflective of the European Enlightenment, which included the abolition of serfdom, the death penalty and judicial brutality, and the establishment of compulsory education. Most of his reforms were overturned, however, following his death at 49 in 1790, and rights would not be fully restored to Jews until 1867.

The overwhelming majority of Ashkenazi Jews who lived in Eastern Europe did not take last names until compelled to do so by Czarist Russia in 1844.


Jewish Culture – an ethnic melting pot

The divergent histories of Jewish communities and their contacts with other cultural influences distinguish Jewish ethnic groups from one another, giving each a unique way of being Jewish. Worldwide, Jews from distinct geographic regions vary greatly in their diet, language, dress, and folk customs. Most pre-modern Diaspora communities are categorized into three major ethnic groups (in Hebrew, sometimes called eidot, “communities”):
· Ashkenazim, the Jews of Germany and Northern France (in Hebrew, Ashkenaz)

· Sephardim, the Jews of Iberia (in Hebrew, Sepharad) and the Spanish diaspora

· Mizrahim, or Oriental Jews

Sephardim and Mizrahim were. Yet now, they make up more than half of the population of Israeli Jews but are disproportionately underrepresented in the government and military echelons of power.


Although often confused with Sephardim (because they share many religious customs), Mizrahim have a separate heritage. Mizrahi (in Hebrew, “Eastern” or “Oriental”) Jews come from Middle Eastern ancestry. Their earliest communities date from Late Antiquity, and the oldest and largest of these communities were in modern Iraq (Babylonia), Iran (Persia), and Yemen.

Today, most Mizrahi Jews live either in Israel or the United States. In their new homes, Mizrahim are more likely than other Jews to maintain particularly strong ties with others from their family’s nation of origin. Thus, it is not uncommon to find a specifically Persian or Bukharan synagogue. Likewise, Mizrahim are not united by a single Jewish language; each subgroup spoke its own tongue.

The unique Mizrahi culture has penetrated Israeli mainstream society in recent years. Yemenite music entered the pop scene with Ofra Haza, who blended traditional instruments, rhythms, and lyrics with modern flair. Yemenite silversmiths create sacred objects used by Jews of all backgrounds. “Mizrahi” restaurants–where large platters of skewered meat and breads and bowl upon bowl of salads and condiments are shared by a group–have become fashionable gathering places in Israel.


Many historical documents recount a large population of Jews in Spain during the early years of the Common Era. Their cultural distinctiveness is characterized in Roman writings as a “corrupting” influence. Later, with the arrival of Christianity, Jewish legal authorities became worried about assimilation and maintaining Jewish identity. Despite these concerns, by the seventh century Sephardim had flourished, beginning a time known as the “Golden Age of Spain.”

During this period, Sephardic Jews reached the highest echelons of secular government and the military. Many Jews gained renown in non-Jewish circles as poets, scholars, and physicians. New forms of Hebrew poetry arose, and talmudic and halakhic study took on great sophistication.

Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language, unified Jews throughout the peninsula in daily life, ritual, and song. Ladino, a blend of medieval Spanish with significant loan words from Hebrew, Arabic, and Portuguese, had both a formal, literary dialect, and numerous daily, spoken dialects which evolved during the immigrations of Sephardic Jews to new lands.

The Sephardic Golden Age ended when Christian princes consolidated their kingdoms and reestablished Christian rule throughout Spain and Portugal. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled all Jews from Spain; soon after, a similar law exiled Jews from Portugal. Sephardim immigrated to Amsterdam, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Others established new communities in the Americas or converted publicly to Christianity, sometimes secretly maintaining a Jewish life. These converts (known in Ladino as conversos and in Hebrew as anusim, forced converts) often maintained their Judaism in secret. In the 21st century, there are still people in both Europe and the Americas who are discovering and reclaiming their Jewish ancestry.

Wherever Sephardim traveled, they brought with them their unique ritual customs (minhagim), language, arts, and architecture. Sephardic synagogues often retain the influence of Islam in their architecture by favoring geometric, calligraphic, and floral decorative motifs. Although they may align with the Ashkenazic religious denominations (usually Orthodoxy), the denominational identity of Sephardic synagogues is, in most cases, less strong than their ethnic identity.

At home, Ladino songs convey family traditions at the Shabbat table, although Ladino is rapidly disappearing from daily use. Sephardic Jews often maintain unique holiday customs, such as a seder for Rosh Hashanah that includes a series of special foods eaten as omens for a good new Year and the eating of rice and legumes on Passover.

Although the first American Jews were Sephardic, today Ashkenazim are the largest Jewish ethnic group in North America, and therefore most North American synagogues use the Ashkenazic liturgy. This is also the case in Australia, where the majority are Ashkenazi Jews, many of them refugees and Holocaust survivors who arrived during and after World War II, and their descendants. Thus almostall synagogues in Australia use the Ashkenazic liturgy.

