New York Times on Sand and Jewish Origins

by Julie on June 10, 2010

New studies in Nature magazine and the American Journal of Human Genetics have revived the debate on Jewish origins.

The New York Times, Newsweek, and UPI, reporting on these studies, have placed them in counterpoint to Sand’s argument. In his new afterword for the paperback edition of The Invention of the Jewish People, Sand writes:

After exhausting all the historical arguments, several critics have seized on genetics. The same people who maintain that the Zionists never referred to a race conclude their argument by evoking a common Jewish gene. Their thinking can be summed up as follows: “We are not a pure race, but we are a race just the same.” In the 1950s there was research in Israel on characteristic Jewish fingerprints, and from the 1970s, biologists in their laboratories (sometimes also in the USA) have sought a genetic marker common to all Jews. I reviewed in my book their lack of data, the frequent slipperiness of their conclusions, and their ethno-nationalist ardor, which is unsupported by any serious scientific findings. 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.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed June 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Tigers are animals and all tigers have stripes. This does not mean that all animals that have stripes are tigers. Nor would any common gene prove in a scientific way who is Jewish and who isn’t. And to me, even if one chooses to believe in that sort of thing, (“I am a real Jew because I have the so and so chromozone”), what would it get you? It’s how you live your life not what blood from a bloodline is running through your veins.

George June 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

Israelis are an invented people. Anyone can be a Jew if he converts. Israelis think they are Jewish so they are Jewish. Their religion is flawed, as are all religions, leading them to believe that they are god’s chosen people. Therein is the lie. Israelis are Europeans and should have been sent to the United States instead of Palestine. They have nothing except their religion leading them to Palestine. Please leave Palestine to those who lived there during the thousand years you were absent landlords.

yaakov June 11, 2010 at 8:08 am

the orgin of the true jew ! oh let me correct that the true hebrew s are of a african orgin ,and we all no where that its ? and we no who the people are in that area ! i think .

Alan June 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I have read Sand’s book with great interest and found his thesis compelling, but this new genetic evidence demands explanation. It does seem to suggest that most modern Jews have genetic roots in the Middle East and that they are closely linked genetically to one another. I notice that the word “Levant” is used in one of the original articles, which is an archaic phrase for the eastern Mediterranean region and is not limited to ancient Judea. It is no secret that Jews have been marrying other Jews almost exclusively for millennia, and this holds for converted Jews as well. Hence, and commonality of genes is to be expected. The source of Ashkenaic and Sephardic Jews may be southern Europe, rather than Khazaristan, as Sand has suggested.

I eagerly await commentary on this matter from real scientists as well as from Sand himself. Does it shoot his whole premise out of the water. Possibly not, but it may not seem as solid as it did only a short time ago. The new evidence has no impact on the question of the expulsion of Jews by the Romans after the destruction of the Temple. That is a matter for historians, not geneticists, to decide.

Mark June 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm


Mr. Scholomo Sand is right. His theory is supported by common-sense and volumes of other literature.

I have looked at these studies that are reported in the media showing genetic linkage between Judaists (people who are called “Jews”.

Most of these studies are defective. They DO NOT prove that all Judaists are linked genetically and distinct from all other people.

Most of these studies are sponsored by Judaists, and carried out by Judaists at Jewish institutions. After some genetic analysis, the authors publish papers with misleading titles, suggesting they have proven Jewish genetic linkage. The authors then put out press releases claiming to have “proven” that all Judaists are genetically related and distinct from all other people. The media, much of it Jewish controlled, reports this non-sense in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, where thousands of people read it and get misled.

Very few people bother to go and read the actual paper. Even fewer still bother to get data from the authors and verify the data or the statistical methods used.

I have read and couple of these papers proving Jewish genetic linkage and found them to be quite unreliable.

One study, with a sensational title, purported to show that on a scatter diagram, the Judaists and non-Judaists form distinct areas. On reading through it, it was clear that authors entire thesis had collapsed. The data that did not fit the theory they set out to prove (i.e. Judaists who were genetically different) was removed as “outliers.” This is called selection bias, and invalidates the study. Secondly, the authors, unable to find any gene that was unique to the Jewish group, claim to have used a “combination”. However, nowhere in the paper they specify this combination.

Since everybody is unique (except for idential twins), we all have a unique set of genes. By using a complex enough combination I can prove that all the people, even if they are all of the same race, in one town are genetically related and distinct from all the people in the other town (assuming there are no identical twins, with one of them in each town). This does not have to be a town; it can be any collection, such as stockholders of a company and non-stocholders, rich vs. poor, people born in January vs. February, people born in even year or on even date vs. odd date.

How? Let us assume there are only 3 genes, and only 2 people in each group called North and South Towns as follows:

North Town South Town

I now create a super-variable SUPER that is a function of the combination of genes, as follows:

If Genes = ABC or genes = UVW then SUPER = 1.
If Genes = DEF or genes = XYZ then SUPER = 2.

