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A Rational and Fact-Based Argument
December 1, 2009
Reading Occidental Dissent, I came across a comment by a so-called “White Advocate” making the following common “argument”:
from that, sorry, but if Spaniards, Maltese, Italians, Romanians, Bulgarians,
Albanians, Greeks, Georgians and Armenians are considered White, then there is
no damn reason why Ashkenazi Jews, or people of European descent with some
Ashkenazi blood as well, are not White as well. Nobody can make a RATIONAL and
FACTBASED argument why this is not the case.
provide some rational and fact-based arguments why it is indeed not the case.
The genetic data are fact-based and the ethnic formation/indigenous argument is,
in my opinion, rational. The
cultural arguments incorporate some degree of subjectivity, but that
subjectivity is derived from knowledgeable commentators, both Jewish and
non-Jewish, and, most likely, is consistent with objective truth.
First, if by
‘White’ is meant ‘(native) indigenous European,’ many people do not consider
Georgians and Armenians in this category.
Georgia and Armenia are lands that are biologically and culturally on the
border between Occident and Orient, and examples of both Western and Eastern
types can be found within these populations.
Albanians are (likely) genetically European, but as Islam is culturally
outside of the West, those Albanians who practice that faith may be seen by many
Westerners as being “them” rather than “us.”
The other groups mentioned by “White Advocate” are Europeans of a Western
and historically Christian background.
It may serve his purposes to cite a constellation of varied and highly
distinct Caucasian ethnic groups — some European and some not — to divert
attention from the specific question at hand: how should the Ashkenazim be
racially and culturally identified?
Originally, the question of Ashkenazi Jewish genetics focused on narrow (and in my opinion close to worthless) studies using the Y-chromosome (transmitted only within male lines) and mitochondrial DNA (transmitted only with female lines). This was followed by “studies” using relatively few autosomal genetic markers and comically small ethnic samples.
recently, studies using hundreds of thousands of autosomal markers coupled with
reasonable population sample sizes have come to the fore, and these have been
somewhat more enlightening. For
example, recent papers (see
here) give a solid initial inkling of the unique and
distinctive genetic position of Ashkenazi Jews with respect to varied European
populations. That promising start
was followed by a
Relevant excerpts, emphasis added:
show that within Americans of European ancestry
[TS: sic] there is
a perfect genetic corollary of Jewish
ancestry which, in principle, would permit near perfect genetic inference of
Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. In fact, even
subjects with a single Jewish grandparent can be statistically
distinguished from those without Jewish ancestry.
therefore suggest that the Jewish
group is distinguished from non-Jewish Europeans more because of their
genetic heritage in the Near East
than due to population bottlenecks perturbing the genetic composition of Jewish
that, at least in the context of the studied sample,
it is possible to predict full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with 100%
sensitivity and 100% specificity, although it should be noted that
the exact dividing line between a Jewish and non- Jewish cluster will vary
across sample sets, which, in practice, would reduce the accuracy of the
prediction. While the full historical demographic explanations for this
distinction remain to be resolved, it is clear that
the genomes of individuals with full
Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carry an unambiguous signature of their Jewish
heritage, and this seems more likely to be due to their
specific Middle Eastern ancestry
than to inbreeding.
Also of considerable interest are two other recent
abstracts presented at the recent conference of the
American Society for Human Genetics.
The first is “Genome-wide SNP analysis of
Ashkenazi Jews reveals unique population substructure” by S. M. Bray et
al. This is an excerpt, emphasis added:
Ashkenazi Jews (AJ) are a genetic isolate that has been widely utilized in
genetic studies of both mendelian and complex disorders. However,
the genetic variation and population
structure of the AJ have been previously investigated with relatively few
individuals and few genetic markers. We have now
genotyped a large AJ cohort
… [Results show that] the AJ are
distinct from all other groups, including both European and
Further [analysis] using AJ genotypes combined with a large European dataset
again validates the separation of AJ from European populations .
another one: “Abraham’’s children in the genome era: major Jewish Diaspora populations
comprise distinct genetic clusters with shared middle eastern ancestry”
by L. Hao et al. An
excerpt, emphasis added:
residence all over the world,
Jewish populations have maintained continuous genetic, cultural, and religious
tradition over 4,000 years…. [We used]
381 samples recruited from 7 Jewish communities with different
geographic origins: Eastern European Ashkenazim; Italian, Greek and Turkish
Sephardim; Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian Mizrahim (Middle Easterners)…. [Results]
show that the Jewish Diaspora groups all
demonstrated Middle Eastern ancestry, but varied significantly in the
extent of European admixture. There is almost no European ancestry in Iranian
and Iraqi Jews, whereas Syrian,
Sephardic, and Ashkenazi Jews have European admixture ranging from 30%~60%.
