Beware of the cult of the Black Hebrew Israelites

There’s a lot of cults on London where I live.

I’ve seen the Hari Krishnas, The Moonies, Falong Gong, Scientologists, evangelical Islamists telling us we need Shariah law and also one or two self style Messiah figures, around the streets of London.

In Israel, the Falong Gong, Hari Krishnas and Scientologists are there too, and a few other weird ones.

So when some folks tell me all religion is the same and there is a select bad bunch of a few, I tend to roll my eyes and shake my head.   Its no surprise that Paul spoke about it a lot, as did Peter, and Jesus said himself, there would be false Messiahs, false prophets and false religions would deceive people.   In this particular time and age stuff like this is increasing.  The Black Hebrew Israelites are some of the very worst groups I think around.   They are racist and stir up hate.

I first so these folks actually in Oxford Street in London.   They might seems like a limited fringe group, but they seem extremely active on the internet and they seem to be growing.  Among forums and Facebook groups, they seem to pop up quite often.

On the surface, BHI appear to be just some young black men who love the bible and have an interest in Israel and Jewish people and practices.

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‘Teaching material’put in front of these men.   Not my foot, a few people watching seemed quite astonished by them.

 

The group of 5 young black men preaching in Oxford Street had a cartoon showing that Jesus was a black man, and that traditional Christianity is worshiping an imposter.

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I didn’t get a closer picture of these guys for obvious reasons.  They are bigger then me and crazy.

I’m trying to help and encourage a friend who has got into very similar teaching to this.  Let me tell you this.   I am going to no mince words here, this teaching is a lie from the pit of hell that breaks families, churches and communities.   If you ever see folks from this teaching in your congregation or bible study remove them straight away and pray for protection on you and your family.

When you delve into their teaching they think that they are a lost tribe of Israel, or, and heard this quite a few times that ordinary Ashkenazi (white European Jews) are imposters, and that they should be the ones living in Jerusalem.  They also read out a passage from Revelation 3:9 to reinforce this.    They are driven by extreme arrogance and pride, I think they could easily turn nasty.

Some of these people are frequent speakers in London, one of these is close to Stratford station and some are in cult/weirdo-magnet ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Hyde Park.

There are real black Jews of course.  BHI is nothing to do with them.    I’ve met many of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel, and be to some bars and restaurants owned by them.  They are kind and gentle people.

Update 2018 – Back in 2014 I came across these people in a congregation in London called “Beit Nitzachon”   this was once a Messianic Jewish congregation which I found out later their African Hebrew Group took it over and threw out the original leadership and preached their own peculiar gospel.  The front row consisted of women with prayer shawls (which in traditional Judaism is a male garment)    I walked out of their congregation part way when they were trashing the Trinity and several other heresies.  This was sad.   Later on, they got big into the Flat Earth Movement and got a new leader called Tony Kakouri who used to be part of former Waco death cult leader David Koresh’s church!!!!.  I’ve spoken to several ex-members (real Jewish believers and those from a conventional Christian background) who have got free of it. 

There is no doubt this a very dangerous cult indeed.

 

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24 comments on “Beware of the cult of the Black Hebrew Israelites

  1. Dear whoever, your response is clearly fear based and assumes that: A. those currently called Jews are actually Jews and not Ashkenazi Kazakhstan. B. That despite the unbridled zeal of the young men, they are clearly trashed by you. C. That they don’t have their facts together. D. That being black is somehow scary. All your assumptions are wrong. Certain tribes in continental Africa and all persons of colour from the Caribbean and the Americas are the true Hebrews. This is documented by DNA, by Genealogy, by the curses of Deuteronomy 28 which are a way of identifying the true Hebrews (right here the Jewish are too blessed to qualify). But Elohim has a message found in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 that basis clydebank says. I know you claim to be Jews and are not but are of the Synogue of Satan. One day you will bow down to the true people. Now why would God rant at Jews if they are already the people?

    • […One day you will bow down to the true people…]

      I don’t bow down to anyone accept Jesus.

