Thursday, October 10, 2013
Are European Jews mostly of Italian ancestry?
Greg Cochran is one of the authorities on Jewish genetics so his conclusions below carry weight. As usual, he even has some little jokes about it. From my own observations, I must say that there does seem to be an unusual warmth towards Israel among modern-day Italians -- JR
For some time, we have known that many Jewish populations had mostly-Near Eastern paternal ancestry (looking at y-chromosomes) and mostly-local maternal ancestry looking at mtDNA). Autosomal admixture studies generally agree. This is easiest to see when the host population is fairly distant from Europe or the Near East, and thus has significantly different mtDNA types: it’s obvious in the case of Indian Jews. Roughly speaking, Jewish men settled distant lands, as traders or sometimes refugees and POWs. They married local girls, and later, mostly with the advent of Rabbinical Judaism, rules emerged that forbade further intermarriage – and presto, Roberta’s your aunt.
It’s a bit more difficult when comparing Europe and the Near East, since there has been a lot of population movement between those regions, most of it from the Near East into Europe in the form of the first farmers. So even though the mixed origin of Jewish populations (Near Eastern men and local women) was clear in a number of cases, it wasn’t so clear in the most important case, the Ashkenazi Jews, who make up most of the world’s Jews and and account for almost all Jewish intellectual accomplishment.
But even when the same mtDNA haplotypes are found in both Europe and the Near East, the sub-haplotypes are different – the fine details clarify the story.
Back in 2006, Doron Behar and company looked at Ashkenazi mtDNA. Four mtDNA lineages accounted for almost half: K1a1b1a, K1a9, K2a2a, and N1b. About 20% of Ashkenazi Jews have K1a1b1a mtDNA. Behar concluded that all of these lineages originated in the Near East. This was plausible for N1b (about 9% of Ashkenazi mtDNA), which is common in the Near East and rare in Europe (although it was common back in the LBK culture). He couldn’t find any closely related versions of the K1a9 and K2a2a lineages outside of the Ashkenazim – and went on to say that they probably originated in the Near East, based on nothing. He also concluded that K1a1b1a was probably Near Eastern, since the only close non-Jewish versions were found in Portugal, Italy, France, Morocco, and Tunisia: a conclusion which flew in the face of what evidence he had. It is if one knew that all the languages closely related to Russian (Polish, Ukrainian, Serbian, etc) were found in Eastern Europe, and then concluded that the Russian language must therefore have originated in South Africa.
In other words, Doron Behar is a liar. I was going to include something about the probable origins of Ashkenazi mtDNA (mostly Italian) and Behar’s follies in the book. I wrote it up (in a little essay titled “Special K”), but space prohibited, and anyhow liars are boring.
A new paper by Maria Costa et al (with Martin Richards as senior author) settles the issue. We have a lot more data now – more people, and more detail. Turns out that all of those major Ashkenazi mtDNA lineages originated in Western Europe – even N1b, fairly rare in Europe. The majority of the less common Ashkenazi mtDNA lineages also originated in Europe – probably mostly in Italy. Altogether, > 80% of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry is European – mostly Italian, but a bit from France and Germany as well.
You may have heard of Arthur Koestler’s Khazar hypothesis – the notion that Europeans Jews are largely descended from Khazar converts. It’s not true – these results show that it is impossible. Charles Murray suggested that selection leading to higher intelligence in Jews occurred a long time ago, as far back as the Babylonian Captivity. That’s not true either. It never made any sense, because there’s not a scintilla of evidence that Jews in Classical times were smarter than the average bear – but the Ashkenazim being half Italian crushed it yet again. If ancestral Jews had the genetic IQ magic, the Ashkenazim should be watered-down, closer to the European norm: but they’re not.
Lots of European admixture does not contradict our model of the evolution of superior Ashkenazi intelligence, because we think that the relevant selection occurred well after that admixture, during a period in which inward gene flow among the Ashkenazim was very low – as evidence by the fact that this study found plenty of Italian mtDNA, but little from Eastern Europe.
As Michael Balter cheerfully points out in Science, this result may be a bit troublesome to those that believe that Jewish identity descends through the female line. In that case, most Ashkenazi Jews – aren’t.
I haven’t heard anyone else mention this, but logically, someone who is Ashkenazi could now decide that he and his cousins are really the true heirs of the Roman Empire, rather than a member of the Chosen People. I’m sure that wouldn’t cause any trouble.