The exception is Adelaide where Jewish communities using Sephardic and Mizrahi liturgy emerged in the post-war period. Previously, Mizrahi Jews were generally not permitted to enter Australia due to Australia’s White Australia policy. However, following the Suez Crisis in 1956, a number of Egyptian Jews were allowe d to enter.They joined the Adelaide community of mixed Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews who had come from either Britain or Amsterdam who had been accepted to follow migrations of British Jews from early in colonial Australia’s history. (Over a thousand people of Jewish descent were sent to Australia as convicts during the first 60 years of colonisation.[The Jewish experience in Australia – Fact sheet 217”. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved7 September 2014. External link in |website= (help)] All convicts, including Irish Catholics and Jews were required to attend Anglican services on Sundays. Similarly, education in the new settlement was Anglican church-controlled until the 1840s. In 1820, the Reverend Dr. Cowper allotted land for the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in the right-hand corner of the then-Christian cemetery.  The actual allocation of land for a consecrated Jewish cemetery was not approved until 1832.Most of the convicts, including the Jewish ones, came from London, were of working-class background and were male. Only 7% of Jewish convicts were female, compared to 15% for non-Jewish convicts. The average age of the Jewish convicts was 25, but ranged as young as 8 to some elderly people. <V.D. Lipman, A Social History of the Jews of England, 1850–1950, London, 1954, p.121.>)

The Jewish experience in Australia – Fact sheet 217”

Overtures from Jewish communities led the Australiangovernment to drop its previous stance on entry of Mizrahi Jews. By 1969, when Iraqi Jews were being persecuted, the government granted refugee status to Iraqi Jews who managed to reach Australia.[] They found welcome in Aelaide’s mixed Ashkenazi-Sephardi-Mizrahi community where generally speaking Sephardic liturgy is followed.


Ashkenaz is a term found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to one of the descendants of Noah as well as to a reference to a kingdom of Ashkenaz. Ashkenaz is the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the biblical Table of Nations. His name is likely a derivation from the Assyrian Aškūza (Aškuzai, Iškuzai), a people who expelled the Cimmerians from the Armenian area of the Upper Euphrates, [Russell E. Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 2006 pp.148, 149 n.57]

The Assyrian name is likely based on that of the Scythians. The intrusive n in the Hebrew form of the name has been explained as a scribal mistake confusing a waw ו with anun נ (i.e. writing אשכנז ašknz for aškūz אשכוז).[Paul Kriwaczek, Yiddish Civilisation, Hachette 2011 p. 173 n. 9.]

The association of the term by medieval Jewry with the geographical area centered on the Rhineland led to the Jewish culture that developed in that area to be calledAshkenazi, the only form that the term is still used today by Jews.

Although strictly speaking, “Ashkenazim” refers to Jews of Germany and the Austrio-Hungarian empire, because of the steady movement of Yiddish-speaking Jews over centuries into Slavic-speaking areas the term came to refer more broadly to Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, and the Yiddish language, originally a Bavarian dialect of German infused with Hebrew vocabulary, adopted many slavic words too. Eventually, the vast majority of Ashkenazim relocated to the Polish Commonwealth (today’s Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, and Belarus), where princes welcomed their skilled and educated workforce. The small preexistent Polish Jewish community’s customs were displaced by the Ashkenazic prayer order, customs, and Yiddish language.

Jewish life and learning thrived in northeastern Europe. The yeshiva culture of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania produced a constant stream of new talmudic scholarship. In 18th century Germany, the Haskalah movement advocated for modernization, introducing the modern denominations and institutions of secular Jewish culture.


Questions I have been asked: “If Ashkenazi Jews originate from Palestine, why do so many of the Ashkenazi Jews have Northern physical festures? Blond, red, light brown hair; blue/green eyes & white skin – aren’t these Mediterranean features? ” Central Asian Turks are not blond, brown or red-haired, nor do they have blue/green eyes & white skin, so could Khazars have developed such features?


Before the middle ages Jewish traders often married with non-Jews in the countries they settled in or travelled through. Converted wives underwent an education process at home with the help of Jewish women of the community they lived in. Over millenia Jewish communities came to have the physical features  of the places they lived in. Also the Greek and Roman empires were very large, Greek and Roman soldiers also brought women from far off places to live with them. While evidence of Khazar migrations exists, Khazars are not generally associated with physical features like blond, red, light brown hair; blue/green eyes & white skin. However such features do show up in all human groups occasionally, which is evidence that there is no such thing as a “pure race”.

Question: What is a good definition of “anti-Semitism”?


Anti-Semitism” usually is defined as “fear or dislike of Ashkenazi, Sephardi or Mizrahi Jews” – the word “Judeophobia” would be a more accurate term, as Arabic speakers and Aramaic speakers should be regarded along with Hebrew speakers as “Semites”. Semites are people who speak Semitic language, so really “Anti-Semitism” should define as “fear or dislike of people who speak Semitic lnaguages. “Anti-Semitism” in common parlance is a term for Judeophobia that was coined in the 18th century in Germany, since generally the only “Semites” those German social academics who coined the word had actually met were the Jews of Germany (who spoke German, Yiddish and other languages as well as Hebrew. Semites are speakers of Semitic languages and this term was coined by German linguists – Semitic languages included Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and some other languages of Africa and Asia. Mizrahi is Hebrew for “easterners” and Jews from Yemen, Iraq and countries further east like India and China are called Mizrahim. Jews from Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and North Africa are called Sephardim because their religious customs differ from those of the Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. Sepharad is the Hebrew word for Spain and at the time of the Spanish inquisition Jews and Moors had to leave Spain and settled all around the Mediterranean Sea. Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for Central Europe and Ashkenazic Judaism developed in Europe different religious customs and literature from the Mediterranean and eastern Jews. “

Ray Bergmann
circa 2016

(For further insight into this topic please see my article “How appropriate are arguments for and against Zionism based on blood, genes, ethnicity, or race?” at

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