      Repent of false teaching and seek Christ. Blessings

    • The Lost Tribes of Israel are Europeans and the true descendants of Jacob from the Holy Bible are in the Celto-Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Germanic and Dutch/Holland people in Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and the British Isles. Additionally, the Royal Family is directly descended from the Line of David.

      David was the ancestor of Jesus and the following is how David’s physical characteristics are described in the Old Testament –

      “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” – 1 Samuel 16:12

      “Ruddy” means “red” in Hebrew and Caucasoids are the only race with a pigmentation that can turn ruddy.

      Specifically, they become red when they weep, get embarrassed, feel extremely angry, laugh really hard, have their skin slapped, when they stand under the sun for too long, when it’s freezing outside or when they have a cold.

      Given that David worked outside all day as a young man, it makes sense that he was sun burned. David was clearly an Viking.

      Furthermore, Nordics are often characterized as having “fair-skin”. Read how the author of the Book of 1 Samuel described Goliath’s perspective of David:

      “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.” – 1 Samuel 17:42

      Solomon was the son of David and the next sacred texts were written by one of Solomon’s wives –

      “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.” – Song of Solomon 5:10

      “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” – Song of Solomon 5:12

      Like all human beings, Solomon’s eyeballs were white as a dove and because it says “doves by the rivers of waters”, that suggests he had blue eyes and only those with Aryan blood in them are capable of having blue eyes.

      Africans enslaved the English during The Barbary Slave Trade. The Edomites (the Jews) attempt to keep that data from the public.

      The reason why you’re allowed to preach on public streets is because the Edomites use you as their pit-bulls. You create terror and confusion. Furthermore, you have the attitude you have because Edomites repeatedly remind you of the horrible things your ancestors experienced, even though you’re foreparents weren’t the only ones to be mistreated. They merely get all the mainstream attention. That attention is what causes your contempt with whites.

      If the real Hebrew Israelites taught on the streets, they would get assaulted because the Edomites have brain-washed the earth into thinking that anything pro-White is extremely negative.

      • Im not really sure how much if this is true,

        In Israel I meet Jewish people who are European, some with red hair (like King David as you said) There are many darker skinned Jews who from Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Morocco and more. There are Jews from Ethiopia, all of these have their own sub-culture, which is why Israel is such a fascinating place. There are a lot of Jews from Russia and the ex-Soviet Union so 15% of Israelis can speak Russia.

        When you look at all of these and see and mingle with Israeli society, the claims of black Hebrew Israelites makes no sense.

      • the white skin is from the steppes 10000 years ago they were not white people.
        TH e ice age modified the skin of any black ,under black epiderme it is white.
        Ashkenazi is the son of gomer.
        TH e semites remain in hot weather rior the ice age,ignorant.
        and in 586 the 10 tribes moved to western african ,later the nation of judah moved to congo and arabia and western africa,

      • Hi Yvonne, what do you want to know more of. I’ve written lots of other stuff about Israel and Jewish culture.

        Are you a believer in Jesus/Yeshua?

        Blessings Jonathan

      • tthe ashkenazis started to follow the moses law and the talmud from the 5TH century in crimea.
        you don’t even know AND yours history.
        GOOGLE SONS OF JAPHET AND SONS OF GOMER
        OR READ CHRONICLES IN THE BIBLE

  2. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” – Acts 10:34-35

    The world “Nation” means “Nationality”.

    The above verse is a conversation between Peter and Cornelius the Centurion – A Roman. That scripture is evidence that one does not need to be a Hebrew Israelite to inherit the Kingdom.

  3. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Noah and David were black. FACT. Mary Mother of Yeshua was black, FACT. How can a black woman give birth to a white baby with blue eyes and straight shoulder length hair? Black people have been denied their history because the Ashkenazim gathered them sold them into slavery, knowing full well they were selling the true hebrew israelites. Knowing full well that they Ashkenazi are descended from GOMER, not from the same line of Jacob. yeshua said “Beware the fake Jews”.

    • David was the ancestor of Jesus and the following is how David’s physical characteristics are described in the Old Testament –

      “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” – 1 Samuel 16:12

      “Ruddy” means “red” in Hebrew and Caucasians are the only race with a pigmentation that can turn ruddy.