Analysis of identity-by-descent provides further insight on recent and distinct
history of such populations. These results demonstrate the
shared and distinctive
genetic heritage of Jewish Diaspora
Obviously no one study, or set of studies, gives a complete answer. Much more work needs to be done, and it is always possible that conclusions may change somewhat with more data. Nevertheless, the current state of the field suggests the following: While different European ethnies can be genetically distinguished from each other, the Ashkenazim are genetically distinct from all types of Europeans. Further this distinction is at least in part due to a consistent and significant genetic heritage from modern, historical Middle/Near Eastern populations. The ancestral origin of the Ashkenazi genetic profile is most reasonably seen as being that of a modern Middle Eastern population settling Europe and becoming somewhat admixed with indigenous European populations.
reasonable sense is ignored by some with an agenda.
For example, while writing this piece, a correspondent alerted me to this
post by “Guy White,” who makes illogical hand-waving arguments against
the entire concept of race. “Guy
White” uses varied figures from different population genetics studies, figures
based upon data dealing with different
sets of populations and looking at quite different levels of genetic
distinctiveness — essentially “comparing apples and oranges.”
Looking at a global genetic
analysis in which European groups, as well as non-European groups relatively
genetically close to Europeans, are tightly clustered, “Guy White” implies that
this demonstrates that the Ashkenazim, who cluster in the general European
region, are essentially the same as the European groups (and, hence, “White”).
analogous to an observer on the planet Neptune looking at the Earth and saying
that since, from his distant perspective, Chicago and Tokyo look to be clustered
right next to each other they are both “American cities.”
Similarly, when considering the full broad range of human genetic
variation from far-flung human groups, of course one would expect that
Europeans, Near Easterners and (especially) mixes between those two groups would
be tightly clustered. Compared to sub-Saharan Africans and East Asians, genetic
distances between various West Eurasian groups are small indeed.
This does not mean these groups are genetically identical.
More to the point, it
does not mean that these tightly clustered groups are all
from each other. In fact, some are markedly more genetically
similar than they are to other groups.
“Guy White” shows more narrow genetic analyses, focusing on the differences
within Europe. At this magnified and “close-up” intra-European view, European
groups can be distinguished from each other. He then implies that we must
consider some of these distinct European groups as being “not White” if we also
consider the (even more distinct) Ashkenazim as being not White.
In other words, if the Finns, Irish, and Spaniards are all White even
though they are distinct from each other, one must include other even more
distinctive groups, such as the Ashkenazim, as being “White.”
is similar to saying that since Boston and New York are geographically separated
by a non-negligible distance one cannot claim that they are both “East Coast
cities” without at the same time also claiming that Wichita is an “East Coast
city.” The fact that the
relative distances between these three
cities are markedly different, and that Wichita is just not on the East Coast,
doesn’t matter to this “logic.” If Boston, New York, and Wichita are all
separated from each other by some distance, then they all “have to be”
considered the same, relative differences being irrelevant.
people would argue otherwise.
also ignores differences in the ancestral sources of these genetic distances.
Finns may be relatively distant from the “European genetic centroid”
because of isolation and inbreeding as well as their having some fraction of
Finno-Ugric ancestry. But the Finns
are a European people, indigenous to northeastern Europe, and there is nothing
about their genepool that makes them alien to the overall European genetic
On the other
hand, the papers cited above make clear that the genetic distance between the
Ashkenazim and Europeans is to a large extent due to significant modern Middle
Eastern ancestry of the Ashkenazim that is not indigenous to Europe.
is not enough to simply consider linear quantitative genetic distance. One must
consider ancestral components and the resulting higher-level genetic structure.
To make another analogy to geography, San Diego is closer to the Pacific
Ocean than it is to Minneapolis.
