New Statesman

Shlomo the Sandlout

The antisemitic lies of Shlomo Sand are a regular feature of “Comment is Free” in its I/P threads. Shlomo Sand is currently on tour promoting his book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Below is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman sharing with us his experiences at one such event organized by the New Statesman.

On Monday night I went to hear Shlomo Sand who is doing three London meetings this week to promote the English translation of his book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. In the book Sand attempts to prove that the Jewish people never existed as a “nation-race” with a common origin. His thesis is that Jews are a rag-tag collection of flotsam and jetsam that at various stages of history just happened to adopt the same religion. He argues that for a number of Zionist ideologues, the mythical perception of the Jews as an ancient people led to racist thinking.

Tonight’s meeting was sponsored by the New Statesman magazine. Yes the same magazine of the ‘left’ that in February 2002 had to apologise for the antisemitic cartoon on its cover in an issue in January of the same year.

Tonight Sand was up against Denis MacShane MP who has written a book about antisemitism.

Sand had already given us a taste of his style (unbelievably he is a Professor of History at Tel Aviv University) on Start The Week on BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning.

I’m not a Zionist. I don’t define myself as an anti-Zionist …. but I’m not a Zionist …  I don’t put into question the existence of Israel. I compare when I am speaking before Arab students the birth of the Israeli state to an act of rape. But even the son that was born of the act of rape….. you have to recognise him … the existence of Israel I don’t put in question today, you understand me?

Andrew Marr and the other bien pensants on Start The Week (Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tony Marchant, Sue Brown) swallowed it all completely uncritically – fawningly even.

Unfortunately Denis MacShane was delayed by a vote in Parliament. Sand had ten minutes to present what Seth Frantzman called his “revisionist pseudo-history of the Jewish People” and then he was questioned – again uncritically – by Jonathan Derbyshire, the literary Editor of the New Statesman.

Eventually MacShane did arrive. He spoke about his visit to Israel as part of a trade union delegation and noted that the Sand event coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. He did not feel qualified to get into the ‘Who Is a Jew?” debate but noted that the Hamas Charter was not particularly bothered about the precise definition. Disgracefully MacShane was interrupted by two people in the audience who felt he was not addressing the book.

Then to the Q+A. There have been plenty of critical reviews of the book. My favourite is Frantzman’s but there are also articles by Halkin, Greenstein, Bartal and Shapira. And Skorecki has done DNA research which shows that the same array of chromosomal markers was found in 97 of 106 Cohens tested (a Cohen is a descendant of the Priests in the High Temple). Sand claims that many Jews are descended from Khazars but the genetic research finds no link.

I had a chance to see the book before the talk. The final chapter is full of lies, here is an example:

Page 281: “The most important mission to be undertaken by the new state [of Israel] was the renewal, as best it could, of those who definitely did not regard themselves as Jews.”

And then he slips into the overtly antisemitic:

Page 292: “Jewish and Democratic – An Oxymoron?”

Page 313: “To what extent is Jewish Israeli society willing to discard the deeply embedded image of the “chosen people”?”

I told him his book was antisemitic, citing the “chosen people” trope. I asked him how it was that the Khazars could “demographically probably” be the fathers of the 3 million Polish Jews who existed in the 20th century, when they had no Khazar names, spoke Yiddish and contained numerous Cohens and Levis who could not possibly be of Khazar ancestry (such status is obtained from the patrilineal line and cannot be obtained via conversion). (Frantzman makes this point). I also asked him why he wrote the book – was it for notoriety or was it for money?

He failed to answer. He also failed to answer Richard Millett who pointed out that Hamas was not prepared to give the Jews any land area (Sand had said that the Jews were allocated too much land by the UN in 1947). Richard was heckled – uproar broke out. The meeting ended and I heard Sand got even more loutish later. It is a toss up between Sand and Caryl Churchill (of Seven Jewish Children) as to who distorts Jewish history more.

As Seth Frantzman writes: “If the Jews never really existed then why did Islam and Christianity spend so much time suppressing them?”