      Specifically, they become red when they weep, get embarrassed, feel extremely angry, laugh really hard, have their skin slapped, when they stand under the sun for too long, when it’s freezing outside or when they have a cold.

      Given that David worked outside all day as a young man, it makes sense that he was sun burned. David was clearly an Anglo-Saxon.

      Furthermore, Nordics are often characterized as having “fair-skin”. Read how the author of the Book of 1 Samuel described Goliath’s perspective of David:

      “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.” – 1 Samuel 17:42

      Solomon was the son of David and the next sacred texts were written by one of Solomon’s wives –

      “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.” – Song of Solomon 5:10

      “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” – Song of Solomon 5:12

      Like all human beings, Solomon’s eyeballs were white as a dove and because it says “doves by the rivers of waters”, that suggests he had blue eyes and only those with European blood in them are capable of having blue eyes.

      • Gil, yes! you beat me to it – David has ruddy complexion, and Jesus is related to him. Actually I also have a Arab friend in Israel who has red hair.

        Most folks in the bible would of been darker skinned but not black, of similar physical make up to Spanish or Greek or other Mediterranean people.

        Of course there were black in the bible like the Ethiopian who got baptized by Luke,

    • You accuse modern Jewish people of being imposters. As if Jewish people don’t have enough people trying to be hostile or erase them from history.

      I feel sorry for these Black Hebrew Israelites, they may feel aggrieved by some other form of racism needing to get into another form of attack of other people. These people really need to find the grace and kindness of Jesus through confession of sin and pride rather try to rework history into thinking they are something they are not.

      I love the Ethiopian people in Israel, they are kind gentile people and several of them have bars and restaurants.

      • I believe that the Lord has sheep’s from many folds. If you researched history you would find that most of Black History has been wiped out by white people. When Napoleon went to Egypt he shot of the nose and lips of all the statues as they where clearly black people. To correct you and Gill white people are not the only race that can turn red please whatch finding Adam. Jamal Abdel Nasser said that he would never respect Isreal as the Jews went away black and came back white.

    • this is daft as it is offensive. Saying that Ashkanzi Jews are not real is another bit of classic text book antisemitism.

      Yeshua was criticising Jewish people there for not keeping to the religious standards they were claiming to follow.

    • Jamaican Israelite, you aren’t Jewish and you’ve steered offtopic to another subject. I’ve written elsewhere that the trinity is genuine and biblical.

  4. YOU are from the steppes,the christ said that he will gather all the israelites at his return not themselves return prior his return

    YOU ARE
    YOU ARE FAKE OR IGNORANT
    THEY VE BEEN TO MY COUNTRY TOGO FOR THE CLOTHES OF JUDAH MOVIE
    SEARCH KINGDOM OF JUDAH IN WEST AFRICA.
    KINGDOM 3.0 .WE MOVED TO SAUDI ARABIA AND THEN GHANA THEN BENIN TOGO
    SEARCH
    ASHANTI IS ASHAN THE LEVITES
    THE GAS OF GHANA ARE THE GADITES.
    MOREOVER NASSER PRESIDENT OF EGYPT SAID THEY LEFT BLACK AND CAME BACK WHITE.THIS LAND WILL BE ALWAYS IN WAR

  5. The Caucasian race (also Caucasoid or Europid) is a grouping of human beings historically regarded as a biological taxon, which, depending on which of the historical race classifications used, have usually included some or all of the ancient and modern populations of Europe, Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, …
    Caucasian race – Wikipedia

  6. Melanin is produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes and it is the main determinant of the skin color of darker-skinned humans. The skin color of people with light skin is determined mainly by the bluish-white connective tissue under the dermis and by the hemoglobin circulating in the veins of the dermis.
    Human skin color –

