In a new book, "The Invention of the Jewish People," the Tel Aviv University professor of history argues that large numbers of Khazar Jews migrated westward into Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, where they played a decisive role in the establishment of Eastern European Jewry. The implications are far-reaching: If the bulk of Eastern European Jews are the descendents of Khazars—not the ancient Israelites—then most Jews have no ancestral links to Palestine. Put differently: If most Jews are not Semites, then what justification is there for a Jewish state in the Middle East?When I was in college I learned all the reasons why this claim is false, ie, why the Khazers are not our ancestors, or at least not to a significant degree, but I seem to have forgotten every single one of them. No matter. I'm currently cynical enough to believe that my professor was anyway misleading us.
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