However, is San Diego more similar to the geographically closer ocean or to the
geographically more distant city?
I’ll pick Minneapolis. If “Guy White” chooses
the Pacific Ocean as being more similar to San
Diego, then that’s up to him to defend his choice.
is crucial to evaluate the ancestral make-up of a people as well as the genetic
structure as determined by studies of the relative frequencies of individual
alleles. Both contribute to genetic interests.
Ethnic history of indigenous populations
there are many definitions of ‘White,’ one common view is that by ‘White’ one
means groups indigenous to Europe.
Of course, “indigenous” — a term used by some nationalists and attacked by those
on the left — needs to be defined.
My definition would have the following three components:
First, that the group in question is historically associated with a
territory, either national or supra-national.
An example of a specific national territory historically
associated with a European ethny would be Germany and the Germans; a
supra-national territory would be that of southern France and northern Spain
historically associated with the Basques, a very ancient association indeed.
Second, the group in question should have emerged as a distinct people in the
specific territory; that is, ethnogenesis of the people
occurred in that specific territory.
Again, the Basques are a perfect example of this.
Third, two distinct currently existing peoples cannot be indigenous to the same
territory; it is the
extant (not extinct) group with the earlier
ethnogenesis in that territory that is indigenous.
Thus, while Bolivian mestizos are
historically associated with Bolivia and emerged as a distinct (albeit hybrid)
people in Bolivia, they cannot be considered indigenous.
It is the still-existing Amerindian aboriginal
population of Bolivia that is indigenous to that land, not any later emerging
Conversely, a people cannot be indigenous to two distinct places at the same
A given people are indigenous to their place of origin, not to colonies
they may have established elsewhere.
Granted, if the colonial people undergo
ethnogenesis in their new habitat, becoming significantly altered so
that they form a new people, then they could be candidates for being
“indigenous” to the colonized land — but only if there is no extant indigenous
group already there.
These are my
definitions; you may disagree, but these three components do so seem rational,
and are generally consistent with accepted definitions of “indigenous.”
so, let us consider Diaspora groups such as the Ashkenazim and Gypsies (Roma).
Neither group is associated with a specific territory within Europe.
These peoples were historically scattered as intrusive minorities
throughout Europe, from Iberia to the Balkans;
they arrived as a people from elsewhere.
Thus, their ethnogenesis cannot be considered to have taken place within
any specific European territory.
I cannot find
any past or present map of Europe containing the territories of “Ashkenazia” or
“Gypseria,” no land area in which the Ashkenazim and Gypsies emerged as a people
within Europe. The ethnic types of
these peoples may have been modified in Europe, through admixture and other
processes, but the ethnic type itself originated elsewhere, in the Middle East
(Ashkenazim) and India (Gypsies).
if one wanted to ignore point #1, and to also argue that ethnic modification
through admixture somehow constitutes “ethnogenesis” in the new territory (even
though it occurred in a scattered pattern across a continent and not in any
defined region), one cannot evade the fact that the Ashkenazim and Gypsies
occupied territories on which a native, indigenous people already lived and
still (for now) live to this day.
Thus, it are the Germans who are indigenous to Germany — as the oldest extant people who came into being on that land — and not “German” Ashkenazim, a much later arrival to the lands of the Germans. Therefore, it is more reasonable to see the Ashkenazim and the Gypsies as Middle Easterners and South Asians, respectively, who settled already-inhabited European lands and who became somewhat modified over the centuries through admixture, interbreeding, and selection.
Dr. Kevin MacDonald has written on the differences between European and Jewish cultural origins. This essay emphasizes the profound and fundamental distinctions between European and Jewish-Middle Eastern basic culture. MacDonald writes:
Anthropologically, Jews derive from the Middle Old World Culture area. This culture area is quite the opposite from the characteristics of Western social organization. As indicated in Table 1, Judaism is collectivist and highly prone to ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and moral particularism.
European Cultural Origins
Jewish Cultural Origins
Middle Old World
Companionate; Based on Mutual
Utilitarian; Based on
Position of Women
Relatively High; “Hyper-
Relatively High; “Hyper-
Dogmatism; Submission to
Table 1: Contrasts between European and Jewish Cultural Forms.
analysis has some overlap with the Spenglerian/Yockeyian distinction between the
Faustian culture of the West and the Magian culture of the Middle East, the
latter to which the Jews can be seen as belonging to.