  7. Some sources attribute to the Ukrainian Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn (1788–1860) the first reference to a connection between the Ashkenazi Jews and the Khazars.[11] Levinsohn also recorded that the tradition of their forefathers was that Ashkenazi Jews had earlier spoken Russian before acquiring Yiddish.[12][13] The hypothesis was advanced in 1808 by Johann Ewers,[14] in the context of an early controversy over the foundations of the Russian state, which pitted scholars espousing a Norman origin for the Varangians against those who argued that these founders of the Kievan Rus’ were Slavic and indigenous. Ewers proposed the idea that the Viking/Varangian founders were in fact Khazars.[15][16][17] The Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin advanced the claim, asserting that considerable numbers of Khazars had left Khazaria for Kievan Rus’ in the time of Vladimir I (980–1015).[18] The German Orientalist Karl Neumann suggested as early as 1847 that the migration of Khazars might have contributed to the formation of the core population of the Jews of Eastern Europe, without however specifying whether he was referring to Judaizing Turks or ethnic Jewish residents of Khazaria.[19]

    Subsequently, Abraham Eliyahu Harkavi suggested in 1869 that there might be a link between the Khazars and European Jews.[20] Three years later, however, in 1872, a Crimean Karaite, Abraham Firkovich, alternatively proclaimed that the members of his Turkic-speaking sect were descended from Turkic converts to Judaism.[21] This hypothesis, that the descendents of Khazar converts to Judaism formed a major proportion of Ashkenazim, was first proposed to a Western public by Ernest Renan in 1883.[22][23] In a lecture delivered in Paris before the Cercle du Saint-Simon on 27 January 1883, Renan argued that conversion played a significant role in the formation of the Jewish people, stating that:

    This conversion of the kingdom of the Khazars has a considerable importance regarding the origin of those Jews who dwell in the countries along the Danube and southern Russia. These regions enclose great masses of Jewish populations which have in all probability nothing or almost nothing that is anthropologically Jewish in them.[24]

    Renan’s thesis found an echo soon after, in 1885, when Isidore Loeb, a rabbi, historian and secretary of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, in arguing for the cause of Jewish emancipation, challenged the notion that nations were based on races, and the Jews therefore could be excluded as alien. To the contrary, he argued, they were no different from other peoples and nations, all of which arose from miscegenation: the Jews were no exception, and one could assume, he added, that many German and Russian Jews descended from the Khazars.[25]

    Occasional suggestions emerged that there was a small Khazar component in East European Jews in works by Joseph Jacobs (1886), Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu (1893),[26] Maksymilian Ernest Gumplowicz,[27] and by the Russian-Jewish anthropologist Samuel Weissenberg.[28]

    Leroy-Beaulieu, a critic of anti-Semitism who perhaps drew on Renan, queried whether or not thousands of Polish and Russian Jews might have their origins traced back to the “old nomads of the steppes.”[29]

    In 1909 Hugo von Kutschera developed the notion into a book-length study,[30] arguing that Khazars formed the foundational core of the modern Ashkenazi.[31] Maurice Fishberg introduced the notion to an American audience in 1911 in his book, The Jews: A Study of Race and Environment.[32]

    When at the Versailles Peace Conference, a Jewish Zionist called Palestine the land of the Jewish people’s ancestors, Joseph Reinach, a French Jewish member of parliament who was opposed to Zionism, dismissed the idea, arguing that Jews descended from Israelites were a tiny minority. In his view, conversion had played a major role in the expansion of the Jewish people, and, in addition, he claimed, the majority of “Russian, Polish and Galician Jews descend from the Khazars, a Tatar people from the south of Russia who converted to Judaism in mass at the time of Charlemagne.”[33]
    Interwar years, 1918–1939

    The idea was also taken up by the Polish-Jewish economic historian and General Zionist Yitzhak Schipper in 1918,[34][35] by scholarly anthropologists, such as Roland B. Dixon (1923), and by writers like H. G. Wells (1921) who used it to argue that “The main part of Jewry never was in Judea”,[36][37] a thesis that was to have a political echo in later opinion.[38][39] In 1931 Sigmund Freud wrote to Max Eitingon that the sculptor Oscar Nemon, for whom he was sitting, showed the lineaments of a “Slavic Eastern Jew, Khazar or Kalmuck or something like that”.[40]

