Zionism: Protestant Tosh.

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, October 3rd, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: International, israel, Propaganda, racism, religion, Zionism - Tags: ,

I’m willing to bet, that like me, you assumed Zionism was rooted within Judaism. But it isn’t. In fact, Zionism was opposed by Jewish communities to the extent that the first Zionist Congress of 1897 had to moved from Munich to Basel because of pressure from Munich’s Orthodox and Reform rabbis.

But that’s 1897, and Zionism has a history of some hundreds of years going back tho the Protestant Reformation. Back then (around the 1600’s) millenarian Protestants got this idea in their heads that the second coming of Christ would happen when Jews who inhabited the spiritual birth place of Judaism and Christianity converted to Christianity.

I’m going to skip past how that might have fed into persecution of European Jews and merely note that the Protestant’s ideas revolved around religious conversion – ie, Protestants and Jews alike viewed Judaism as a religion – something that can be converted to and converted from.

In the late 1800’s racialism was all the rage. This was the idea, stemming from liberalism incidentally,  that humanity could be split off into different races; that each race had definable characteristics with one being superior or inferior to another and so on…and that all would be better off if each kept to their own. Today, we see these basic ideas gaining a bit of credence among liberal fundamentalists (people like Laura Southern, Stefan Molyneux, Richard Spencer and others). The interesting bit is that these people see Israel as being a blueprint for what they might be able to achieve in terms of having a racially segregated world. So if you ever wondered why known anti-Semites and white supremacists drape themselves in Israeli flags and attend counter protests that are held in opposition to Palestinian rallies in the west, and why they are generally supportive of Israel, well… now you have a wee bit of heads up.

Theodor Herzl, officially referred to as “the spiritual father of the Jewish State”, is generally regarded as the principle mover behind the promotion of Jews as a race. He died in 1904 at the age of 44. The appeal to anti-Semites, of this idea of a Jewish race, is pretty straight forward. They didn’t like Jews (their believes) and if a so-called Jewish State could be founded, then they could rid themselves of their Jewish populations. Remember Balfour – the guy who’s famous for the Balfour Declaration that was to provide a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine? Well, in 1905 he had also passed the Aliens Act that barred the entry into Britain of Eastern European Jews who were fleeing pogroms at the time. Nice guy.

But things get better. Remember how Ken Livingston was forced to resign from the UK Labour Party for saying that Hitler supported Zionism? Well, Hitler and the Nazi Party did support Zionism. There’s no two ways about it. Every racist and anti-Semite, then as now, supported Zionism. The relationship between Zionists and the Holocaust is pretty damned murky, and I’m not going to go down that path in this post beyond mentioning the Jim Allen play “Perdition” that was to have been produced by Ken Loach back in 1987. In the words of Ken Loach

“As its first director, I can say that the essential story the play tells – of collaboration of some Zionists with the Nazis in Budapest in 1944 – was not challenged and stands as historical fact.”

Here’s a link to a half hour TV programme “Diverse Reports” that offered up a two sided and somewhat messy debate on the play. Draw your own conclusions.

Okay, I’m probably trying to cover far too much ground for a single post. If you’re still here, I’m nearly finished. I mentioned that white supremacists were lending support to pro Zionist rallies. Here’s two links to do with that. The first is to The Canary that reported on known white supremacists draping themselves in Israeli flags for a protest on alleged anti-Semitism within the UK Labour Party. The second is to a Real News Network piece on a strange chain of events that saw the person who highlighted the presence of white supremacists at a counter rally after they had called for the death of Canada’s PM, then labeled as an anti-Semite by none less than Justin Trudeau himself.

I don’t have the space to touch on the political relationships Netanyahu is forging with known anti-Semites, such as Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban or the Israeli arms sales to Ukrainian neo-Nazis (and yes, I use that term advisedly). And I don’t have the space to get into Netanyahu’s ridiculous notion that he speaks for all Jews. That’s all Jews, no matter their nationality.