Doe this mean that the Palestinians have a better genealogical claim to the land of Israel than the Ashkenazi Jews? Maybe – but over the years, they’ve mixed too. They have a lot of South Arabian and African ancestry that wasn’t there 2000 years ago. That’s true of much of the Middle East – but that’s another post… I’m sure that modern DNA technology will answer this question anytime anyone cares to look, and obviously everyone will accept the verdict of Science, whatever it may be.
Anyhow, if Italy really is the Ashkenazi urheimat, that’s not so bad. I’d trade the Judean Hills for Tuscany in a New York minute. And even if trading homelands would require some toe-to-toe combat with the Italians – how hard would that be, really?
Why the Left Hates the Old
The latest left-wing tactic to discredit conservative views is to dismiss the age and race of conservatives. "Old white males" and "old white people" are the left's latest favored negative epithets for those holding conservative views.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman of the New York Times, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ("angry old white men") are among the many on the left who have used this epithet.
Last week, on her nightly MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow showed a picture of an ad for Washington, D.C. talk radio station WRC that featured the station's talk show hosts. You will notice, she said, that they are all "old white Republican males." It was brought to my attention because I am one of those talk show hosts (and, it should be noted, nearly all of my colleagues and I are younger than her colleague, Chris Matthews, an old white Democratic male.)
What is going on here?
The answer is: quite a bit. The left's dismissal of old people is much more than another left-wing ad hominem attack. Therefore, to understand it is to understand much of what animates leftism.
As a rule, the left rejects the old.
The left's attack on teaching the works of "Dead White European Males" was one such example. It infuriated the left that Shakespeare was studied so much more than, let us say, living Guatemalan playwrights. As a result, one can now obtain a college degree in English -- let alone every other liberal arts department -- without having taken a course in Shakespeare.
So, too, in art and music, the new is almost always favored over the old. New composers and artists -- no matter how untalented -- are studied as much as or more than the great masters of old. And the old standards of excellence are neglected in favor of the latest avant-garde experimentation.
Rejection of the old is a reason the left has contempt for the Bible. To progressives, the idea of having 2,000 and 3,000-year-old texts guide a person's behavior today is ludicrous.
Low regard for the old is also a major factor in the left's dismissal of the Founders and of the original intent of the Constitution. Talk about "old white males," the Founders are white males who are now over 200-years-old. What could they possibly have known or understood that a progressive living today does not know more about or understand better?
What, then, is at the core of the left's contempt for the old, and its celebration of the new and of change?
There are two primary answers.
One is the yearning for utopia. Since Marx, the left has sought utopia in this world. And that means constantly transforming every aspect of society. As then-Senator Barack Obama said prior to the 2008 election: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
By definition, those who seek to transform consider the old essentially worthless.
The other answer is self-esteem. The left began the self-esteem movement in large measure because of its own high self-esteem. Those on the left are certain that they are smarter, kinder, more moral and more compassionate than -- in every way superior to -- their opponents.
That is a major reason for the left's problem with the old: If the old is great, then they and their new ideas are probably not that great.
Just about everyone who is not on the cultural left knows that all the great masters were incomparably superior to Jackson Pollock and other 20th-centuries artists who produced meaningless and talentless art. And because there are so few artists at any time who measure up to the old standards (standards that are synonymous with standards of excellence), the old standards have simply been abandoned.
This applies equally to morality. The left doesn't want to be bound or answerable to a higher moral authority. Rather, one's heart and reason are the best moral guides. Here, too, the old codes, especially as embodied in traditional religion, must be overthrown.
Prior to the ascendance of the left, it was assumed that the old had more wisdom than the young. Indeed, even every leftist I have asked, "Are you wiser today than 20 years ago?" has answered in the affirmative.
Nevertheless the left has transformed "old" -- a title that commanded respect in every civilization prior to the pre-1960s West -- into a pejorative.
As a result we live in the age of new music, new art, new families, new morality, new education, and now new marriage. If you think all these are good, then "old white males," like almost everything else old, do indeed constitute a threat. If you think the left's belief in "new" and "change" hurts society, "old" sounds good.
"Diversity" as Fascism
If any of the mainstream media outlets in the United States, with the obvious exception of Fox News, were to draw up a list of the least tolerant groups, associations and organizations in the nation, the result would be completely predictable. Not necessarily in this order, it would read: The TEA Party; the NRA; the Republican Party; Rush Limbaugh listeners; Fox News viewers and, no doubt, anyone who works for Fox News; Glenn Beck listeners; Christians; any other group that believes in patriotism, the Constitution and traditional values.
