HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » New Study Sheds Light On ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:58 AM

 

New Study Sheds Light On the Origin of the European Jewish Population

Jan. 16, 2013 — Despite being one of the most genetically analysed groups, the origin of European Jews has remained obscure. However, a new study published online January 17 in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution by Dr Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, argues that the European Jewish genome is a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries, setting to rest previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry. Elhaik's findings strongly support the Khazarian Hypothesis, as opposed to the Rhineland Hypothesis, of European Jewish origins. This could have a major impact on the ways in which scientists study genetic disorders within the population.

The Rhineland Hypothesis has been the favoured explanation for the origins of present-day European Jews, until now. In this scenario Jews descended from Israelite-Canaanite tribes left the Holy Land for Europe in the 7th century, following the Muslim conquest of Palestine. Then, in the beginning of the 15th century, a group of approximately 50,000 left Germany, the Rhineland, for the east. There they maintained high endogamy, and despite wars, persecution, disease, plagues, and economic hardships, their population expanded rapidly to around 8 million in the 20th century. Due to the implausibility of such an event, this rapid expansion was explained by Prof Harry Ostrer, Dr Gil Atzmon, and colleagues as a miracle. Under the Rhineland Hypothesis, European Jews would be very similar to each other and would have a predominant Middle Eastern ancestry.

The rival explanation, the Khazarian Hypothesis, states that the Jewish-convert Khazars -- a confederation of Turkic, Iranian, and Mongol tribes who lived in what is now Southern Russia, north of Georgia and east of Ukraine, and who converted to Judaism between the 7th and 9th centuries -- along with groups of Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman Jews, formed the basis of eastern Europe's Jewish population when they fled eastward, following the collapse of their empire in the 13th century. European Jews are thus expected to exhibit heterogeneity between different communities. While there is no doubt that the Judeo-Khazars fled into Eastern Europe and contributed to the establishment of Eastern European Jewry, argument has revolved around the magnitude of that contribution.

Dr Elhaik's paper, 'The missing link of Jewish European ancestry: contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses', examined a comprehensive dataset of 1,287 unrelated individuals of 8 Jewish and 74 non-Jewish populations genotyped over 531,315 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)...The results were consistent in depicting a Caucasus ancestry for all European Jews. The analysis showed a tight genetic relationship between European Jews and Caucasus populations and pinpointed the biogeographic origin of the European Jews to the south of Khazaria, 560 kilometers from Samandar -Khazaria's capital city. Further analyses yielded a complex multi-ethnical ancestry with a slightly dominant Caucasus -Near Eastern, large South European and Middle Eastern ancestries, and a minor Eastern European contribution.

Dr Elhaik writes, "The most parsimonious explanation for our findings is that Eastern European Jews are of Judeo-Khazarian ancestry forged over many centuries in the Caucasus...The religious conversion of the Khazars encompassed most of the Empire's citizens and subordinate tribes and lasted for the next 400 years until the invasion of the Mongols. At the final collapse of their empire in the 13th century, many of the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe and later migrated to Central Europe and admixed with the neighbouring populations."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130116195333.htm

28 replies, 3773 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply New Study Sheds Light On the Origin of the European Jewish Population (Original post)
HiPointDem Jan 2013 OP
Recursion Jan 2013 #1
elleng Jan 2013 #2
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #3
Recursion Jan 2013 #4
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #6
Recursion Jan 2013 #7
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #13
greymattermom Jan 2013 #5
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #8
Recursion Jan 2013 #9
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #11
LeftishBrit Jan 2013 #10
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #15
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #17
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #18
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #21
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #22
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #23
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #24
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #27
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #28
antigop19667 Jan 2013 #12
Scootaloo Jan 2013 #14
Raksha Jan 2013 #16
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #19
2naSalit Jan 2013 #20
Rosa Luxemburg Jan 2013 #25
jberryhill Jan 2013 #26

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:00 AM

1. This could get very loud very quick

There's a lot of politics and emotion tied up I this seemingly obscure question.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:15 AM

2. Yes. Where else might it be posted,

for most interested conversation?

'Dr Elhaik's findings consolidate, otherwise conflicting results describing high heterogeneity among Jewish communities and relatedness to Middle Eastern, Southern European, and Caucasus populations that are not explained under the Rhineland Hypothesis. Although Dr Elhaik's study linked European Jews to the Khazars, there are still questions to be answered. How substantial is the Iranian ancestry in modern day Jews? Since Eastern European Jews arrived from the Caucasus, where did Central and Western European Jews come from? If there was no mass migration out of Palestine at the 7th century, what happened to the ancient Judeans?

And crucially for Dr Elhaik, how would these new findings affect disease studies on Jews and Eurasian populations?'