59 replies »

  1. Kol hakavod Jonathan. It is a scandal that this vain man can have his rubbish published in 12 languages around the world. No doubt he will be figuring regularly on Comment if Free in the pantheon of revisionist historians as a credible source along with Ilan Pappe.

  2. How is it that he can go virtually unchallenged peddling his lies and that Tel Aviv University can possibly deem him suitable to be a Professor of History when he does not know the meaning of the word and invents his own.

  3. Thank you Jonathan for your very active and able participation in events and their recording.. It is indeed incredible that he is a prof of history at TAU or anywhere at all. That Papalagi is his admirer should have prepared me for much of what I read of him.

    The quotation from his BBC interview was incredible in its racist naivety ” I compare when I am speaking before Arab students the birth of the Israeli state to an act of rape.”

    I have not read his work though I will if I find a second hand copy or can borrow one – I would not directly support someone with the views he apparently disseminates by actually buying his book new.

  4. Well done Jonathan. I wish i could have been there. So, now we have a second class of anti-semtitism. The Jew who has turned against the Jews. The Renegade Jew. The Fifth Column! We Jews have so much freedom of expression in the 21st century that some of our people feel it is time to convince the world that Abraham did not exist. Shlomo Sand would have had a fantastic career in Zsarist Russia as co-suthor of The Elders of Zion.

  5. Sand’s “thesis” that there are no Jews extant who have any ancestral links to ancient Israel and Judea has been comprehensively trashed by DNA studies as described in the critiques linked to by Jonathan. Sand’s way around these last night was to say he found any DNA studies repugnant because racist. He referred with horror to ongoing DNA studies in Israel. By the sound of it, to me the likelihood is these would be for the combating of genetic diseases.

    But then he puts a dishonest gloss on so many issues. The impression some people got from his radio interview was that he supports Israel’s right to exist, but if you read the critiques (I have not had the opportunity to read the book) his concept of Israel is one stripped of any Jewish character. He told us he is “forbidden” to teach or speak within academe on Jewish History, as the department of Jewish History and General History, which is where he teaches are strictly segregated. I would like to hear comment on this from someone within Israeli academe, as it sounds more likely that contractual terms around what he is qualified to teach may be the issue.

  6. Yet again Jonathan, well done for your indefatigable efforts on behalf of UK (and universal) Jewry.

    I also heard Sand on BBC Radio 4 yesterday and was interested to hear him declare he wasn’t anti-Zionist. A glance at his entry on wikipedia tells a different story.

    Add to that he and his parents were Communists of one form or another and you begin to understand the motivation for a person who is happy to disconnect from his origins and then disavow them.

    Judaism is irrelevant to him and so he has no problem insulting those for whom it has relevance. Can you imagine if he called into question the origins of Islam? But then of course he wouldn’t – no money in it, not to mention a severely abbreviated life.

    What IS troubling is that he holds a position of professorship at Tel Aviv University.

  7. I don’t know about anyone else, but the fact that this event and the radio programme took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht has a horrible ring to it in my view. Thank goodness that we have Jonathan Hoffman who never shirks from confronting these public expressions of anti-Semitism, however personally demanding that must be.

  8. It is to it’s disgrace that Tel Aviv University has such a person on it’s staff paid for by the Israeli (Jewish) Taxpayers.

    Perhaps, since both Christianity and Islam are both daughter religions of Judaism then we could also say they should not exist based on Sand’s thesis.

    It is a shame that after 6,000,000 Jews were annihilated we now have such Jews who are self hating Israeli tratiors in our midst.

  9. The Guardian and New Statesman continue to find anti-Semitic Jews who beg their mfellow anti-Semites forgiveness. They take a nobody like Neve Gordon and now this nonentity Sand and make them rich and famous. The New Statesman has a long record of histility to all things Jewish. No wonder this total zero Shlomo Sand works for them now.

