Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Jews Are, By Definition, Jewish

Posted on  

"Jews Are, By Definition, Jewish"

Share:

google plus icon

I think there’s something very confused about this line of thought:

While it’s difficult to grasp just how molecules can provoke international, politically-charged questions of identity, imagine the case of the world’s most storied diaspora population: the Jews. Beginning in the late 1990s, the expansive and controversial field of Jewish population genetics has expanded from its original place as a subfield of medical genetics – weighing in pointedly on some of Jewish identity’s most pressing questions. [...] However, a battery of new findings places European Jews somewhere in the genetic space between Italians and Palestinians, begging the question of whether a number can be put on the Jewish people’s authentic Jewishness. Critics of Zionism have even raised the startling possibility that Palestinians might be more genetically Jewish than self-identified Jews themselves, implying that Israel’s statehood might be based on faulty, unscientific myths.

Alternatively, Jewish national identity, like all forms of national identity, is a kind of “imagined community.” And Jewish people are, by definition, authentically Jewish. Palestinian people are, by contrast, Palestinian. There are a lot of interesting questions that can be elucidated via genetics, but the particular claim that Jews and Jewish and Palestinians aren’t isn’t subject to that form of inquiry. Meanwhile, Israeli statehood isn’t based on any kind of science at all it’s a political project like Finnish statehood or Egyptian statehood.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.