    In 1932, Samuel Krauss ventured the theory that the biblical Ashkenaz referred to northern Asia Minor, and he identified it with the Khazars, a position immediately disputed by Jacob Mann.[41]

    This interwar period consolidated also a belief, originally developed by the Russian Orientalists V.V. Grigor’iev and V.D. Smirnov, that the East European congregations of the Karaite sect of Judaism were descendants of Turkic Khazars.[42] The idea of a Khazarian origin of the Karaites was then adopted as their official viewpoint.[43] Seraja Szapszal (1873–1961), from 1927, the ḥakham of the Polish-Lithuanian Karaite community had begun to implement a thorough-going reform policy of dejudaizing Karaite culture and traditions and transforming along Turkic lines. As a secular Jew and orientalist he was influenced by Atatürk’s reforms, and his policy was dictated by several considerations: Jews were suffering from harassment in public and private in Eastern Europe; he wished to forestall the threat he had intuited was imminent in both Fascism and Nazism, which were beginning to gain a foothold; he was passionate about the Karaites’ language, Karaim, and its Turkish tradition, and somewhat insouciant of the Judaic heritage of his people. In 1934 Corrado Gini, a distinguished statistician, interested also in demography and anthropology, with close ties to the fascist elite, led an expedition in August–October 1934 to survey the Karaites. He concluded that Karaites were ethnically mixed, predominantly Chuvash which he mistook to be Finno-Ugric descendants of the Tauro-Cimmerians who at one point had been absorbed into the Khazars who for Gini however were not Turkic. A further conclusion was that the Ashkenazi arose from ‘Turko-Tatar converts to Judaism.’[44][45] Though the Khazar-Karaite theory is unsubstantiated by any historical evidence, – the early Karaite literature speaks of Khazars as mamzerim, ‘bastards’ or ‘strangers’ within Judaism – this myth served a political purpose, of taking that community out of the stranglehold of anti-Semitic regulations and prejudices directed generally against Jews in Eastern Europe.[44]
    1939–1945

    In 1943, Abraham N. Polak (sometimes referred to as Poliak), later professor of the history of the Middle Ages at Tel Aviv University, published a Hebrew monograph in which he concluded that the East European Jews came from Khazaria.[46][47][48]

    In Nazi Germany, unlike most race theorists in Germany down to his time Hans F. K. Günther argued that the Jews were not a pure race, although he nevertheless considered them to be highly inbred. He argued that the Ashkenazi were a mix of Near Eastern, Oriental, East Baltic, Eastern, Inner-Asian, Nordic, Hamite, and Negro peoples and separate from the Sephardim. Günther believed that the conversion of the Khazars, whom he took to have been a Near Eastern race constituted a further external element in the racial makeup of the Ashkenazi Jews, strengthening its Near Eastern component.[49]: 32–33 Günther’s theorizing about racial consequences flowing from the conversion of the Khazars was embraced by Gerhard Kittel.[49]: 175

    The Karaite claim not to be ethnic Jews, but descendants of the Khazars, was eventually accepted by the Nazis who exempted them, unlike the Crimean Krymchaks with whom they had historic ties, from the policy of genocidal extermination on these grounds.[50][51]
    1946–1949

    In debates leading up to the UN plan in 1947 to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the British politicians John Hope Simpson and Edward Spears, intent on denying Zionism that part of its claim that drew on biblical arguments, asserted that Jewish immigrants to Mandatory Palestine were the descendants of pagan converts and not of the Israelites. The approach was one shared by both gentile and Jewish anti-Zionists. Rory Miller claims that their denial of a lineal descent from Israelites drew on the Khazar theory.[52]: 128

    In anti-Zionist argumentation delivered at the UN during 1947 Faris al-Khoury and Jamal Al-Husseini used the theory to oppose the creation of a Jewish state on racial and historic grounds. Cecil Hourani claimed that the Arab leaders had been convinced of the value of the argument by Benjamin H. Freedman. Internal British documents seem to support the claim.[52]: 129 It would later play a role in Arab anti-Zionist polemics, taking on an antisemitic edge,[53] though Bernard Lewis, noted in 1987 that serious Arab scholars had dropped it, remarked that it only occasionally emerged in Arab political polemics.[54]: 48
    1950–1976