  10. Just to reinforce comments above – my sincere admiration for all the work that Jonathan does & I salute his courage. I could not even bear to listen to “Start the Week” yesterday. I wonder whether the Israeli universities that employ hostile “academics” like Sand realise what damage they do to the State of Israel.

  11. There is something so typical of the Israel-haters that when Sand presents his book it is treated as a literary event to be used to bash Israeland he is questioned by the literary Editor of the New Statesman – a man, one might imagine, of strong opinions on the matter, but little knowledge.

    So we had a Professor of French History being questioned by a literary editor about matters which might better be discussed by researchers into DNA and genealogy – perhaps appropriate for what many have come to accept is a work of fiction.

    The reality is far more interesting, and Sand seems to have now scrambled things to a point where it will probably take years to undo the emotions on both sides and actually look at what increasing appears to be the reality.

    DNA research at Hadassah by Professor Ariela Oppenheim, Devorah Filon, and Marina Feyerman has shown strong links between Ashkenazi Jews and many WB Arabs and Bedouin, some of who actually preserve old Jewish rituals similar to those of the “conversos”. In fact, the research has shown that the DNA of many WB Arabs is closer to that of Ashkenazi Jews than to other Arabs. The cause, which is about the only part of Sand’s theory,is that these Arabs are descended from Jews who were forced to convert when the Moslems invaded the area .

    This was all reported in a fascinating broadcast on Israel TV on May 1, 2009. (I transcribed it – it runs to several pages). In one scene, we see an Arab taking out a set of tefillin (phylacteries) from a secret hiding place in his house and explaining that he puts them on when there is sickness in the family or other troubles as a way, he hopes, of curing the ill or overcoming the problem. We see Bedouin women discussing when the proper time is to light Sabbath candles and circumcise their sons, and gravestones in a village with niches for a candle, similar to old Jewish traditions.

    Sand has apparently completely messed up. Instead of taking this research, and using it to show that today’s Ashkenazi Jews are, in fact, directly tied to the land of Israel and represent a coherent group that left the area and maintained their identity for millenia, he somehow drew exactly the opposite conclusion and chased after the Khazar myth, while accepting that many of the WB Arabs are descended from the Jews who remained after the Roman conquest.

    That does not invalidate the fact that the Jews who spread throughout the world and did not convert to Islam are Jewish and derive from ancestors in the land of Israel, mainly from Roman times. The more interesting question is why Arabs who accept that they derive from the Jews have not returned to their original faith now that the threat of the sword has been lifted from their necks.

    So – perhaps the solution to the I/P problem is for the Arabs on the WB to convert back to Judaism and then include Judea and Samaria as part of the State of Israel …

    Just a thought … or at least, for both sides to recognize their common ancestry and agree to live side by side. Where is the WB Shlomo Sand??

    As to why people like Sand or Neve Gordon are employed at Israeli universities – its a mystery greater than trying to unravel the sources of the Jews.

    PS – I am a Cohen and have the gene ..!!

  12. He did not feel qualified to get into the ‘Who Is a Jew?” debate but noted that the Hamas Charter

    Shhhhhhh………Don’t mention the Hamas charter!

    Live long and prosper.

  13. AKUS – that’s fascinating – can you post it on Harrys Place too – my piece was crossposted, thanks.

  14. AKUS
    Very interesting and excellent material for a new approach to Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank indeed! Perhaps Sand has inadvertently done us some good – he’ll be livid if his writings bring people together I imagine.

    Totally agree re Gordon’s and Sand’s employment – unbelievable.

  15. It is also relevant that it appears that Sand is a professor of cinema history and not of history as such. These are different disciplines with different approaches entirely.

  16. Jonathan – thanks for the education about a person apparently dedicated to the “truth”. I have to admit, I would love to hear the real reasons that he wrote this book.

  17. Jonathan, thank you for this. Thanks also for going there and speaking out. I second Irving’s question – did any of the Jewish Board of Dhimmis go along to protest, or was yours the lone voice in the wilderness?