But if you want to run with this stuff and maybe get a bit of a handle on the history of Zionism and its relationship to Judaism, then I’d suggest the following presentation by Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro as a pretty good place to start. He’s an Orthodox Jew who rejects the Zionist notion of a Jewish race. His presentation is long at one and a half hours, but well worth the time.

30 comments on “Zionism: Protestant Tosh.”

  1. Brutus Iscariot 1

    Makes sense. Israel’s Achilles Heel is demographics – it desperately needs an advantage in this area, which can only be achieved by the encouragement (by whatever means) of Jewish migration to the Holy Land.

  2. Kate 2

    Great piece, I’ve been reading about this recently – about the conflation of Zionism and the state of Israel with Judaism and Jewish identity. These things have never been a solid composite, as you say. Jews have as many opinions on Judaism, for example, as nominal Christians. And Zionism used to be anti Judaic thought (the Messiah was supposed to bring about the return to Israel, not a bunch of terrorists) hence its early unpopularity.
    Modern day Israel could only have come about as the result of the Holocaust, and suited anti-semites very well at the time as it does today.

  3. Ed 3

    Thanks Bill.
    Another thought-provoking post.

    It is Christian fundamentalists who cheer loudest for Israel.

    “Armageddon? Bring It On: The Evangelical Force Behind Trump’s Jerusalem Speech
    The U.S. evangelical community is in raptures over Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, believing it moves the world closer to Armageddon.:

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-armageddon-bring-it-on-the-evangelical-force-behind-trump-s-jerusalem-speech-1.5628081

  4. Great post, Bill, though I have one substantial quibble.

    There’s no evidence Hitler supported Zionism, however he did briefly deal with a Zionist group for his own advantage.

    In the early thirties the Nazis offered Jews the option of fleeing Germany with some assets. Hitler did this because in 1933 he did not have total power.

    This escape path was partially negotiated with the organisation representing German Zionists, however it’s a stretch to say that means he had any opinion on Zionism at all. It was mere conveniance.

    For Hitler, it was just an opportunity to rid Germany of people he didn’t like in the brief period before he assumed total control of the state.

    This is actually the mistake that Ken Livingston made. He conflated an isolated political deal made at a time of a mounting reign of terror, but while Germany was still nominally democratic, with some sort of Nazi approval of Zionism. That’s simply not the reality.

    • Bill 4.1

      If the Nazis (and by extension Hitler) didn’t support the concept of Zionism, then it would make the Nazi’s and Hitler unique among anti-Semites of the time.

      Zionism was seen as an opportunity by various governments (not just the Nazi government of Germany) to rid themselves of their Jewish communities.

      And on the flip side, anti-Semitism was something that Zionists capitalised on as a way to get their “Jewish state” up and running.

      As I said in the post, the relationship between Zionism and those out to persecute Jews is really damned murky. (There was certainly more to Zionist and Nazi dealings than some “brief deal” in ’33)

      Apart from the Rezső Kastner affair that the Jim Allen play was about (links in the post), if you read through the very first link, (or listen to the audio from about the 40min mark) there’s quite a lot in there about the ’33 deal you mention and the relationship between Adolf Eichmann (hanged in ’62) and Zionists in the late ’30s. (He traveled to Palestine in ’37 and options for more Jewish migration from Germany were explored).

      • Dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Its best to see Wikipedia in these instances as a starting point to discuss but they do point out things that have been long forgotten, except as briefly mentioned above.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

        The Haavara Agreement (Hebrew: הסכם העברה Translit.: heskem haavara Translated: “transfer agreement”) was an agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933. The agreement was finalized after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. It was a major factor in making possible the migration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine in 1933–1939

        I cant see how this agreement would have been done without Hitlers knowledge and approval as by mar 1933 he had powers to rule without the Reichstag, so TRP is a bit out about the timing

        ‘ 1 April, the NSDAP organized a nationwide boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in Germany; under the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which was implemented on 7 April, Jews were excluded from the civil service; on 25 April, quotas were imposed on the number of Jews in schools and universities. ‘

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          Fully agree about the usefulness and limitations of Wikipedia. It’s good for uncontentious stuff like names, dates and places, but suspect as hell when it comes to interpretations or analysis.

