Weeks after Whoopi Goldberg aka Caryn Johnson incorrectly and antisemitically publicly expressed that Jews are racially White, it seems there is still confusion as to who and what Jews are – a religion only, a race, or a loosely-tied band of tribes that have since dispersed throughout the globe. Before we as Jews (rightfully) accuse others of mislabeling us and distorting history, it is essential to have an internal correct understanding if for no other reason, than to not confuse those who are not part of the tribe.
A 360-degree loop of lies sustains the most common antisemitic falsehoods, which has reached a crescendo these days – that Jews are White and Judaism is just a religion, and that modern-day Jews have no long-term historical connection to Israel, that the land was ‘stolen’ from Arabs.
Skin color is not race, and the concept of race was actually based on skull shape. This outdated categorization is based on skull composure, divided into Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid. With the advent of genetic technology, race is now based on haplogroups and genes. Science has confirmed what Jews have known for thousands of years, that we are an ethnoreligious tribe, connected genetically.
Lighter-skinned Ashkenazi Jews have more in common with darker-skinned Mizrahi Jews than they do with any European. No racially White people, historically, both in Europe and in America, ever considered us part of their race, and they are correct.
The issue in America in terms of Jews’ mistaken identity is that many here are Ashkenazi, whose families spent a portion of the Diaspora experience in European countries. In Israel, the majority of Jews are Mizrahi, who lived in, but are not from Arab majority nations. All genetic Jews are from Israel, and even more specifically, Jews today have been traced back to Judea, the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi specifically.
Several years ago, I was curious about my own origins, as a first-generation American. My family emigrated from the former Soviet Union, and my maternal grandfather’s family lived for a while in Austria. Relatives on both sides of my family were murdered, not ‘lost’ in the Shoah.
My religious great-grandparents and most of their children in Lvov (then Poland) were murdered by Polish Nazi collaborators not because they thought Jews are a race, which we are, but because Jews were deemed an inferior race. On my paternal side, my secular relatives were murdered by Belorussians due to the strong long-range dripping of Russian-Orthodox teachings that Jews killed Christ.
I was pleasantly surprised that my results returned that I am 100% Jewish genetically, with a breakdown of 92% Ashkenaz and 8% Sephardic. And that makes historical sense, as Ashkenazim were Sephardic Jews who happened to continue moving eastward as various Christian rulers deemed Jews a corruptive force against Christianity, and more dangerously, too powerful, a common libel still used against Jews across the spectrum. I grew up very secular, which stemmed from my family’s non-exposure to religion in the USSR, yet; I am no less a Jew than those who keep kosher and attend shul weekly.
Rudy Rochman, in his most viral video, “Judaism Is Not a Religion” eloquently explains that one who does not believe in Christ is not a Christian, one who does not believe in the teachings of Mohammad, is not a Muslim. Yet a Jew is a Jew, regardless of belief in God. In the modern sense, religion is defined as a belief system which spreads across borders intentionally gaining converts. Though converts to Judaism are welcome but not sought, genetic Jews cannot throw the truth out with the proverbial Jewish bath water, that converts practice the faith of the Jewish people, are considered part of the Jewish nation, but are not genetically Jewish.
In the US, even before the Holocaust near decimated the Jewish community in Europe and attempted to further exterminate Jews in North Africa and Iraq, Jews were never considered White. Today the talk is focused on systemic racism, yet there was also systemic antisemitism. Jews were often grouped in with Black people in terms of limits to where Jews could work, where Jews could live, and where Jews could study. It was not until 1968 that Jews could live in parts of Florida. Housing discrimination against Jews was firmly in place in parts of Illinois and in Michigan.
Only in 1968 were Jews finally allowed to purchase property in areas of Southern California. From the 1920s to 1960, Jewish people faced severe admissions quotas at Ivy League universities. This term was titled ‘Limitation of Numbers.’ Hollywood was created by Jews as an outpost of Jewish theater, which resulted from Jewish actors not being hired by Whites. The KKK was not against White people, but had and still has hate towards Blacks and Jews alike.
Every people and every ethnicity has a homeland, religions do not. Jews are indigenous to Israel and it has been proven by genetics. This truth is not to erase the religious connection to Israel, but to give credence to Jewish genetics, which are real. There are separate Jewish bone marrow banks, Crypto-Jews are rejoining the Jewish fold through proof of genetics, and genetics are playing a vital role in finding members of lost Jewish tribes, even in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Genetic proof is our arsenal against delegitimizing attempts against the Jewish connection to Israel, to battle against BDS, and to powerfully connect Jews today to the proud Judean warriors from whom we stem, their strength runs strongly in the collective veins of the Jewish people. It is this shared genetic strength which allowed Jews to emerge from the Inquisition, pogroms, the Shoah, the Farhoud, living as dhimmis, and to finally liberate Israel.
My nationality is American. My ethnicity is Jewish, not European in the least, and my homeland is Israel, the provenance of my people.
Originally published on Israel Hayom.