    This farce is yet another version of the anti-Israel muqawama – since her haters cannot destroy her (and it begs questions about the grasp on reality of those haters who actually live in Israel that they should want to do so) by acts of terror and war, and in spite of trying to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist, she is still there, they crank up the hatred and are now arguing that the Jewish people themselves do not exist! (If there is no Jewish people, then why should they need their own country.

    Why has this wretch got tenure of a university in the state he wants destroyed?

    What is it about Israeli historians (even cinema historians – what’s one of those??) that makes them think that they can reinterpret history – well documented history – to suit their warped politics? Sand is neck and neck in the distortion stakes with Ilan Pappe who not only deliberately distorts historiography to suit his own anti-Israel bias, but is proud to say that he does!

    TomWonacott, I doubt that Sand knows what the truth is, much less is he interested in conveying it.

  18. Mitnaged: I owe you an apology and clarification.

    I accepted the description of Sand’s profession without checking. Wiki says that he is a professor of history – which possibly means that he is not head of the department, but a senior lecturer. “His main areas of teaching are nationalism, film as history and French intellectual history.”

  19. margie, a senior lecturer is still in a position of power and presumably his is a permanent post.

    That he lectures in nationalism worries me….

  20. LaCumparsita: “..I wonder whether the Israeli universities that employ hostile “academics” like Sand realise what damage they do to the State of Israel…”

    I doubt it. In any other country or state at war people like this would be slung into prison and the keys thrown away.

  21. Shlomo Sands and others have fallen into the trap of holding that national self determination depends primarily on genetic descent – which is racist, rhymes with fascist… and as they have noted, you can convert in.
    Whether Jews are genetically pure or not, is irrelevant to their right to self determine themselves as Jewish.
    As for the Arabs if they are descended from the pagans of the Land of Canaan then they have converted from animism to Judaism to Christianity to Islam and they are protesting too much about another change.
    It is about time that everybody weeeping crocodile tears over the condition of the Palestine Arabs were honest enough to note they have not helped themselves by persisting in a pointless war and slander campaign. Call off their dogs and the Arabs might find life easier to arrange.

  22. Hawkeye, good analysis for the most part, except when you say “Sand claims that many Jews are descended from Khazars but the genetic research finds no link.” This is not an all-or-nothing debate. There are small genetic links between Khazars and modern Ashkenazi Jews, in the G, Q, and R haplogroups. They just aren’t as large as the Israelite element, and that nullifies Sand’s thesis that Jews aren’t a real people.

    As for your comment on Levites, a large percent of Ashkenazi Levites descend from the East European R1a1 haplogroup. That is hardly found among Sephardi Levites. You can’t explain that without acknowledging there were some people who adopted the Levite status improperly – they were likely Khazar converts.

    It’s all explained in my book “The Jews of Khazaria, Second Edition” (2006) as well as essays at

  23. Jonathan, If I lived in London, I would make the effort to participate in your appearances on ‘enemy territory’.

    Shlomo Sand must be very sick.

  24. Another one last night:

    On 10 November 2009 Amnesty hosted Kathleen and Bill Christison to promote their new book “Palestine in Pieces”. Audience of 60, many young.

    The couple are ex-CIA (30 years ago). The book is published by Pluto Press which specialises in antisemitism having published White’s ‘Israeli Apartheid’. (It was founded by Richard Kuper). BC started with a pean of praise to John Pilger and Counterpoint.

    He followed with the usual defamation of Zionism: conditions in the West Bank have constantly got worse under Zionism (I later pointed out the IMF forecast of 7% growth for this year); “Zionism sweeps everything from its path”; “Zionism has no room for non-Jews”; terrorism in the West is due to the failure to resolve the Palestinian issue. She then spoke with a long reading from the book about an Arab village near Jerusalem.