If I put them on a one dimensional axis, North Town will be clustered at 1 and South Town at 2 on a scatter diagram. I would have then proven that using a Super variable that looks at all the genes, North Town people are genetically related and distinct from South Town people.

Are they really? They are not at all!

Selection bias (such as excluding black Judaists), small sample size, non-random samples, using samples of people already likely to be related, and convoluted super-variables designed to prove what they want to prove, false conclusions and false press releases are some of the common tactics used by the so-called “scientists” trying to prove Jewish relatedness.

David H June 14, 2010 at 9:25 am

People are very confused, obviously, on the claim “the Jews” make on Israel. The confusion is that there were separate tribes living in Israel and the God who spoke in the Old Testament (which WAS to the Israelites) did indeed bless them and single them out from other peoples living in the land.

More specifically the Tribe of Judah and the Tribe of Israel became, if you will, the standard bearers for being an Israelite.

Nowadays, of course, there has been a lot of genetic mixing, which always confuses the issue, but the very latest genetic studies as referred to in the New York Times

shows that the major suppositions of Shlomo Sand have been conclusively REFUTED. Shlomo Sand is WRONG, MISTAKEN.

Genetics argues against his version of history and trumps it!

What is AMAZING is how RELATED the proclaimed-as-Jewish descendants are to each other all over the world despite the diaspora and local mixing with indigenous genetic pools.

That is the conclusion of two new genetic surveys, the first to use genome-wide scanning devices to compare many Jewish communities around the world.

A major surprise from both surveys is the genetic closeness of the two Jewish communities of Europe, the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim.

Common sense June 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm

If the genetic data says you’re wrong, then you’re wrong. No amount of literary introspection can get you out of this one. Sand’s response shows a fundamental incomprehension of genetics. The studies show in no uncertain terms that a vast majority of Jews cluster within the Middle East. PCA analysis demonstrates the statistical impossibility that Jewish genes originated in other eastern European (or Central Asian, as Sand claims) populations. The genome-wide study demonstrates the proximity of 90% of Jews with each other, their clustering extremely well with Syrian and Lebanese populations. Conversely, the Nature study actually shows further that Palestinian Arab populations cluster with Saudi and Yemeni Arab populations, consistent with the historically documented colonization of Palestine by Arab populations following the Rashidun conquest after the Roman decimation and expulsion of the original Jewish inhabitants. It’s hard not to see this as a definitive and conclusive counterpoint to Sand’s polemic.

Gaius Baltar June 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Did the genetic study in question compare their results to a genetic analysis of the Palestinians? How do the genetic markers of the two populations compare?

Further, Prof. Sand discussed earlier genetic studies, and mentioned an Israeli university study that reached a different conclusion. How does the new study compare?

Susan June 17, 2010 at 10:50 am

It’s a testament to the desperation of Jew-haters that so many of them leap on such obviously flawed works as this one to bolster their hate-filled attacks on Israel. Then again, given the quotes above, it’s precisely what Sands had in mind – “Jewish guilt (especially the fabricated kind)” is probably the most self-destructive there is.

Eduardo June 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

David H June 14, 2010 at 9:25 am , you wrote:
More specifically the Tribe of Judah and the Tribe of Israel became, if you will, the standard bearers for being an Israelite.

There’s no such a thing as the tribe of Israel! There’re 12 tribes that makes the Hebrew Israelite people. A division happened and two kingdoms were formed out of 01 single nation Israel. The kingdom of the North was called Israel and the kingdom of the South was called Judah.
According to historians and according to the Bible, Hebrews were blacks.
The Israelites are all the 12 tribes with NO exceptions!
Genesis 35:12
And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

Twelve tribes of Israel
1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
5. Zebulun
6. Issachar
7. Dan
8. Gad
9. Asher
10. Naphtali
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

Now the “ashkenazi jews” are the direct descents of :
Genesis 10
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.

Therefore the jewish people ARE NOT descendants of Shem(not semitic), they are not Hebrew Israelites. They are a colonialist people in Palestine, which was decided in 1897 and not after the II WW.

Markos January 31, 2011 at 4:39 am

I believe the “Ethiopian Jews” are true Hebrews. The original Hebrews were not semites, but Hamites. But, it is sad to here that they are not true Jews

Sixto July 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

Can u say “Khazar” and “Ashkenazi”? Did you not think history was gonna not catch up with yall and the lies which were stolen from Kemetic teachings.

SDH October 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

The joy with which this so called debunking of Sand’s theories is being greeted is very disturbing. “Yes we are a pure race!” people seem to be proclaiming. Hitler would indeed have been pleased to see the Zionist movement following in the footsteps of National Socialism.

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