          I’ve been rabbit holing on this stuff somewhat since Morrisey posted the RealNews link on “Daily Review” a week or so back. The Nazi Germany stuff is a kind of side issue to the nature and intent of Zionism, and I wonder if some people who protest any accommodation between the two ideologies do so out of some belief that ZIonism is somehow good, and therefor Zionists couldn’t possibly have had any dealings with Nazis.

          Whatever the accuracy or otherwise of that thought, Zionists would have sought to create a state in the Middle East, regardless of Nazism, and regardless of the Holocaust.

          Their motivation was nationalism and (if Rabbi Shapiro’s arguments and illustrations are anything to go by) entrenched anti-Semitism.

          Herzl was definitely quite explicit in blaming the presence of Jews for anti-Semitism. And many prominent Zionists, as evinced by their writings, were utterly disdainful towards Judaism.

          Which casts a ‘certain light’ on the whole push from some quarters, for organisations like the UK Labour Party to adopt an IHRA definition of anti-Semitism that conflates Israel, Zionism and Judaism…

        • te reo putake 4.1.1.2

          Hitler didn’t consolidate power until 1934, Duke. He was still operating under the pretence of democracy in 1933.

          • Dukeofurl 4.1.1.2.1

            That’s why I said he was operating by decree without out the Reichstag since Mar 33 and mentioned the anti Jewish actions all before the death of Hindenburg in Aug 34. Democracy ended well before that date.
            Having agreement with the Zionist Federation of Germany which continued to 1938 certainly suited him at the time.

  5. joe90 5

    Funny how these things are always wrapped up with the notion of your own superiority.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Israelism

    • Bill 5.1

      heh 🙂 One of the highest profile members was William Massey, then Prime Minister of New Zealand.

  6. Its also worth noting Chomsky’s take on all this. Chomsky being a Zionist who acknowledges that his definition of Zionism would be considered by most as anti-Zionism these days, which just goes to show how these concepts morph and mutate over time.

    In this interview he discusses his involvement with the Zionist movement which was opposed to a Jewish state.

    “The group that I was interested in was bi-nationalist. And that was not so small. A substantial part of the Kibbutz movement, for example, Hashomer Hatzair, was at least officially anti-state, calling for bi-nationalism. And the groups I was connected with were hoping for a socialist Palestine based on Arab-Jewish, working-class cooperation in a bi-national community: no state, no Jewish state, just Palestine

    https://chomsky.info/20111107/

    • Bill 6.1

      I still can’t quite get my head around the idea of transforming a religious identity into a nationalistic identity – regardless of the politics pursued or espoused. Jews lived ‘everywhere’ and spoke ‘every’ language…their only commonality was their religious belief.

  7. Yes its a fact that many Orthodox Jews, the Rabbis reject Zionism. Zionism has many definitions, and just as many sun sets…

    But there is a particular strain of Zionism that is virulent and has nothing to do with Jews or even Israel- pan Zionism. And this is where many get confused,- it has more to do with globalism and the super banks than any one nation, – in fact it views strong sovereign nation states as an impediment. Thus we see how far right wing capitalism and far right movements can easily be bedfellows.

    This character , – and the Masonic movement have a lot to answer for , – and members of the Rothschild family (Meyer Amschel Rothschild ) ‘that were his patrons…

    Jacob Frank – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Frank

    And it was this meeting that paved the way for the fall of many European monarchy’s and later on , – two world wars…

    The 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad: The Illuminati Takeover
    https://www.biblebelievers.org.au/wilhelms.htm

    In essence, we are talking about a bunch of bored toffs who had too much time, too much cash and too much power on their hands , – and they wanted to increase it. And after the fall of the Knights Templar and their banking system ( 14th century ) , it passed on to the Jesuits, and later still , – certain European Jews who were forbidden to be land owners developed shrewd business and banking/ lending facility’s, and, certain family’s like the Rothschild’s gained immense power through lending to govts for the war effort against Napoleon. So much so that they – though continental Europeans were given titles in England.

