Whenever someone implies that anti-Semitism isn’t racism, I point out that it’s one of the few examples of discrimination that really is racism (unlike, for example, the invented thoughtcrime “Islamophobia”1 ) because the Ashkenazi Jewish population is as close as you can get scientifically to the common (and deeply flawed) notion of what a “race” is.
Adam Woolfe, who did his PhD at the HGMP-RC before it closed down, drew my attention to this paper in Genome Biology, “A genome-wide genetic signature of Jewish ancestry perfectly separates individuals with and without full Jewish ancestry in a large random sample of European Americans“, that shows this more rigorously:
It was recently shown that the genetic distinction between self-identified Ashkenazi Jewish and non-Jewish individuals is a prominent component of genome-wide patterns of genetic variation in European Americans. No study however has yet assessed how accurately self-identified (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry can be inferred from genomic information, nor whether the degree of Jewish ancestry can be inferred among individuals with fewer than four Jewish grandparents.
Using a principal components analysis, we found that the individuals with full Jewish ancestry formed a clearly distinct cluster from those individuals with no Jewish ancestry. Using the position on the first principal component axis, every single individual with self-reported full Jewish ancestry had a higher score than any individual with no Jewish ancestry.
- Many who use the word “Islamophobia” are, however, actual racists because they lump together multitudes of human individuals and assign to them both an inaccurate label and a set of presumed characteristics and/or grievances. [↩]
Well, I’m an Ashkenazi Jew, but just to play devil’s advocate, if you speak to a Sephardi they will feel that their stock is the real Jewish base off which the Ashkenazim broke – and it’s not an easy argument to refute. The Ashkenazi population definitely had a very small base – probably a couple of thousand maybe 800 years ago, who all intermarried over and over – so it’s probably less accurate to call them a race and more a large family….
At the same time the Jewish population of the Roman empire was relatively huge – possibly over a million…and they weren’t all wiped out in the Dark Ages, which would imply that the bulk of Jewish diversity rests in the Sephardic population.
Racism is a complicated concept, used by those who don’t believe in race as well as those who do. Some arguments about anti-semitism as racism are really about the definition of the concept but some are about what to call the Jewish people.
I thought pretty much all arguments about antisemitism were about what to call the Jewish people.