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:19 AM

3. I posted it because i'd always heard the khazar thing was woo; i associated it with koestler.

 

this looks like a reputable study.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:42 AM

4. I had heard both woo and non-woo

and the dividing line seemed to be based on what you call the southern Levant. This is grist for the mill, certainly. Thanks!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:50 AM

6. I would hope not.

Backgrounds to population movements are always interesting and especially given the length of time ago to which this refers any out of place remarks would be really odious.

I do think Good Reads might have been better but that's only because such subjects have longer staying power there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:54 AM

7. I wasn't particularly thinking of DU, more the world at large

The Khazar hypothesis has been used in the past by people who want to portray Israel as a colonial country, and denigrated by people who want to portray it as an indigenous country. This not being I/P, I won't state my view here; I just remember this hypothesis being something of a hotbutton.

Alternately, see post 5.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:51 AM

13. I'd never even heard of the "Khazar Hypothesis"

Only other group I'd ever heard of was the Sephardis and that was only because banjo buddy in VA happened to mention he was in that group. We're all a pretty bunch - I've got Saxon from one grandmother , Danish from the other 500 years ago , great great grandfathers on one side were Russian / Polish and the on the other side Romanies from Wales - I'm classed as English.

Re.#5 - I find it difficult at times to distinguish between general comment and getting the oar in.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:46 AM

5. so the current population of Israel

arises from converts, not from the original inhabitants of that region? Interesting.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greymattermom (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:55 AM

8. that's not what it says.

 

"Eastern European Jews are of Judeo-Khazarian ancestry forged over many centuries in the Caucasus."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:01 AM

9. That's now the plurality of the Jewish population of Israel

As well as the ethnic base of Likud.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:07 AM

11. "Judeo-Khazarian ancestry"

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greymattermom (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:06 AM

10. Not really. Firstly, the study suggests that East Europaean Jews have a complex mixture of ancestry

Secondly, not all Israelis by any means are of East Europaean Jewish origin. About half of Israeli Jews are of recent Middle Eastern origin.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:41 AM

15. Not according to Dr. Elhaik

In an interview with Haaretz, Dr. Elhaik stated that

• "The various groups of Jews in the world today do not share a common genetic origin. We are talking here about groups that are very heterogeneous and which are connected solely by religion."

• "genome of European Jews is a mosaic of ancient peoples and its origin is largely Khazar."


The article also notes that

"Unlike other researchers, Elhaik does not believe in the existence of a uniquely Jewish gene: "Each human being is a genetic amalgam. No population group has ever lived in total seclusion from other groups." He also refutes the claim that the genome of many Jews contains a Middle Eastern component, proving that the Jews originated in that region: "The majority of Jews do not have the Middle Eastern genetic component in the quantity we would expect to find if they were descendants of the Jews of antiquity.

"Ironically," observes Elhaik, "some of the Khazars were of Iranian origin. I think it is safe to assume that the Iranians have made a not-inconsiderable contribution to the Jewish mosaic."


Dr. Elhaik further argues that

" primarily of Western European origin, which is rooted in the Roman Empire, and Middle Eastern origin, whose source is probably Mesopotamia, although it is possible that part of that component can be attributed to Israeli Jews."

The latter datum is of considerable importance because it "reconnects" European Jews to Israel. However, that connection amounts to only a small part of the makeup of the genome, and that figure is not statistically significant enough to establish that the origin of the Jews is the Kingdom of Judah.


Dr. Elhaik also brushed off the result of a report published last year ("Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People," by Dr. Harry Ostrer, which "argues that all Jews have a common genetic origin and similar genetic characteristics,") by accusing the study as one that

"has no empirical basis, sometimes even contradicts itself and offers conclusions that are simply not convincing."

"It is my impression," he adds, "that their results were written before they began the research. First they shot their arrow - and then they painted the bull's-eye around it."


It is clear that Dr. Elhaik believes that the modern Jewish people are not the genetic descendents of the ancient Jews.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FleetwoodMac (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:11 AM

17. If you read his paper, it's clear he doesn't say anything like "modern Jewish people are not the

 

genetic descendants of the ancient Jews."

http://eelhaik.aravindachakravartilab.org/ArticlesPDFs/MissingLink2012.pdf

What he says is that modern jews carry an admixture of different DNA types (like everyone else). For Jews in the sample from central & southern europe, the largest portion is "Caucasus," the second-largest is "Middle Eastern".

Although they cluster with Caucasus populations (fig. 5),
Eastern and Central European Jews share a large fraction of
Western European and Middle Eastern ancestries, both absent
in Caucasus populations...


Central and Eastern European Jews differ mostly
in their Middle Eastern (30% and 25%, respectively)
and
Eastern European ancestries (3% and 12%, respectively),
probably due to late admixture...

We conclude that the genome of
European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including
Judaized Khazars, Greco–Roman Jews, Mesopotamian Jews,
and Judeans and that their population structure was formed
in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga with roots
stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan.


http://eelhaik.aravindachakravartilab.org/ArticlesPDFs/MissingLink2012.pdf


He's saying Central & Eastern European Jews are descendants of Middle Eastern peoples -- and *also* descendants of Caucasus peoples & European peoples.