    ( That family financed BOTH SIDES in world war two much later on.)

    It was the Rothschild’s again who financed the building of the Knesset and the Supreme court of Israel…

    SATANIC ROTHSCHILD ISRAELI SUPREME COURT – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6Xte5wo6w8

    So we see ‘Zionism’ means different things to different people. Zionism can even be interpreted as a form of nationalism. There’s nothing wrong with that if it is moderate and inclusive, is not expansionist nor oppressing groups within or without that nation…but it is a dangerous thing if one small group or individual calls the shots and there are no checks and balances…and we see all of the above perpetrated on Israels neighbors and nationals…

    Its been coined ‘ Rothschild Zionism ‘,… and its a totally different animal than mere national patriotism,…in fact it has nothing to do with that and everything to do with globalism, the global economy , and manipulating nations finances…and thus creating wars and power blocks to effect an overall global governance , with regions then having a designated local ‘governance’ ,… with the idea of the sovereign state being greatly diminished.

    Hence the proliferation and emphasis of Free Trade deals over the last few decades , – and nations having to forgo sovereign decisions in order to participate , – or be left out.

    And lets never forget the words of George Bush Senior and his ‘ New World Order’…. ” that no one will stand against our ‘thousand points of light”…

  8. RedLogix 8

    In the late 1800’s racialism was all the rage. This was the idea, stemming from liberalism incidentally, that humanity could be split off into different races; that each race had definable characteristics with one being superior or inferior to another and so on…and that all would be better off if each kept to their own.

    I was always taught that if you’re going to understand history you have to be able to place yourself in the intellectual and moral context of the times in question. I’ve always been very wary of judging prior generations by the thinking of our own. In the 1800’s the nations and cultures were still highly differentiated and the above quote would have not looked so very unreasonable as it does to us now. We forget that it was the advent of the B747 which made all destinations equally accessible, also tended to make them all equally the same. Cultural difference in our era is far less pronounced than the huge gulfs that confronted anyone who traveled anywhere prior to say WW1.

    Of course the idea was a mistake, but an understandable one. Four or five hundred years of remarkably successful European expansion presented to the Victorian and Edwardian mind a clear picture of a superiority …. that many mis-attributed to race. It was really only when this mistake was taken to it’s logical extreme by the Nazi’s that it’s falsity was finally exposed and properly understood.

    But at the same time we cannot discard the idea of cultural differentiation either. It’s real and most people still place a very high value on the culture they grew up in. (Except of course Westerners who are encouraged to shit upon their heritage at every possible turn, but that’s a different story.)

    Yet as much as some would seem to wish, there is no winding the clock back to the time where every nation and peoples could more or less find their own patch of dirt on the face of the planet to call their ‘own’. Culture has become less about physical territory and more about an inner identity. A people scattered over the globe cannot be destroyed by invasion, but can be fatally undermined by a disrespect, denigration and neglect of their own heritage.

    Nor are any of these identities fixed in aspic, solidified at a particular moment in time, never to change. Culture is not innate, rather a set of social habits and attitudes which, like individuals themselves, retain an inner core which is relatively fixed, and an outer manifestation which adapts over time to a changing world.

    • Bill 8.1

      Why are you responding to a paragraph about race with an argument about culture?

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        Fair enough. In my modern mind race (at least as a genetic construct) is a very minor consideration, barely worth thinking about. But in the 1800’s people thought very differently, the notion of culture taking a distant second place to the far more prominent idea of race.

        Therefore it’s not at all surprising that at the time Zionism arose it was framed in terms of a ‘manifest racial destiny’. Such a phrase offends our modern minds, but would have been perfectly unremarkable at the time.

        • Poission 8.1.1.1

          In the late 1800’s racialism was all the rage. This was the idea, stemming from liberalism incidentally, that humanity could be split off into different races; that each race had definable characteristics with one being superior or inferior to another and so on…and that all would be better off if each kept to their own.