    “Obama has let us all down abysmally” because he thinks he needs the ‘Israel Lobby’ to win a second term. “Israeli leaders scare Israeli voters” into thinking they are under threat [Me: Ahmadinejad said five times ‘wipe from the map’; BC: You need to look at the inaccurate translation from Farsi….] Me: That is a myth – see

    Q+A: They don’t like J-Street, it is too Zionist; BC thinks there is hope since things might go so wrong in the Middle East or Pakistan that public opinion in the US may turn against Israel.

    In recent weeks Amnesty has also hosted Jeff Halper and Ben White. Who next – David Irving? David Duke?

  25. Everyone familiar with the history Hungary knows that after the occupation and settlement of the Carpathian-basin by the original Hungarian tribes they mixed with the local Slavs. In 1241 about 250 years later the Tatars murdered more than 80% of the population and the empty land has been resettled by relatively small groups of ethnically different people originated from Central-/West-/South-Europe and Asia. Lacking a common language they spoke Hungarian and after a very short time – not more than two-three generations – they became the base of the present Hungarian nation. To make a long story short, Hungarian nationality has almost nothing regarding genetic roots, but instead there is a much stronger bond – language, culture and history.
    Apart from some absolutely fringe neo-Nazi groups in the neighboring countries nobody doubts Hungarian national existence and their rights to the land.
    It could be an interesting experiment publishing a book denying the legitimacy of the Hungarian nation; saying that they are only a rag-tag collection of ethnically different immigrants and to see how many programs in the BBC and how many articles in the Guardian would follow with the enthusiastic support of the “progressive European left”.

  26. Why don’t you write the book, Peter?

    Do you happen to know how far back the Herzl family can trace their roots?
    Some Jews must have been there along with Attila the Hun, no?

  27. Kevin Brook depends on the data of Almut Nebel, who conducted two tests in 2001 and 2005. Doron Behar conducted a survey in 2003. You can compare and contrast their conclusions here:

    A 2001 study by Nebel et al. found Haplogroup R1a chromosomes (called Eu 19 in the paper), which are very frequent in Eastern European populations (54%-60%), at elevated frequency (12.7%) in Ashkenazi Jews. The authors hypothesized that these chromosomes could reflect low-level gene flow into Ashkenazi populations from surrounding Eastern European populations, or, alternatively, that both the Ashkenazi Jews in Haplogroup R1a, and to a greater extent all Eastern European populations in general, might have some partial Khazar ancestry.[47]

    A 2003 study of the Y-chromosome by Behar et al. found that among Ashkenazi Levites, who comprise approximately 4% of Ashkenazi Jews, the prevalence of Haplogroup R1a1 was over 50%. This haplogroup is uncommon in other Jewish groups, but found in high frequencies in eastern European populations. They argued that “it is likely that the event leading to a high frequency of R1a1 NRYs within the Ashkenazi Levites involved very few, and possibly only one, founding father.” They postulated that one likely source of the gene was a “a founder(s) of non-Jewish European ancestry, whose descendents were able to assume Levite status”, and that an alternate “attractive source would be the Khazarian Kingdom, whose ruling class is thought to have converted to Judaism in the 8th or 9th century.” The concluded that “[a]lthough neither the NRY haplogroup composition of the majority of Ashkenazi Jews nor the microsatellite haplotype composition of the R1a1 haplogroup within Ashkenazi Levites is consistent with a major Khazar or other European origin, as has been speculated by some authors (Baron 1957; Dunlop 1967; Ben-Sasson 1976; Keys 1999), one cannot rule out the important contribution of a single or a few founders among contemporary Ashkenazi Levites.”[48]

    A 2005 study by Nebel et al., based on Y chromosome polymorphic markers, showed that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to their local neighbouring populations in Europe. However, 11.5% of male Ashkenazim were found to belong to Haplogroup R1a1 (R-M17), the dominant Y chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europeans, suggesting possible gene flow between the two groups. The authors hypothesized that “R-M17 chromosomes in Ashkenazim may represent vestiges of the mysterious Khazars”. They concluded “However, if the R-M17 chromosomes in Ashkenazi Jews do indeed represent the vestiges of the mysterious Khazars then, according to our data, this contribution was limited to either a single founder or a few closely related men, and does not exceed ~ 12% of the present-day Ashkenazim.[49]

    Also, Kevin, you seem to write for I’ve heard rumours that is a far-right or neo-Nazi site, Russian or otherwise. Could you please confirm what it is, please, and who runs or contributes to it?

