The Myth of the Jewish Race

A Biologist's Point of View
Alain F Corcos
Lehigh University Press - The Myth of the Jewish Race
More than sixty years after the death of Hitler, the defeat of Nazism, and the horrors of the Holocaust, the concept of a Jewish race is still alive and well in the minds of too many. This book is an attempt to destroy such a concept from both a biological and historical point of view. To be a race Jews would have to have been isolated from other populations. However, they never avoided crossbreeding and converted many non-Jews. In other words, from Day One Jews have married non-Jews, and therefore there is no way to genetically characterize them as a race. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to accept the ideas that Judaism is not hereditary, but a religion, and that Jews who abandon the Jewish faith, whether they adopt another religion or none at all, are no longer Jews.
 
The author came to write this book for personal and scientific reasons. He spent four years of his youth under the Vichy government, which was the most virulent anti-Semitic regime that had ever ruled France. In its efforts to "cleanse the Jewish dirt" from French society, Vichy devised a broader definition of a Jew than that of the German Nazis. It classified a person with two Jewish grandparents as Jewish, which meant that children of a Jew and non-Jew could face deportation to a death camp. This definition applied to the author's family because some of his ancestors had practiced the Jewish faith. Soon after its establishment Vichy required all persons who fit the description to register as Jews. The wisdom and courage of the author's parents in refusing to register undoubtedly saved the whole family from death. Yet the author's whole life has been marked by the fact that he was discriminated against when he was a teenager. It is only recently that, by writing this book, the author has been able to deal with the Nazi persecution, and his mind is at peace.
 
As a trained geneticist, he became convinced that there are not and never were human races. In the last twenty years, an increasing number of anthropologists and biologists have reached the same conclusion. They argue that there is no way to genetically characterize race, because no human population has ever been isolated long enough from other populations to avoid "crossbreeding." The history of the Jews, in particular, supports this thesis. From Day One they had children with non-Jews. Hence, biologically, Jews are not different from non-Jews.
 
Although many volumes have been written that condemn anti-Semitism and deal with its history, only two treat the myth of the Jewish race. Oddly, though both maintain that there is no such thing as a Jewish race, their authors write about Jewish blood and Jewish genes, which are misleading concepts as harmful and pernicious as the term race itself.
ISBN: 
9781611460339 (R&L)
0934223793 (AUP)
Price: 
$70.00
Year: 
2005
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