Jewish Views of This Issue
Of course, the realization of a gulf between Jews and Gentiles was not restricted to non-Jews alone. Over the years, a number of honest Jewish intellectuals and leaders have commented, sometimes vociferously, on these differences. These honest individuals include many racial Zionists (see here, pp 152–166), such as Vladimir Jabotinsky, hero and role model for the Israeli far-right, Martin Buber, Joachim Prinz, Benjamin Disraeli, Stephen Wise (who famously said "I have been an American all my life, but I have been a Jew for four thousand years."), and Maurice Samuel, author of the very frank book, You Gentiles, which lays out in detail Samuel’s personal view of the racial and cultural incompatibility of Jews and Gentiles.
to the genetic evidence as well.
including many rabbis are very proud of their ancient
heritage, dating back to their Middle Eastern Hebrew ancestors, the Patriarchs.
A simplified scheme showing the common origin of the three major segments of contemporary Jews. See here for complete article.
legitimate identity as descendants of the Biblical Hebrews is threatened
by the distortions of those who deny to the Ashkenazim this august lineage, and
instead attempt to make them into just another European ethnic group.
Indeed, it is possible that some devout Jews would consider as anti-Semitic those who would deny to them their scientifically proven identities as the non-European progeny of Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David, and Solomon Do the “Ashkenazim are Europeans” distorters dislike Jews so much that they would strip from the Ashkenazim an objectively established ethnic identity that is in accord with Jewish traditions and beliefs?
No doubt, there are some Ashkenazi Jews and part-Jews (e.g., “White Advocate”) who self-identify as White, Western, and European, and who sincerely wish to promote Western survival. We can welcome them and their contributions.
But that is not the issue at hand here, which is “White Advocate’s” incorrect assertion that Ashkenazi Jews as a whole are just another “White” ethnic group. No one can deny that different European groups — even closely related and geographically-near ethnies — can be genetically distinguished from each other. Modern genetic analyses can do this, and future, more fine-grained methodologies will perform even better to make these distinctions.
However, the same methods clearly show the Ashkenazim as being highly distinguishable from all types of Europeans. Further, Ashkenazi ethnogenesis cannot be seen as taking place in Europe proper, and they cannot in any way be seen as indigenous to Europe. Culturally and historically they are seen — by Jews and non-Jews alike — as being separate from European non-Jews. Whether or not they are close enough to Europeans so as to be assimilable and accepted as “White” is another question, and not the subject of this analysis. It is noteworthy that in general Jews have had highly negative perceptions of the people and culture of Europe — a point that is apparent in the work of many scholars and intellectuals, from John Murray Cuddihy to Kevin MacDonald, to the recent book on Jewish liberals by Norman Podhoretz.
understandable that individuals such as “White Advocate” do not wish to be
marginalized by the standard “White nationalist” argument for
Jewish exclusion. However, a
proper counter-argument for inclusion must have as its starting point an honest
acknowledgement of the fundamental biological and cultural differences
separating the Ashkenazim from European gentiles.
realistic appraisal of group differences need not lead to exclusion, nor be seen
as “anti-Semitic” in any way.
Arguments and counter-arguments can be made as to the political ramifications of
these differences, and people like “White Advocate”/”Guy White”/Ian Jobling/Friedrich
Braun/Lawrence Auster are free to advocate for Jewish inclusion.
The present essay makes no judgments, pro or con, on such inclusion,
which is a separate topic entirely.
Indeed, since I would like to be fair and open-mined, I am “agnostic” on that issue. Perhaps “White Advocate”/”Guy White”/Ian Jobling/Friedrich Braun/Lawrence Auster can make arguments of sufficient power so as to convince me to accept their vision of Jewish inclusion. However, they will not convince any knowledgeable person by making dishonest and factually inaccurate “arguments” that completely misrepresent human population genetics data and that present a false model of Jewish identity. One cannot look at the totality of the evidence and claim that the Ashkenazim are just the same as any other “White ethnic” group. It just isn’t so, and “White Advocate” does himself and his agenda a serious disservice by attempting to argue otherwise.
Ted Sallis (email
him) writes on scientific issues.