“Children of Abraham in the era of the genome: the main populations of the Jewish diaspora consist of separate genetic clusters with a common Middle Eastern origin” (Atzmon et al, 2010)
Today, this work is the most comprehensive and thorough of all scientific studies on the genetics of the Jews. Therefore, I will base my conclusions primarily on this study. But then I will introduce amendments in the light of newer studies on DNA genealogy.
The authors compared the genetics of the following Jewish and non-Jewish populations:
- The Jews of Iran,
- The Jews of Iraq,
- The Syrian Jews,
- Ashkenazi Jews,
- The Jews of Italy,
- The Jews of Greece,
- Turkey Jews,
8.Italians from Bergamo and Tuscany,
9.Italians of Sardinia,
Using the methods developed by geneticists, the authors obtained two-dimensional graphical diagrams that allow us to estimate the degree of genetic relatedness or distance between the listed 16 populations.
I have carefully studied these diagrams, and will try to convey what I distinguished, in simple words .
The first diagram allows to estimate the genetic remoteness of all 16 populations from the indigenous people of Africa, North America and East Asia. If someone declares that the Jews should return to their brothers in Cambodia or Uganda, or that we are relatives of American Indians (anti-Semites like to send us far away), then we will say with good reason NO to these reptiles.
And yet … Among our close circle of non-Jewish relatives were the Arabs of Israel, the Europeans and, a little further away, the inhabitants of North Africa.
As for Europe, everything is clear: when the ancient people of the Middle East and Iran learned to cultivate the land (some 15,000 years ago), providing themselves with abundant food, they began to multiply wildly, and moved through Turkey and the Balkans to Western Europe. Their relatives went to Egypt, and from there to North Africa, and to the south, to East Africa. The Iranians went eastward.
Today, just as 15,000 years ago, Europeans are genetically close enough to the inhabitants of Levant (ancient Canaan), although gene mutations have occurred over the millennia that passed. These mutations are «caught» by scientists — DNA genetics, and based on the mutations they develop the family tree of both individuals and populations.
North Africans (Berbers) are aloof from us a little further than the Europeans.
The second and third diagrams give a graphic display of the genetic proximity or remoteness of 16 populations that were under the microscope of geneticists.
In the center of the field, we find three groups of Jews that came from Greece, Turkey and Syria. They partially overlap, indicating a close genetic link. Let’s call them «genetically central Jews.»
The closest to the three “genetically central” groups of Jews were, on the one hand, Ashkenazi Jews, on the other, the Jews of Italy, and on the third side (partially overlapping with the Jews of Syria) were … Druze! The ones that serve in the Israel Defense Forces. It turns out that they are our brothers in arms, but not only.
Immediately after the Druze, partially overlapping with them, are “placed” the Bedouins of Israel and the Jews of Iraq.
At a little more «genetic distance» from the «central» Jews «, but from the opposite side, closer to the Turkish Jews, were the Italians of Sardinia.
And again, at the same «genetic distance», but closer to the Ashkenazim, were residents of Northern Italy (non-Jewish).
And here we go to the most interesting part of the movie — to the Palestinians. It turned out that genetically Palestinians are divided to two remote from each other, almost equal groups. The Palestinian group «genetically close» to the Jews, partially overlaps with the Bedouins of Israel. It placed at the same «genetic distance» from the Jews, that the inhabitants of Italy and the Circassians. But the second, somewhat larger group, turned out to be “far away” from its Palestinian brothers, as well as from all Jews with Druze and Bedouins, and even “farther” than the French and Basques. But on the same «distance» that the Russians. One half of the ancestors of the Palestinian people, most likely, came not from the Levant (Canaan).
I cannot say that I did not expect such a «Palestinian result». Quite the contrary is correct. I have long noticed that the ancient, Jewish and non-Jewish, cities, and especially the villages of the Land of Israel, in the course of Middle Age gradually became empty.