    D.M. Dunlop, writing in 1954, thought very little evidence backed what he regarded as a mere assumption, and argued that the Ashkenazi-Khazar descent hypothesis went far beyond what “our imperfect records” permit.[55]

    Léon Poliakov, while assuming the Jews of Western Europe resulted from a “panmixia” in the first millennium, asserted in 1955 that it was widely assumed that Europe’s Eastern Jews descended from a mixture of Khazarian and German Jews.[56] Polak’s work found some support from Salo Wittmayer Baron and Ben-Zion Dinur,[57][58] but was dismissed by Bernard Weinryb as a fiction (1962).[59]

    In 1957 Salo Wittmayer Baron, called by his biographer an “architect of Jewish history”,[60] devoted a large part of a chapter in his Social and Religious History of the Jews to the Khazarian Jewish state, and the impact he believed that community exercised on the formation of East European Jewries in his Social and Religious History of the Jews (1957).[61] The scarcity of direct Jewish testimonies did not disconcert Baron: this was to be expected since medieval Jews were “generally inarticulate outside their main centers of learning”.[62] The Khazarian turn to Judaism was, he judged, the “largest and last mass conversion”, involving both the royal house and large sectors of the population. Jews migrated there to flee the recurrent intolerance against Jews and the geopolitical upheavals of the region’s chronic wars, which often proved devastating to northern Asia Minor, between Byzantium, Sassanid Persia, and the Abbasid and Ummayad Caliphates.[63]

    For Baron, the fact of Jewish Khazaria played a lively role in stirring up among Western Jews an image of “red Jews”, and among Jews in Islamic countries a beacon of hope. After the dissolution of Khazaria, Baron sees a diaspora drifting both north into Russia, Poland and the Ukraine, and westwards into Pannonia and the Balkans.[64] where their cultivated presence both established Jewish communities and paved the way, ironically, for the Slavonic conversion to Christianity.[65] By the 11th and 12th centuries, these Eastern Jews make their first appearance in the Jewish literature of France and Germany. Maimonides, bemoaning the neglect of learning in the East, laid his hopes for the perpetuation of Jewish learning in the young struggling communities of Europe but would, Baron concludes, have been surprised to find that within centuries precisely in Eastern Europe would arise thriving communities that were to assume leadership of the Jewish people itself.[66]
    Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe and contemporary views

    The Khazar-Ashkenazi hypothesis came to the attention of a much wider public with the publication of Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe, which made sweeping claims for a Khazar legacy among the Ashkenazi in 1976.[7][67] Koestler’s work was both positively and negatively reviewed. Israel’s ambassador to Britain branded the book “an anti-Semitic action financed by the Palestinians”, while Bernard Lewis claimed that the idea was not supported by any evidence whatsoever, and had been “abandoned by all serious scholars”.[7][68] Raphael Patai, however, registered some support for the idea that Khazar remnants had played a role in the growth of Eastern European Jewish communities,[69] and several amateur researchers, such as Boris Altschüler (1994)[67] and Kevin Alan Brook, kept the thesis in the public eye. Brook’s views evolved as new data became available: in the first edition of his book (1999), he contended that about one-fourth of Ashkenazic ancestry may trace back to the Khazars,[70] whereas in the second edition (2006) he regarded the Khazar contribution as “small”[71] and in the third edition (2018) he argued against any Khazar contribution.[72] Koestler argued that this theory would mitigate European racially based antisemitism.[73]

    The theory has been used to counter the concept of Jewish nationhood.[7][74] It has been revived recently in a variety of approaches, from linguistics (Paul Wexler)[75] to historiography (Shlomo Sand)[76] and population genetics (Eran Elhaik).[77] In broad academic perspective, both the idea that the Khazars converted en masse to Judaism, and the suggestion that they emigrated to form the core population of Ashkenazi Jewry, remain highly polemical issues.[78]
    Genetics and the Khazar theory
    See also: Genetic studies on Jews

