There may be no such thing as a Jewish gene, but communities can definitely have defining characteristics, and one such community is Jews with roots in central and eastern Europe.
A model based on the genetic sequencing of 128 Ashkenazi Jews concludes that today’s Ashkenazim descend from the fusion of European and Middle-Eastern Jews during the medieval era, between 600 to 800 years ago.
The math also indicates that today’s sprawling community of Ashkenazi Jews — there are more than 10 million around the world — derived from just 350 people or so. That previously postulated population bottleneck — a drastic reduction in population size — occurred between 25 to 32 generations ago, the scientists say.
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications by a team headed by Columbia University’s Shai Carmon.
A number of genetic characteristics are associated with Ashkenazi groups, as opposed to other Jewish populations and other contemporary Middle-Eastern and European peoples.
Certainly they are genetically distinguishable. “Compared with European samples, our Ashkenazi Jewish panel has 47 percent more novel variants per genome,” write the scientists.
Unfortunately, Ashkenazim are also associated with no less than 19 genetic disorders, according to the Center for Jewish Genetics. Many are fatal and arise from single-gene mutations. The list includes forms of breast and ovarian cancer, Tay-Sachs disease and so-called maple syrup urine disease, in which the pee of affected children smells sweet.
Compared with Europeans in general, Ashkenazi Jews have a slightly greater deleterious mutation load, as it were. (Sephardi Jews have illnesses of their own, including the genetic disorder Wolman’s disease and an allergy to fava beans – the ful so loved by non-allergic Israelis.)
Equality cult ideology, if you distil it down, says that "people are all the same" in their genetic essence. If there are marked differences in the behavioural patterns of recognisable groups, it can only be because their lifetime experiences have affected their "equal" genetic potential in different ways. This is the reigning religious dogma of our age. I say religion because, in my view, the ideology of Equality, and the various social and political movements, it has spawned, exhibits the anthropological and historical characteristics normally associated with what are called "religions".
The Jews, of course, know that this is a crock. They cherish their own distinctiveness, the sense of themselves as being a unique and superior people, indeed a "master race". Usually, they are extremely guarded about expressing this idea in public but it is not hard to find examples of it here and there, and we have seen it even in the comment sections on my blogs. They attach themselves to the Equality cult movement not because they really believe in it but because their find it useful for their own ethnic purposes.
But if a population derives from as few as 350 people only a few hundred years ago, how can it seriously be argued that "people are all the same"? Any population bottleneck of that nature gives rise to what are called "founder effects". Founder effects occur when a population, for whatever reason, loses its natural genetic variety. This might happen, for example, if a smaller group breaks away from a larger population and migrates to a new territory, where it is then genetically segregated from the original population. Or it can happen if a significant percentage of an original, larger population dies, leaving behind a much smaller group to continue the "tribe".
Whether because the new, smaller population has specific characteristics that caused them to leave the original group or allowed them to survive the catastrophe that severely diminished its numbers, or simply through sheer randomness, a group as small as 350 is going to be genetically distinctive. It will not have the normal distribution of characteristics that you would find in a much larger population. And whatever those distinctive characteristics are will, of course, be transmitted to the group's descendants using the normal mechanisms of genetic inheritance.
This could, for example, explain the higher average intelligence of Ashkenazi Jews, which has been measured at 112-114, against the European norm of 100. It could be that the surviving group of 350 just happened to be unusually intelligent. Or perhaps their intelligence allowed them to survive some catastrophe while the less intelligent perished. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that this new revelation completely legitimises the attribution of distinctive characteristics to "Ashkenazi" Jews, most of which will not be as readily measurable as IQ. No population that was bottlenecked down to 350, 600 years ago, is going to be able to recover the full range of normal genetic variety through the simple processes of mutation from then until now, especially when the group practises an ideology that prohibits mating with outsiders.
So if you think Jews are unusually manipulative, contemptuous of freedom, paranoid, devious, ugly, beautiful, whatever your pet theory is, you now have carte blanche to advance it. Because this "bottleneck" revelation blows away the theory that "people are all the same" and establishes the certainty that founder effects of some sort, and therefore an unusual set of characteristics among Ashkenazi Jews, must exist.