It is enough to look into the history and archeology of any village in the Galilee, in the history of Haifa, Tiberias, and even of Jerusalem, to make sure that there was a break of population in all these settlements. The people who inhabited them before, disappeared. And only after the break, the same settlements were re-populated. But now other people have settled them, they differed genetically from their predecessors.
Only in a few settlements had the old and new populations residing simultaneously. The “old population” were the Jews, whom the new settlers, the ancestors of the modern Palestinians, gradually forced out. The local Jews, called “Mustaarab” (Arabized), or Moriscos (Moors) in the language of Spanish Zionist immigrants, fled their villages to the refuge cities: Safed, Tiberias, Jerusalem and Hebron, where they joined the communities of wealthy immigrants from Spain.
Only one of dozens Palestinian clans (khamulas) recognizes its Jewish ancestry. All the others believe that they are descendants of Arabia tribes, or of Salah ad Din settlers (Saladin’s army composed of Turks, Circassians and Kurds). The rest consider themselves the descendants of 16-20 century settlers from Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Egypt, Hejaz, Maghreb, Iraq, Bosnia, etc. Such is the opinion of the PALESTINIANS who remained in Palestine.
Regarding hypotetic «Christian and Jewish converts to Islam», so the policy of the First caliphs was not to convert Christians and Jews to Islam. The reason was quite practical: the Muslims had exempt from «jizya», the tax paid by Christians and Jews. The Fatimide Caliph al Hakim broke this rule but after his misterious disappearance all his reforms were recalled.
The Crusaders have murdered or expelled most of local Muslims and the Jews, while the Muslims did the same with local Christians after defeating Crusaders.
After the Land emptied of its ancient population, Palestine was settled by newcomers. This way an ancient Palestine population was replaced by new settlers of Muslim, Christian and even Jewish faith. In the Middle Age there ocured demographic overturn in Palestine.
It seems, that Diaspora Jews preserved just ancient genomes, while the ancestors of the Palestinians were of non-Semitic, or of Semitic but not local origin. So the Jews are close but not identical with the Palestinians. Only new research of the genome of pre-exile Palestine population may resolve this scientific and ideological dispute.
Yes, but why do a half of the Palestinians still genetically close to the Druze, the Jews and the Bedouins?
First, the recent waves of the immigration of Muslims and Christians to Palestine (organized by the Turkish Sultan) came from Lebanon and Syria, as well as from Egypt and Arabia. Most of them are genetically close to the Druze and Bedouin, and ultimately to the Jews. Just, the cousins.
In order to better understand this «genetic division» of the Palestinian population, let us try to understand who the ancestors of the Palestinians were. Numerous and heterogeneous medieval conquerors of Palestine were professional warriors. Among these warriors were at first Arab Muslims, but later Turks, Khorezmians, Mongol-Tatars, Kurds, Circassians, and other Caucasian highlanders, mostly genetically distant to the inhabitants of Western Asia. Of these, Salah ad Din and the Mamluks, Seljuk Turks and Ottoman Turks recruited their armies. During the period of Shiite Fatimid domination, North Africans could get to Palestine.
These soldiers had no families. When they finished their military service and settled in cities, less in the villages of Palestine, they had to look for (or seize by force) wives from the local population. From these wives, local genes joined the gene pool of the conquerors.
That is, from a genetic point of view, there were two large groups of Muslim conquerors. These two groups of Palestinian ancestors were genetically “distant” from each other. The first conquerors were the Arabs, the warriors of Muhammad, who died just before the Muslim invasion to Palestine. Among others, these were former Aws pagans who, under the leadership of Muhammad, expelled or exterminated the Jews of Arabia.
Caliph of Muslims had to stop their ardor. He sent a message to the troops with instructions not to exterminate Christians and Jews, but to leave alive, to give them the opportunity to farm the land and collect from them taxes (Jizya). The Caliph was the “substitute” of Muhammad (Caliph = “Mahlif” in Hebrew). His message had the power of a religious decree, and it was brought to the Hadith. It was this ruling of the Caliph that the Hamas ideologues made the foundation of the Hamas Charter. A quote from this letter can be found in the text of the Charter.