    Before modern DNA population genetics entered the field, Raphael Patai described the Khazars in racial terms as being a Turkic people with some Mongoloid admixture.[79] After major advances in DNA sequence analysis and computing technology in the late 20th and early 21st century, a plethora of genetic research on Jewish and other human populations has been conducted worldwide. The Yiddish scholar Alexander Beider regards genetic studies as often offering contradictory information, further complicated by the fact that some researchers’ work is influenced by personal views.[80]

    According to Martin B. Richards, presently available genetic studies, including his own study on Ashkenazi maternal lineages, all refute the Khazar theory.[81] The claim that Ashkenazis as a whole take their origin from Khazars has been widely criticized as there is no direct evidence to support it.[82][83] Using four Jewish groups, one being Ashkenazi, Kopelman et al found no evidence for the Khazar theory.[84]

    While the consensus in genetic research is that the world’s Jewish populations (including the Ashkenazim) share substantial genetic ancestry derived from a common Ancient Middle Eastern founder population, and that Ashkenazi Jews have no genetic ancestry attributable to Khazars,[6] at least one study authored in this period diverges from the majority view in favor of the Khazar theory.

    Counter-evidence exists to the Khazar hypothesis claiming that the male lineage of Ashkenazi Jews originates from an ancient (2000 BCE – 700 BCE) population of the Middle East who spread to Europe. -DNA studies of Ashkenazi Jews conclude that their male lineage was founded by ancestors from the Middle East.[85][86] and that they share this paternal ancestry with Sephardic Jewish populations.[87] Genetic studies show that the male lineage of Ashkenazi Jews bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the Near East, and that they bear their strongest resemblance to the peoples of the Fertile Crescent. A study of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA by a team led by Martin B. Richards of the University of Huddersfield found no maternal lineages attributable to the Caucasus. Richards summarized the findings on the female line as such:

    “[N]one [of the mtDNA] came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas. All of our presently available studies including my own, should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire.”[81]

  8. The last Ice Age made much of the globe uninhabitable, but there were oases – or refugia – where people 20,000 years ago were able to cluster and survive. Researchers at the University of Huddersfield, who specialise in the analysis of human DNA, have found new evidence that there was one or more of these shelters in what is now Southern Arabia.

    Once the Ice Age receded – with the onset of the Late Glacial period about 15,000 years ago – the people of this refugium then dispersed and populated Arabia and the Horn of Africa, and might also have migrated further afield.

    The view used to be that people did not settle in large numbers in Arabia until the development of agriculture, around 10-11,000 years ago. Now, the findings by members of the University of Huddersfield’s Archaeogenetics Research Group demonstrate that modern humans have dwelt in this territory for far longer than previously thought. The new genetic data and analysis bolsters a theory that has long been held by archaeologists, although they had little evidence to support it until now.

    The new argument for an Ice Age refugium in Arabia – perhaps on the Red Sea plains – is put forward in a new article published in the journal Scientific Reports. Its principal author is Dr Francesca Gandini, who was based at the University of Pavia in Italy before relocating in early 2015 to the University of Huddersfield, where she is a Research Fellow in Archaeogenetics and a member of the group headed by Professor Martin Richards.

    Dr Gandini is currently playing a central role in the development of an Ancient DNA lab at the University of Huddersfield, which is home to a Centre for Evolutionary Genomics. It has been awarded £1 million by the Leverhulme Trust in order to provide doctoral training to the next generations of specialists in a field that uses the latest DNA science to delve into evolutionary history.

    The new discoveries about an Ice Age refugium in Arabia and the subsequent outward migration are based on a study of a rare mitochondrial DNA lineage named R0a, which, uniquely, is most frequent in Arabia and the Horn of Africa. Dr Gandini and her co-researchers have reached the conclusion that this lineage is more ancient than previously thought and that it has a deeper presence in Arabia than was earlier believed. This makes the case for at least one glacial refugium during the Pleistocene period, which spanned the Ice Age.

    The new article also describes the dispersals during the postglacial period, around 11,000 years ago, of people from Arabia into eastern Africa. Moreover, there is evidence for the movement of people in the R0a haplogroup through the Middle East and into Europe and there might also have been a trading network and a “gene flow” from Arabia into the territories that are now Iran, Pakistan and India.

