American Pravda: The True Origin of the Jews as Khazars, Israelites, or Canaanites

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by Ron Unz, The Unz Review:

Over the last half-dozen years I’ve regularly cited the work of John Beaty, a respected academic who spent his entire teaching career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

During World War II, Prof. Beaty served in Military Intelligence and his responsibilities included producing the daily intelligence briefing reports distributed to the White House and the rest of our top political and military leadership. That position provided him with a unique perspective on the entire course of the conflict.

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After the end of the war, he resumed his academic career and in 1951 he published The Iron Curtain Over America, a book harshly critical of our government policies and the overwhelming Jewish influence that he had believed was responsible. He argued that Jewish domination over the publishing industry and the media had grown so powerful that most ordinary Americans never learned many important facts, with their dangerous ignorance maintained by the “Iron Curtain” of Jewish media control described in his title.

Since Beaty was a reputable scholar who possessed an insider’s crucial knowledge of our wartime activities, his many fierce critics both then and now have always chosen to attack his credibility on a minor side-issue. In his book, he had repeatedly claimed that instead of being the descendants of the ancient Israelites, most European Jews actually traced their ancestry to the Khazars, a fierce Turco-Mongolian warrior tribe that for several centuries controlled a substantial empire in portions of present-day southern Russia and Ukraine. Their rulers had converted to Judaism in the 8th century AD and according to Beaty, the Khazars eventually became the ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, who constituted the bulk of the global Jewish population, including an overwhelming majority of American Jews.

Beaty’s book became a huge conservative best-seller during the 1950s, and his claims about the Khazars were picked up by many other right-wingers hostile to Jewish influence. This was especially true of the leading antisemitic Christian preachers of that era such as Gerald L.K. Smith and Gerald Winrod, perhaps because they preferred believing that their Jewish adversaries were actually the descendants of Central Asian Turkic tribesmen rather than the holy prophets of the Old Testament; and since Beaty was himself a devout Christian, he may have been influenced by similar factors. In recent years, many anti-Zionists of all ideological stripes have also taken up that same theory, arguing that the European Jews who settled in Palestine were actually Khazars and therefore had no legitimate claim to that land. Indeed, among anti-Jewish or anti-Zionist activists on the Internet, “Khazar” has become quite common as a denigrating synonym for “Jew.”

Current efforts to promote this Khazar Hypothesis may have a practical political dimension. These days an important part of American support for Israel relies upon the large body of Christian Zionists, who identify today’s Jews with the Israelites of the Old Testament. Such Christians strongly supported the return of these exiled Jews to their ancient homeland and the restoration of a Jewish state in Palestine after two thousand years, regarding these events as the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies necessary for the return of Christ. So if they became convinced that Jews were instead Central Asian Khazars, their support might wane.

Since Beaty’s beliefs about the Khazars seemed irrelevant to the rest of his book, I’d mostly ignored them. But although such Khazar theories are rarely discussed in mainstream venues, they have become so widespread in fringe, conspiratorial circles that a few months ago I finally decided to review the evidence and publish my findings. However, my lengthy analysis of Jewish origins was buried in the middle of a very long article, bracketed on both sides by completely unrelated issues. Therefore, I’ve now decided to extract that material and expand it into a much more focused and comprehensive treatment of this important topic.

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