The majority of Palestinians voted this Charter. Nationalist Mahmoud Abbas mumbles about the Canaanite ancestors of the Palestinians, and the people support Hamas, who explicitly stated: the Palestinians are the only legitimate owners of the country because the 7th century Muslims conquered it. Jews are not related to Muslims. In general, the Palestinian people know who were their ancestors. They remember family traditions, membership of a certain tribe, and genealogy. Genetic studies can only confirm the fact that Palestinians know well.
But let’s go back from ideology to scientific genetic studies. American Lebanese funded the study by Mark Haber and his comrades: (http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/112719/1/genome_wide_diversity_Haber.pdf)
Scientists have built a Lebanese genetic tree. Our topic belongs to a genetic branch, which scientists have called West Asian. This branch is divided into “Druze” branch, and another one, which, in turn, is divided into 4 sus-branches, covering a number of peoples of the Western Asia, namely: the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, the peoples of the Caucasus, Turkey and Iran, Armenians, Cypriots, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese (Muslims and Christians), and yet another branch of the Druze.
For some reason, there were no Palestinians among the “relatives” of the Lebanese. Maybe Palestinian men and women refused to participate genetic tests, under the influence of politics. Palestinians do not like to be investigated. It is easier for them to impose racist accusations on Jews without “interference” of the science. For the same reason, they do not like archaeological excavations in Palestine / the Land of Israel.
Yet more recent studies of DNA genealogy can make adjustments to the picture obtained by the Atzmon group, to which I referred at the beginning of the article. If previous studies relied mainly on data on genomes and on male DNA, now there are studies on DNA genealogy of the female (mitochondrial) chromosomes. The picture that gave these studies is that women have always been much less mobile than men.
On this occasion, let’s remember the story of the Huns delivered by Lev Gumilev. The Huns were forced to leave China, fleeing extermination. At first they took women and children with them, but in the middle of the way they threw this “ballast” into the steppes (how not to remember Abraham with Hagar) and continued on their way westward “lightly”. Arriving on the Volga, the Hun warriors seized by force local women and remained to live in a new place. After 25 years, when the new generation grew up and matured, the Huns moved further to the West, to Europe.
Studies of geneticists have shown that this method of reproduction was very common in past epochs, especially during wars and long travels. All this applies to the Jewish and Palestinian genetics:
A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages
“The article by Richards and his group suggests the following version of the events: 2 thousand years ago, part of the Jewish population of Palestine left this territory, going to Europe, in particular to the Apennine peninsula. Indeed, even before our era, Jewish communities appeared in many cities in the Mediterranean. According to some information, the community of Rome numbered at the peak from 30 thousand to 50 thousand Jews. However, among the immigrants, says Richards, there were almost no women. Local women became wives of the settlers from the Middle East and converted to Judaism. ”
When women’s (mitochondrial) DNAs will be taken into account sufficiently, the image obtained by Atzmon and others may be changed, namely: Ashkenazi Jews will partially “shift” towards Europe and move away from the “central” Jewish group. On the other hand, the Palestinian genome may “move” closer to the Jewish-Lebanese group. After all, the women married to the conquerors of Palestine were hardly brought from afar.
The “farther” displacement of women happened when Muslims, and then Europeans, engaged in slave trade. So the female genes from East Africa came to the Middle East. Well, Ukrainian women, captured by the Crimean Tatars and sold to Turkey, massively moved to Turkey. It would be worth checking Erdogan’s DNA, maybe he is just a Zaporozhian Cossack…
Genetics presents numerous surprises, which in fact turn out very reasonable. And most importantly, science knocks the ground out of the racist brainwashing. Especially from under the anti-Semitic «theories» of all kinds, from Hitler to the modern «left».