His argument is mainly about migration routes, to explain where the Caucasus admixture comes from. It's not about whether modern Jews are related to ancient Jews.

Fig 1 in the paper shows the two competing theories of the migrations formative in the creation of Central & Eastern Jewish populations. In the khazarian hypothesis, migration is from the middle east into the territory of the khazar empire, then into eastern europe. In the rhineland hypothesis it's through greece into western europe, then eastward into eastern europe.

In both hypotheses, Jews migrate out of Israel and mix with other people.

He's not saying what you claim.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:46 AM

18. Exact, word for word, quote

His exact words, as per my link above.

"The majority of Jews do not have the Middle Eastern genetic component in the quantity we would expect to find if they were descendants of the Jews of antiquity. "


Interestingly, he opines that "some of the Khazars were of Iranian origin. I think it is safe to assume that the Iranians have made a not-inconsiderable contribution to the Jewish mosaic."

Additionally, the following passage from Dr. Elhaik's study demonstrates his opinion on the subject.

Though Judaism was born encased in theological–historical myth, no Jewish historiography was produced from the time of Josephus Flavius (1st century CE) to the 19th century (Sand 2009). Early historians bridged the historical gap simply by linking modern Jews directly to the ancient Judeans (fig. 2), a paradigm that was later embedded in medical science and crystallized as a narrative. Many have challenged this narrative (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), mainly by showing that a sole Judean ancestry cannot account for the vast population of Eastern European Jews in the beginning of the 20th century without the major contribution of Judaized Khazars and by demonstrating that it is in conflict with anthropological, historical, and genetic evidence.



EDIT: I offer no opinion of my own here - merely pointing out a couple of Dr. Elhaik's more controversial views.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FleetwoodMac (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:25 PM

21. His 'controversial' opinion is "a sole Judean ancestry cannot account for the vast population of

 

Eastern European Jews"?

lol.

he isn't saying what you claim he is.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 08:11 PM

22. Where did he say "Eastern European Jews" in his first quote above?

And what is it exactly do you think I'm saying, just so we're clear on what you're disagreeing with here?

Fyi, the third quote above is meant to display Dr. Elhaik's rejection of what he call's the Judean "theological–historical myth".

But more importantly, in light of the first quote, I honestly do understand why this is even a point of contention.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FleetwoodMac (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:02 PM

23. it's taken directly from your post here:

 

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2256974

and i am responding to your claim here:

"It is clear that Dr. Elhaik believes that the modern Jewish people are not the genetic descendents of the ancient Jews."

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2256792

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:03 PM

24. You seem to be deliberately misleading

and is ignoring quotes and questions at convenience.

Once again, I said where did he say "Eastern European Jews" in his first quote above?

Here, let me write the quote again to make it easier for you.

"The majority of Jews do not have the Middle Eastern genetic component in the quantity we would expect to find if they were descendants of the Jews of antiquity. "


Which part of this quote is unclear to you? Please help me understand how this continues to evade you.

I have posted other quotes as well above that reveals Dr. Elhaik's line of reasoning on the matter. There is absolutely nothing ambiguous about this, and as I've said above, I honestly do understand why this is even a point of contention.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FleetwoodMac (Reply #24)


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:40 AM

28. Classy. Reported.

For anyone else reading, Dr. Elhaik's words speak for themselves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:08 AM

12. Wow, this is very interesting

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:05 AM

14. So what this means...

Is simply that the Khazars had a larger influence on the ancestry of Europe's Jewry than previously thought. It was always known there were some cultural / genetic influence, it's just a question of how much.

Sadly I worry that interesting anthropology research is just going to throw a log on a previously-banked fire of bullshit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Scootaloo (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:47 AM

16. "Just a question of how much" - it's been going back and forth for years,

especially over the last few years. Sadly, it's almost impossible for this to be a purely scientific question, as much as I would like it to be. It's been so heavily tainted by political factors, and especially by anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, that some researchers have defensively minimized the Khazar factor in the Ashkenazi population. Only a couple of weeks ago I read about a study asserting (again!) that only the Khazar upper classes converted to Judaism, not the majority of the population. This study would appear to reverse that claim.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:55 AM

19. Oh boy, the shit is about to hit the fan.

The Khazar Hypothesis has links with Anti-Semitism.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:31 PM

20. Interesting

I have ancestry from both groups and in my family history, the knowledge of the Khasari hypothesis has been well known and the somatypes are obvious. Don't want to get into a shouting match that will start a battle of semantics regarding antisemitism... I'm glad this study has been conducted and I hope it isn't silenced by the ADL.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:38 PM

25. Very interesting

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:50 PM

26. Can they forgive out where republicans come from?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread