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View Diary: A Jew Gene Jamboree! (253 comments)

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  •  The conversion of the Turkic Khazars (13+ / 0-)

    to Judaism began around 730-740 and probably involved only the kagans, certain tribal begs, and the merchants involved in international trade; the military apparatus remained largely Muslim (the kagans imported Muslim mercenaries), while the bulk of the population remained shamanist or embraced Islam. There appears to have been a revolt expelling the kagan around 840, probably led by Muslim military elements. Arab writers writing about 900 record there were still Jews among the Khazars, but they do not clearly indicate the majority were Jews.
    The Khazar state was by then already disintegrating. Its population would be absorbed into the Polovtsy, and later into the Golden Horde. But there is no evidence of any mass migration of Khazars westward into Central Europe.

    There is no evidence Judaism spread widely in Khazaria, nor evidence of any Khazar migration into Europe.

    Nazi "race science" popularized the notion of the Khazar Origin of Europe's Jews; John Birch Society propaganda revived the notion in the late 50s/60s (I remember my parents getting anonymous hate screeds about the Khazars from a neighborhood Bircher when i was in grade school); more recently, Russian nationalist antisemites have picked up the idea, citing Lev Gumilev to give it respectability; and now some knee-jerk antiZionists posing as progressives have borrowed it.  

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