Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sand Attempts Throwing Sand in Our Eyes

Shlomo (No Jewish People) Sand responds to a book review (*) critical of his theory:

The Jewish ‘natio’

Sir, – The least one might expect from an honest book reviewer is that he inform his readers when he is himself the subject of criticism of the book under review. However, Martin Goodman (February 26) has chosen not to do so. Against all standard conventions, he hides from his readers the fact that his ethnocentric approach to Jewish history was explicitly criticized in my book The Invention of the Jewish People. [this is a stupid claim. 99% of all academia would be included in those opposing Sand]

This is not the only misleading issue in the article by this professor of Jewish history. For example, when he declares that “no scholar who works on Jewish history in the Roman period has deigned to pay \[my book\] any attention”, he is simply wrong. My work has received positive responses from scholars of both the ancient and modern eras, including Maurice Sartre, a prominent and distinguished historian of Ancient Jewish history, who contributed to the debate on my book published in the magazine L’Histoire and wrote an article on it for the symposium in the journal Le Débat. In these pieces, aside from some minor divergences, he agrees with my approach. But Sartre, contrary to Goodman, did not write part of his research in Jerusalem, the eternally united capital city of the Jewish “natio”.

As Goodman says, it is indeed true that a walk through the streets of Israeli cities visually demonstrates how diverse the origins of the Jews are. But it remains the case that most Israelis are confident in their belief, which Goodman seems to share, that they originated from a single Jewish “natio”, exiled in the first century of the Christian era. Just as the genetics laboratories in Israeli universities continue to search for characteristics common to all Jews (**), historians such as Goodman continue to encourage the view of a separate “Jewish people” with a naive historiography – an outlook that is partly responsible for the fact that in Israel today a Jew cannot marry a non-Jew. In Goodman’s view, conversion was not the factor that brought about the demographic growth of the Jews in ancient times. Apparently, as opposed to all other peoples at the time, the compassionate Jewish “natio” prohibited the practice of abortion and this fact alone explains the faster rate of reproduction than that of its neighbours.

It is sad that a scholar teaching at Oxford still believes that “nations” existed in Antiquity and, moreover, ignores the fact that relative demographic stability up until the modern era was largely due to limited capacities in food production.

SHLOMO SAND
Department of History, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv.


So facile. So, well, dumb.

Just remember that Sand is a Communist. And Communists lie, fabricate and manipulate.

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(*)

I found it:

From The Times Literary Supplement
February 26, 2010
Secta and natio
MARTIN GOODMAN

Shlomo Sand
THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Translated by Yael Lotan 332pp. Verso. £18.99.

In ad 67, a year after the Jews of Jerusalem had begun their war against Rome, a certain Antiochus, the son of the leader of the local Jewish community in the great city of Antioch in Syria, brought about a massacre of some in this community by alleging that his fellow Jews were plotting to burn the city to the ground. Those who survived were compelled, at Antiochus's instigation, to sacrifice in the pagan manner: Antiochus wanted to prove his change of allegiance, and he knew the most effective way to attack his fellow Jews. Soon afterwards the remaining Jews were accused of responsibility for a fire which did in fact burn down the market square and surrounding buildings. The Roman authorities only with great difficulty restrained the local mob from killing the rest of the Jews in the city, even though it turned out on investigation that the incendiaries had been not Jews, but debtors who had hoped to free themselves from their burdens by destroying the public archives.

What was to happen to these diaspora Jews when, some three years later, the city of Antioch was visited by Titus, conqueror of Judaea, who had destroyed Jerusalem so thoroughly as to "leave future visitors to the spot no ground for believing it had ever been inhabited"? The people of Antioch greeted Titus with acclamations and a petition to expel the Jews from their city, to which Titus responded that this was not possible: "their own fatherland, to which, being Jews, they ought to be banished, has been destroyed, and no place would now receive them".