          The formative problem was neo darwinism ie the misinterpretation of Darwinism,

          In George William Hunter’s textbook Civic Biology (the text from the scope trial)

          the following arguments.

          The Races of Man. – At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; The American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America. …

          Parasitism and its Cost to Society. – Hundreds of families such as those described above exist today, spreading disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country. The cost to society of such families is very severe. Just as certain animals or plants become parasitic on other plants or animals, these families have become parasitic on society. They not only do harm to others by corrupting, stealing, or spreading disease, but they are actually protected and cared for by the state out of public money. Largely for them the poorhouse and the asylum exist. They take from society, but they give nothing in return. They are true parasites.

          The Remedy. – If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civic_Biology

          https://www.gutenberg.org/files/39969/39969-h/39969-h.htm (pg 249)

          Or that live and let live did not apply to carrying on,or the worst of neo darwinism The Allmacht of natural selection applied rigorously to human life ,society and kultur

          Vernon Kellog headqurater nights (pg 22)

          https://archive.org/details/headquarters00kell/page/22

          There is a good discussion by Stephan jay Gould in bully for brontosaurus.

    • Brilliant stuff , RedLogix.

      So many pertinent points,- and it is indeed unfair to arrogantly look through current worldviews and sit in judgement on generations who lived decades, hundreds or even thousands of years before…

      And I like this best kept secret:

      … ” (Except of course Westerners who are encouraged to shit upon their heritage at every possible turn, but that’s a different story.)”…

      A case in point is this lesser known fact:

      During around the 8th century ( if memory serves) the Muslim empire was attempting a pincer movement invasion of Europe… a large army went north and west and attacked through Poland / Germany /Balkans etc… while another large army went west across the Mediterranean and on into Portugal and Spain. But it was the Germanic infantry men ( Lombard’s , if I recall correctly ) who checked the Islamic cavalry advance and sent them retreating back into the Spanish / Portuguese borders.

      So were they simply western infidel butchering heathen prototypes for the crusaders? , – or were they a sovereign post Roman empire peoples who now governed the lands of Europe and were merely protecting their culture , their faith and their heritage – and family’s?

      Obviously the latter.

      So what would have happened if they hadn’t? The world would have looked entirely different than it does today. In other words, we have them to thank in some ways for that ancient critical battle where men lost their lives in defense of their homelands and their culture – for better or for worse. And it was no less threatening to them and their way of life than it was as if Hitler had managed to have invaded England.

      Some folk take a pride of their heritage, others accuse some of not knowing theirs… On my fathers side,- it goes back to the 9th century with the Norse invasions of Northern Scotland ( Clann Gunn ) , on my mothers – it goes back to the 8th century gravestone in Yorkshire with the Anglo / Germanic name Hildrescythe ( Battle fought on a hill ).

      So yes,… just wanted to give a shout out about that very important attitude of looking at the historical context, prevalent attitudes and the economic and political climate of the day before we sit in judgement on former generations.

    • Bill 9.1

      That was an incredibly comprehensive comment swordfish. I was wondering about having missed it and then saw it was from four years back. Thanks for taking the trouble to dig it out and link.

    • D'Esterre 9.2

      Swordfish: ” I made some similar points here”

      This is a great piece; I passed it on to a relative whose knowledge in this area is pretty good. Their response: brilliant! About sums it up, in my view.

      Said relative remarked: “Re holocaust survivors being scorned as weaklings, embarrassments to the muscular ideals of the new Israel, I believe Uri Avnery wrote on the subject. Though I believe he said Israelis felt that way about diaspora Jews in general.”

      I’d read somewhere that many Russian Jews from the diaspora of the late 70s – early 80s had subsequently returned to Russia. Aforementioned relative has said that Israeli contempt for diaspora Jews was part of the reason; but also that some found they were more Russian than Jew. So much for Zionism….

      • Bill 9.2.1

        Yaakov Shapiro (a vid link in the post) pulls out numerous quotes in presentations from leading ZIonists that are unmistakably anti-Semitic – some not at all distinguishable from stuff said by Hitler.