    Explore further
    Scientists have found new evidence to show how

  9. ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Most of us think of Europe as the ancestral home of white people. But a new study shows that pale skin, as well as other traits such as tallness and the ability to digest milk as adults, arrived in most of the continent relatively recently. The work, presented here last week at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, offers dramatic evidence of recent evolution in Europe and shows that most modern Europeans don’t look much like those of 8000 years ago.

    The origins of Europeans have come into sharp focus in the past year as researchers have sequenced the genomes of ancient populations, rather than only a few individuals. By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.

    Now, a new study from the same team drills down further into that remarkable data to search for genes that were under strong natural selection—including traits so favorable that they spread rapidly throughout Europe in the past 8000 years. By comparing the ancient European genomes with those of recent ones from the 1000 Genomes Project, population geneticist Iain Mathieson, a postdoc in the Harvard University lab of population geneticist David Reich, found five genes associated with changes in diet and skin pigmentation that underwent strong natural selection.
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    First, the scientists confirmed an earlier report that the hunter-gatherers in Europe could not digest the sugars in milk 8000 years ago, according to a poster. They also noted an interesting twist: The first farmers also couldn’t digest milk. The farmers who came from the Near East about 7800 years ago and the Yamnaya pastoralists who came from the steppes 4800 years ago lacked the version of the LCT gene that allows adults to digest sugars in milk. It wasn’t until about 4300 years ago that lactose tolerance swept through Europe.

    When it comes to skin color, the team found a patchwork of evolution in different places, and three separate genes that produce light skin, telling a complex story for how European’s skin evolved to be much lighter during the past 8000 years. The modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today.

    But in the far north—where low light levels would favor pale skin—the team found a different picture in hunter-gatherers: Seven people from the 7700-year-old Motala archaeological site in southern Sweden had both light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2. They also had a third gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes and may also contribute to light skin and blond hair. Thus ancient hunter-gatherers of the far north were already pale and blue-eyed, but those of central and southern Europe had darker skin.

    Then, the first farmers from the Near East arrived in Europe; they carried both genes for light skin. As they interbred with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, one of their light-skin genes swept through Europe, so that central and southern Europeans also began to have lighter skin. The other gene variant, SLC45A2, was at low levels until about 5800 years ago when it swept up to high frequency.

    The team also tracked complex traits, such as height, which are the result of the interaction of many genes. They found that selection strongly favored several gene variants for tallness in northern and central Europeans, starting 8000 years ago, with a boost coming from the Yamnaya migration, starting 4800 years ago. The Yamnaya have the greatest genetic potential for being tall of any of the populations, which is consistent with measurements of their ancient skeletons. In contrast, selection favored shorter people in Italy and Spain starting 8000 years ago, according to the paper now posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Spaniards, in particular, shrank in stature 6000 years ago, perhaps as a result of adapting to colder temperatures and a poor diet.

    Surprisingly, the team found no immune genes under intense selection, which is counter to hypotheses that diseases would have increased after the development of agriculture.

    The paper doesn’t specify why these genes might have been under such strong selection. But the likely explanation for the pigmentation genes is to maximize vitamin D synthesis, said paleoanthropologist Nina Jablonski of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), University Park, as she looked at the poster’s results at the meeting. People living in northern latitudes often don’t get enough UV to synthesize vitamin D in their skin so natural selection has favored two genetic solutions to that problem—evolving pale skin that absorbs UV more efficiently or favoring lactose tolerance to be able to digest the sugars and vitamin D naturally found in milk. “What we thought was a fairly simple picture of the emergence of depigmented skin in Europe is an exciting patchwork of selection as populations disperse into northern latitudes,” Jablonski says. “This data is fun because it shows how much recent evolution has taken place.”

    Anthropological geneticist George Perry, also of Penn State, notes that the work reveals how an individual’s genetic potential is shaped by their diet and adaptation to their habitat. “We’re getting a much more detailed picture now of how selection works.”
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