    Thank you.

  28. zkharya

    Very interesting.

    Question to Kevin also very interesting.

    Kevin. Your reply would be welcome.

  29. Zkharya: I have referenced both Doron Behar’s study and Almut Nebel’s study, as well as others. The issue of potential Khazar inputs goes beyond merely R1a1, which could be Slavic (perhaps from East Slavs living in Khazaria i.e. ancestors of Ukrainians). You need to address how 5% of Ashkenazic men got the haplogroup Q-P36, which is Central Asian in origin. is run by myself. I’m entirely Ashkenazic and pro-Israel and a long-time libertarian. My colleague Brian Gottesman, whose CV also appears at my site, is also Ashkenazic and pro-Israel. We have no Nazi sympathies at all. I have worked with rabbis, Jewish scientists, Jewish genealogists, and Jewish historians and have contributed articles to Jewish publications of many kinds. See my CV at and the about page at

    Fairplay: Jews lived in Hungary since before the Magyars (Hungarians) arrived there.

  30. Fairplay

    I’m not a historian and my knowledge about the ancient history of Hunagary is pretty superficial, but in according to some researchers one group of the invading Hungarian tribes included many Khazars of Jewish faith.
    Whether it is true or not I have no idea.

    Why don’t you write the book, Peter?

    Because fortunately in all of my life I succeded survive financially without being an intellectual prostitute.

  31. Kevin,

    For what it’s worth, I’ve come across your interest in Khazaria for as long as the Internet has been around and can confirm that you are serious in your research.

    Now, the fact that some of our Ashkenazi ancestors may be of Khazar or any other non-Israelite stock isn’t contested. It’s for academics to prove or disprove it. The only thing that worries some of us is that this may lend itself to anti-Israeli propaganda inasmuch as Arabs like to say that Israelis today have no directly tracable connection with Eretz Yisrael.
    We know how they love to use Koestler, Freud, or any other lukewarm Jews as cannon fodder against us.

    Anyway, so what? Sincere converts have always been welcome. Jews didn’t go round forcing their neighbours to convert on pain of death. Besides which, it was a long time ago and Jews have continued to turn to Zion in their prayers and indeed to live in the land of Israel in small communities since time immemorial. Today’s Palestinians are the descendants of a motley bunch of Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Bosnians – among others – with no ancient country or specifically local historical connection to the land of Israel compared to ours.

    As for Shlomo Sand, what an idiot ! We Jews are pretty good at producing geniuses but when it comes to self-hating, we’re also the best…

  32. Peter,

    You must be familiar with the work of Ephraim Kishon. Maybe you could write some satirical essays along those lines?

  33. PeterTheHungarian – Because fortunately in all of my life I succeded survive financially without being an intellectual prostitute.

    Wow Peter.

    FairPlay didn’t deserve that.

  34. zkharya, Kevin:

    There seem to be two types of Khazaria students:
    1. Reputable individuals such as Koestler and Marek Halter who are not anti-Semitic and simply wish to study the history.
    2. Anti-Semites and Arabs who try to claim Ashkenazim to be completely Khazarian, not Mideastern.

    Brook seems to be in group 1. He has even published articles in the Encyclopaedia of Judaism. (DNA has shown Koestler wrong, but Koestler was speculating pre-DNA and he certainly wasn’t anti-Semitic.)

    Brook’s comments are mostly correct, except for the number 20% as Ashkenazim’s Khazarian genetic heritage. Most studies put it at << 5%.

    Rest easy, zkharya. I think Brook is on the level (neither conspiracist nor anti-Semite).