        One of the points he makes is that since Zionism had no available concept of what might constitute “Jewish” in a national or cultural sense – nothing to build on – they simply went for the opposite of those things seen to be Jewish in terms of religious traits or markers. And that was where the “muscle Jew” came into the picture.

        Some questions.

        Why, when a lot of Eastern European Jews spoke Yiddish, wasn’t Yiddish taken as the national language of Israel? Why did the Zionists take ancient Hebrew – a religious language in a similar vein to how Latin is a religious language for Catholics – and make it ‘modern by way of bastardising it’? (If they were going to ‘cast back in time’ for a language spoken by Jews in the Middle East, then Aramaic would have been the logical choice.

        Why, when Zionists had control over how the British quota for immigration into Palestine was allocated, didn’t they allocate a huge proportion of that quota to German Jews during the 30s? (They rejected huge numbers of German Jews who applied to migrate).

        What would a secular Catholic be? Or a secular Protestant? Or a secular Hindu? So, why secular Jew?

        What would the general reaction be if Nicola Sturgeon (First minister of Scotland) went on the international stage and claimed to speak for all Scots (but not all people living in Scotland)? And further, not just Scots like me who were born in Scotland but lived elsewhere, but anyone and everyone who was deemed (somehow) to in any way have some Scottish heritage or connection? (Queen of the Scots?) I think she’d be carted off 🙂 Yet, Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed to speak for all Jews.

        Finally. The Zionists went on about the lack of Jewish art and Jewish architecture and so on…anyone know what Catholic art or Protestant architecture is? There have been painters and designers and artists of all sorts “since forever”, …and they may have been Jewish, or Catholic or whatever in their religion, but they’re generally referred to by their nationality, not their religion – ie, Dutch painters, or German designers, Spanish architects etc.

        • D'Esterre 9.2.1.1

          Bill: “Why, when a lot of Eastern European Jews spoke Yiddish, wasn’t Yiddish taken as the national language of Israel? Why did the Zionists take ancient Hebrew…”

          Indeed. In fact, Aramaic would’ve made more sense, given that it is still spoken in parts of the ME; back then, there would’ve been many more speakers.

          I suppose there’s a sort of logic in not using Yiddish, if they were turning away from anything seen as being too Jewish, especially in Europe. But Hebrew: they couldn’t get much more Jewish.

          “…. So, why secular Jew?”

          It’s a meaningless term, unless “Jew” is regarded as being a marker of ethnicity. So we fetch up at Zionism. It’s an indication of the extent to which that particular piece of propagandisation has been successful, at least in the West. The term “secular Jew” is commonly heard. I’ve read somewhere that many Israeli Jews don’t practise their religion; such people are considered to be secular Jews.

          Likewise Jewish art, science, literature and so on: such a characterisation makes sense only if Jewishness is seen as ethnicity.

          I’m aware that Jewishness is determined through the maternal line: if one’s mother is Jewish, then one is also Jewish. I assume that this idea has Zionist underpinnings. It certainly doesn’t apply to other religions, such as Catholicism.

          “Yet, Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed to speak for all Jews.”

          Which comes from a Zionist perspective. He can make that sort of claim if he believes that all Jews belong to one ethnic group.

          • Bill 9.2.1.1.1

            The mess of contradictions that come from trying to transform a religious identity into an ethnic or national identity is just that – a mess of contradictions.

            The maternal and paternal lineage is just more evidence that the Zionist stuff is a crock. According to Shapiro, tribal or cultural identity was and is determined by paternal lineage, while Jewish religious identity depends on the maternal lineage.

            I can’t quite grasp it, but I guess a child of a Jewish mother and gentile father doesn’t have to convert to Judaism, whereas a child of a gentile mother and Jewish father does.

            Meanwhile, it’s the fathers name, cultural identity (and all the rest of it) that passes to the child – ie, the only inheritance that the child receives from the mother is Judaism,

            Which really messes with the Zionist idea of Jewishness.