The pre-programmed refrain would be that these groups do not accept diversity. True diversity, however, occurs when people of different faiths, lifestyles, ethnic backgrounds and nationalities come together organically. When diversity is forced upon a people, it is nothing more than a political charade; it is, indeed, a type of fascism.
The above list is, of course, dictated by those who provide the thoughts that fill the heads of today’s American Liberals. Completely ignored is the fact that neither the TEA Party, the NRA nor the Republican Party have any more restrictions on who they accept than does the Democratic Party or any leftwing organization in the country. Demographically, the make-up of the TEA Party closely reflects the make-up of the nation in every way but age-group.
The Republican Party has put more blacks in Congress than the Democratic Party, whose members founded the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, the Republican Party has given the nation more female cabinet members and state governors than the Democratic Party. It has also given the nation more state Governors from ethnic minorities. As for Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck; these three undisputed media giants employ, collectively, more Liberals than all other media outlets, collectively, employ Conservatives. Their viewers and listeners, if intolerant at all, are no more so than those who watch MSNBC or CNN or those who listen to NPR.
The Progressive movement, in order to conceal its agenda of complete control and enslavement, has, years ago, taken up the banner of ‘diversity’. In truth, however, the Progressive movement is the least tolerant and least diverse entity in the US. Those who identify with it have routinely – and publicly – made sexist, racist and homophobic comments; they have issued death threats and incited violence against those with whom they do not agree. President Barack Obama himself – the Progressive movement’s most useful puppet – is notoriously thin-skinned and completely unwilling to even engage in a serious discussion with anyone who opposes him politically or ideologically.
The various special interest groups in the US which pretend to fight for nothing more than acceptance, equality and ‘social justice’, such as the LGBT community, the NAACP and amusingly titled Planned Parenthood are, in fact, pushing for far more than mere equality; they are campaigning forcefully to impose their views upon everyone. Whilst the American political Right is more and more influenced by the Libertarian philosophy of Don’t Tread on Me, the political Left has become an alarmingly authoritarian movement; a veritable SS panzer division, ready to crush all those who oppose it and round up the survivors for re-education – or extermination.
Case in point: A private citizen with their own business – a bakery – refuses to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Firstly, that should clearly be a matter of the individual in question making a decision based upon their personal values and principles. The same-sex couple in question could merely have taken their business elsewhere. However, they were so filled with hatred and intolerance for anyone who refuses to conform to their beliefs that they stimulated – no pun intended – a campaign that lead to the afore-mentioned small business owner shutting down the business. Which party was the least tolerant, here? Which, the greater believer in ‘diversity’? The baker did not start a campaign to prevent the couple getting married, they simply declined to be connected with that marriage. The same-sex couple, by contrast, was determined to ruin a business – and quite prepared to destroy a life – because they came across someone who did not share their values.
Are those same-sex partners believers in diversity? Clearly not, or they would have brushed off the baker’s refusal to co-operate with a shrug and gone elsewhere for their cake; they would have accepted the fact that ‘diversity’ extends also to opinion and to values. The couple in question have every right to marry, if they are living in a state that permits same-sex marriage. The federal government has no constitutional right to deny their wishes; other private citizens may disapprove, but have no right to prevent their marriage – other than through the state-level ballot-box. Members of the LGBT community – or, as Al Sharpton calls them, homos – have a right to expect tolerance and freedom from persecution; they have no right to force everyone else to accept their lifestyle as normal.
Aside from the fundamentalists of the so-called Christian Right – America’s very own version of the Muslim Brotherhood – nobody else on the political Right wishes to force gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals to give up whatever lifestyle they have chosen. One has the right, however, to disapprove of whatever one wishes. The moment any group forces its will upon others and hounds, threatens, ridicules, demonizes – and discriminates against – anyone who happens to hold a different set of values, then that group has, itself, become the standard for intolerance, hatred and bigotry.
Diversity is, by definition, a complete acceptance of – and, indeed, a complete disregard for – differences of faith, lifestyle, skin-color, principle and belief. One simply cannot claim to embrace diversity whilst, at the same time, declare that anyone who holds a different opinion should be silenced, excluded and even punished.
The LGBT community – so long as it remains complicit in the drive to eliminate all dissent – is nothing more than a willing tool – no pun intended, again – of a Progressive movement that promotes a grotesque parody of ‘diversity’ which is, in reality, a form of fascism.
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Posted by JR at 1:49 AM