  35. Fairplay: Actually about half of West Bank Palestinians descend from Israelites who converted to Islam. Sand is actually right about that point. I’m not sure about the origins of the other half of West Bank Palestinians.

    I tend to think Gaza Palestinians could be Egyptians.

    P.S. Marek Halter is terrific.

  36. Actually about half of West Bank Palestinians descend from Israelites who converted to Islam

    How can one possibly estimate that? Other ethnicities in the area, from Edomites to Phoenicians, would have been indistinguishable genetically.

    The most one might show is the proprtion of Palestinians descended from “local” tribes and the proportion descended from populations frther east.

  37. I’m not very familiar with the origin of West Bank Arabs, but Jews and Arabs, of course, share a common genetic inheritance.

    What is important today is that Israel must remain a separate Jewish nation living ( hopefully in peace ) alongside her Arab neighbours.

    Hungarian or Spanish Christians could no doubt delve back to their partially Jewish ancestry, but even that wouldn’t stop many of them from being inveterate antisemites as we well know.

  38. Thanks, Kevin. I’ve visited quite a few times, but I wasn’t sure.

    Over at HP, I linked to this article, by Ellen Levy-Coffman, which addresses other haplotypes, plus mtDNA (but it kept going into the spam bin, Gene tells me). These are among the most interesting parts:


    However, the proposal that R1a1 originated with a single founder event early in the Diaspora has become increasingly unlikely as research on Jewish DNA progresses. Since R1a1 is spread fairly evenly in haplotype distribution and frequency throughout the Ashkenazi populations from various countries (Germany, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine), then the founders must have entered the community either before it expanded and spread to Eastern Europe, or merged separately into both eastern and western Ashkenazi groups. However, Nebel (2005) is forced to assert an extremely early TMRCA due to his belief that R1a1 must have originated with a single founder or very small group of founders. In order for R1a1 to reach its high frequency (12%) among the Ashkenazim from a single founder, a very early date must be proposed for the introgression of this haplogroup. Under this scenario, R1a1 entered the Jewish community when it was extremely small and in its formative stage. Gene flow from a single R1a founder at this early stage would likely have a huge impact on the expanding Ashkenazi population.

    However, it appears that the most recently revised mutational dating techniques lend support to Behar’s (2003) later date when applied to Jewish R1a1 haplotypes. If we assume that R1a1 entered the Jewish community around 1300 CE, then there would need to be enough founders to leave a 12% genetic impact on the population. Given that the Ashkenazi population at that time is estimated to be approximately 25,000 persons, it would be nearly impossible for a single founder to make such a significant genetic impact (Behar et al. 2004b). Adopting this conservative estimate of 25,000 persons, approximately two to three thousand R1a1 males probably entered the Ashkenazi community between the 12th-13th centuries.

    Haplotype Q

    Interestingly, there are no historical accounts of any large scale conversions or Eastern European groups entering the Jewish community at this time – except the Khazars.

    The extremely low haplotype diversity of Ashkenazi Q supports the argument of a small number of closely-related founders merging with the Ashkenazim while they still resided primarily in Western Europe, but not significantly earlier in their formation, since a longer time span would result in more haplotype diversity. It does not support the contention that Q is Israelite in origin, or that the founders merged into the Jewish population much earlier in the Diaspora. Assuming the Ashkenazi population consisted of approximately 25,000 individuals around 1200-1300 CE, then approximately 1000-1500 Q individuals became part of the Ashkenazi population at that time.

    Here’s a R1a distribution map, for those interested:

  39. “Actually about half of West Bank Palestinians descend from Israelites who converted to Islam”

    That might be true. It also might be true that they descend from neighbouring peoples who moved into the region after the ethnic cleansings under Vespasian and Hadrian, peoples who were already closely related to Judean Jews anyway. Cassius Dio says 100s of 1000s of Jews were killed in the suppression of the second Jewish revolt, 100s of villages destroyed. This was ethnic cleansing by any standard.