            • D'Esterre 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Bill: “…trying to transform a religious identity into an ethnic or national identity…”

              I’ve been having another think about this Zionism business, so I’ve ducked back to this thread. Bearing in mind the generally-recognised groups of Jews – Ashkenazi and so on – and also remembering a paper I read at uni many years ago – are those groups markers of a distinct ethnicity?

              The reason I ask is because of Tay-Sachs disease, one of a group of lysosomal storage disorders. It’s rare in the general population, but more common among Ashkenazi Jews and some other ethnic groups.

              The paper I read concerned the big effort Jews had put into eradicating this awful disease, from the time that screening for it first became available in the early 70s. They’ve been successful, at least in the New York area, and I believe elsewhere.

              Tay-Sachs is a recessive genetic disorder; I don’t know what its prevalence is among other Jews. But when such disorders are overrepresented in a particular group, it’s usually in what we think of as ethnic minorities. The persistence may be driven by marrying within the group. Which wouldn’t be surprising.

              There are other genetic disorders which are prevalent in some ethnic minorities. Around the Mediterranean, it’s thalassemia alpha and beta. Sickle cell disease is another associated with particular ethnicities, primarily sub-Sahara Africans, but also some groups in South India and the Arabian peninsula.

              So: maybe the notion of Jewish ethnic identity is plausible?

              And apropos Israel and Zionism, this link is interesting. Including the comment thread, if you haven’t seen it:
              https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/05/the-trouble-with-preventing-palestine/#comments

              • Bill

                Ashkenazi Jews is the name given to Jews who settled around Germany and France as opposed to other places, yes? And who later migrated east “because persecution”.

                So if we go with geography, then is an Ashkenazi Jew any different that say a German protestant and an English one? Or (allowing for migration) protestants in the US who might trace their roots to England and Germany respectively?

                Genetic disorders and intermarriage…if a Protestant population within a Catholic country had been quite small over a number of generations, then I’d be willing to punt that genetic traits would have popped up because Protestants would have been disinclined to marry Catholics.

                But would that make the Protestantism less a religious identity and more an ethnic one? I’d say ‘no’.

          • Dennis Frank 9.2.1.1.2

            Re Aramaic, Jesus spoke it due to living in Galilee which was multicultural at the time (mostly Greek due to the earlier Alexandrine empire/conquest). The Arameans being a local tribe in the region, Hebrews would see them as competitors and therefore regard that language as foreign.

            The skids are under the evolutionary basis of ethnicity: science is now discovering the complexity of ethnic origins. I reported a while back from the new book by the Harvard genetics prof who is leading lab research into ancient DNA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_We_Are_and_How_We_Got_Here

            On p145 he describes himself as “an Ashkenazi Jew, a member of an ancient caste of West Eurasia… raised by parents whose highest priority was being open to the secular world, but they themselves had been raised in a deeply religious community and were children of victims of persecution in Europe that left them with a strong sense of ethnic distinctiveness.”

            “I went for nine years to a Jewish school and spent many summers in Jerusalem. From my parents as well as from my grandparents and cousins I imbibed a strong sense of difference – a feeling that our group was special… My Jewish identity also helped me to understand on a visceral level how this institution had successfully perpetuated itself for so long.”

            On p261 he notes “a 2006 essay… suggesting that the high average intelligence quotient (IQ) of Ashkenazi Jews (more than one standard deviation above the world average), and their disproportionate share of Nobel Prizes (about one hundred times the world average) might reflect natural selection due to a millennium-long history in which Jewish populations practiced money-lending, a profession that required writing and calculation.” He neither supports nor rejects the theory, but throughout the book makes it clear to the reader that the emerging evidence provides no support for the traditional notion of racial purity.

            The new evolutionary scenario is a complex melting-pot of merging populations, yet with intriguing regional stasis examples as well that have been documented to counter the overall trend. Some he discusses are historical, and appear to have been culturally-determined. So we are a mix of nature and nurture, and our cultural matrix does have evolutionary consequences.

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