Some of you may have noticed a new addition in the links section of this blog. It is called “State of Exile” and it includes many articles and links of Jewish interest. One of the links is to a website called kulanu.org, which has a fascinating article about the kingdom of Adiabene. You can read it here. Unfortunately, it seems the author was lax in proofreading it (or not a native English speaker) but it is still a great read.
I think it is interesting that all three of the Jewish kingdoms I am aware of, which existed outside the Land of Israel, were founded by converts: The Khazarian empire, the Himyarite kingdom of Yemen and the Adiabene kingdom. This is probably because the rigors of exile had robbed the Jewish people of both its political self-confidence and its military capabilities.
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Having admired and respected your various comments on the AmRen site for many years now, I’d very much like to hear your take on the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are actually descended from Khazarian converts to Judaism circa 780 AD and therefore have no legitimate Biblical, historical, or genetic claim to any part of what is now Israel/Palestine. Thanks.
BTW, love your blog & look in almost every day; keep up the good work.
Okay, here’s my take on the “Khazar theory”:
a) Figuring out who has a right to live in the Land of Israel is a complicated matter even without trying to ascertain how much authentic Jewish blood each “Jew” has in his veins. I’ve long held that those who appear to have little or no Jewish heritage, who keep none of the traditional practices of Judaism, and whose only reason for being in Israel is convenience do not deserve to be there. Their contribution to the “Jewishness” of Israel is negative. On the other hand, I’m glad it is not within my power to decide; as I said, it’s complicated and I doubt any human can sort it out. Those Russians who abused the “right of return” law by fooling the authorities into thinking they’re Jewish, they should be expelled. Some of them are actually neo-nazis.
b) I do not believe there is substantial Khazar heritage among Jews today. The Khazar empire did not last very long and my hunch is that most converts abandoned Judaism as soon as the political winds changed. DNA tests apparently have lent support to this supposition.
c) I find it interesting that many of the people who would deny Ashkenazic Jews any claim to Israel are the same ones who would deny those same Jews the right to live in white lands. Where, then, would you have us live? Do you think it’s realistic to carve out a Khazar homeland in South Russia? As far as modern Ashkenazic Jews are concerned, we’re “Jewish” in our own eyes. As far as the gentiles are concerned, we’re “Jewish”. Maybe we could explain to the Turks that we’re actually their cousins and they’ll give us autonomy in within Turkey – I doubt it; they won’t even give the Kurds autonomy.
RE: “This is probably because the rigors of exile had robbed the Jewish people of both its political self-confidence and its military capabilities.”
Oh. And if you can find a host country that you don’t antagonize too much, being a diasporic capitalist is far more fruitful than a land holder. Land holding, trade route holding, and institutional development are very expensive propositions. Trade is more productive as long as you can trust the people you trade with. And loan sharking isn’t bad either. 🙂
I would add that in any religion, converts tend to be the most zealous. Certainly the Himyarite move to actually persecute Christians in revenge for anti-Jewish persecutions could only have come from a convert lacking a galut state of mind. If only there were more converts in 1940-45…
“galut” = “exile” (for those not familiar with Hebrew).
I agree and thank you for your insightful comment.