    By the fourth century, the majority of those south of the Galil are Graeco-Roman or Greco-Aramaean pagans or Christians. The first Christian Aramaic works appear in the fifth-sixth century i.e. very late: up to then Greek is the language of culture. Palestinian Christian Aramaic evolves from pagan,not Jewish Aramaic, from the Jordan valley. That fits the pattern of neighbouring peoples moving into the vacuum caused by the suppressions of Vespasian and Hadrian (in which, Josephus and Tacitus tell us, neighbouring Syrian gentiles participated). It is heavily influenced by Greek, which is the language of their scriptures and liturgy (the Nabateans stopped writting Aramaic and fully adopted Greek by the third century). The single largest Palestinian Aramaic work of which I can think is still the Jerusalem Talmud (unless you count Syriac as an evolved form of Palestinian Christian Aramaic -but that’s a stretch, all the way to Edessa).

    Palestinian pagans and Christians are living as citizens in Greco-Roman poleis, or in satelite towns and villages (Helena’s program of church building was also a program of colonization, since churches would form the nuclei of new communities). But they may well be in large part “Syrian” genetically speaking. The Jews concentrate in the north, since that is where the majority of refugees went, after the destruction of Jerusalem, its founding as a pagan, then Christian, colony, and the banning of Jews from the city and its environs.

    Up to the fourth century the pagan Roman imperial authorities think the loss of Jerusalem and Jewish state, and ethnic cleansing, enough to be going on with, and leave the Jews relatively alone. They prosper somewhat. The Christians have other ideas, and gradually enact more repressive legislation (albeit imperfectly executed).

    It was my understanding that the group to which Ashkenazim Y chromosomes were closest were Palestinian Arab, while the group to which Palestinian Arab were closest were Bedouin.

  40. George Galloway, Birmingham University:

    To those who believed that the Israeli state was the natural and just creation for a Jewish people exiled from their homeland in biblical times and wandering rootless ever since, Galloway said this was a fable, and a ridiculous one at that. Highlighting a new book by the leading Israeli historian Sholomo Sand, ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’, he said Jewish claims to a 2,000 year old lineage that justified theft of Palestinian land had about the same credabilty as the ‘descendents of the Romans, Normans, and Vikings’ laying claim on Britain today.

    Oslo had been a disaster for the Palestinians and Zionist aggression has killed the possibility of a two-state solution. The only solution was now a single state, called either ‘Israel/Palestine or Palestine/Israel and running from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea’ in which all people are entitled to live as equal citizens under the law.

  41. Shlomo Sand’s agent.

    Well. I don’t know who you are.

    But your writings make the point that Shlomo Sands set out to ‘prove’ a previously existing political opinion by distorting proven facts to fit his perverted mind set.

  42. @Frank Adam

    “Shlomo Sands and others have fallen into the trap of holding that national self determination depends primarily on genetic descent – which is racist, rhymes with fascist… and as they have noted, you can convert in.
    Whether Jews are genetically pure or not, is irrelevant to their right to self determine themselves as Jewish.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with your point. Just as anti-semites will attempt to blind us with genetics to prove their point, we should not stoop to their level in defending the Jews’ right to a history. This guy is almost (not quite) not worth arguing with.

  43. I heard Shlomo Sand on BBC with Andrew Marr. He was very clear that he had researched carefully and could find no references to the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem. It seems strange that a professor of history couldn’t find his answers in Josephus. I suggest he get a copy of Josephus – the Jewish War online – I have been looking through it again and it is very clear that the Jews were there and that the Romans slaughtered them and forced them to convert or pay taxes – evidence if there were any that the Jews occupied that area and that they were expelled in terms of not being allowed to freely be Jews.

    The man is a fool and like Goldstone is unaware of the damage he is causing not only to Israel and the Jews, but to the West in general in these times when Western democracy is under extreme threat of an imperialistic ideology.

    I suggest that those who relish in Sand’s news of the non existence of the Jews as a nation look to their own future existence and where their allegiances should lie if they wish their civilisation to prevail.