These stories and quotations come from the last book of Josephus's account of the Jewish War, which was composed soon after the events as a work of history for Roman readers, including Titus himself. If what Josephus wrote was true, what is one to make of the claim in Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People, that there was no exile of the Jews in ad 70, that the notion of such an exile was the product of Christian theology later adopted by the rabbis, that modern Jews are all the descendants of gentiles from outside Judaea who converted to Judaism as a religion, and that the Jews were not, and should not now, be considered as a people until the Jewish people were "invented" in the nineteenth century? Is there anything at all to be said for Sand's much-hyped hypotheses? Certainly it is true, and has always been well recognized, that the dejudaization of Jerusalem was not instantaneous in ad 70. A Roman legion was quartered there, but the early rabbinic sources (almost totally ignored by Sand) refer to Jews among the ruins, and it was not until the failure in ad 135 of another uprising, the Bar Kokhba war, that Jews were forbidden to enter into the territory of the city. The explicit testimony to this ban in the writings of Justin Martyr in around the 140s ad is incomprehensibly dismissed by Sand as the product of Christian theological bias, but it is hard to know why Justin, who came from Palestine and was a sophisticated author in the Greek rhetorical tradition, would lay his argument open to easy refutation on the grounds that his assertion about the exclusion of the Jews from their home city was simply not true.

It is also a well-known fact that exile for these Jews was only from Jerusalem and its environs, not from all the areas that had at times been part of the Roman province of Judaea in the first century ad or constituted "the land of Israel" for the rabbis - indeed, much of the rabbinic literature of late antiquity was composed in Galilee, including the Mishnah. It is hard to imagine that this information can come as a surprise to Israelis of any background in the light of the considerable efforts made in recent years to build up tourism to sites of Jewish settlement in late Roman Palestine, such as Sepphoris.

But (as everyone also knows) many Jews in late antiquity were to be found scattered around the wider Roman world, not just in the diaspora in the eastern Mediterranean coastlands where Jews had been established long before ad 70, but also in parts of the western Mediterranean and in northern Europe where they are attested only after Jerusalem had been destroyed. Where did these Jews come from? Sand claims that not just some, but the great majority, of these diaspora Jews were descended not from inhabitants of Judaea, but from converts, and this is where his discussion substitutes belligerence for argument. Sand's analysis starts from the assumption that the total population of Jews in the Roman Empire was so huge that it can only have come about through widespread conversion, but this assumption itself is faulty. He confidently cites the figure of a total of 4 million Jews in the Roman Empire in the first century ad, a number derived, via a series of wholly random guesses, from a figure which was itself long ago shown to be an error which crept into scholarly literature in the nineteenth century on the basis of a confused reference by the thirteenth-century Syriac author Bar Hebraeus to the total number of Roman citizens in the time of Claudius.

And if the Jewish population did indeed grow disproportionately to the non-Jewish population in the early centuries ad, the impact of Jewish opposition to abortion and infanticide deserves to be taken a great deal more seriously as an explanation than it is by Sand, who seems to be totally ignorant of the standard methods of population control, including child exposure, in the pagan Roman Empire. That some non-Jews converted in this period, not least for intermarriage, is not in doubt, and the evidence adduced by Sand (as for many of his allegedly radical assertions) is all standard. But to imagine that mass conversion to Judaism could have taken place in this period on the same lines as the conversions of whole populations to Christianity within the Christian Roman state from the fourth century, without evoking considerably greater hostile evidence from the Roman state in either its pagan or its Christian guise, is desperately implausible, given the illegality of male conversion to Judaism in the Roman world from the mid-second century.

No less implausible is Sand's claim that the Jews were regarded only as a religious group after ad 70, and not as a people. It is of course true that the complex identity of Jews as both a religion and a nation is a stock topic of undergraduate essays in the (perfectly respectable) academic field of Jewish History so despised by Sand, and the same topic has recently absorbed the energies of the Supreme Court in London. And the Christian Roman state, which from the late fourth century categorized all its inhabitants to a considerable extent by religious identity, referred to the Jews also primarily in religious terms — as a "secta", "superstitio", or (on rare occasions, more politely) as a "religio".

But there is also no doubt that both pagan and Christian Romans sometimes thought of the Jews as a people (and in this respect the terminology used about Jews is very different from that used about Christians, about whom Sand has remarkably little to say). Near the end of the third century, 200 years after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple but still under a pagan Roman emperor, the author of a legal tome called the Sententiae referred to these "iudaei" as a "natio", which is unambiguous, and the same terminology can be found in a law, preserved in the fifth-century Theodosian code, of the Christian Emperor Constantine II: on August 13, 339, he gave judgement on the punishment to be inflicted on Jews who bought a slave "of another secta or natio". The same term "natio" was employed about the Jews by the aristocratic pagan poet Rutilius Namatianus when he vented his rage in verse against a Jew whose bad temper ruined a visit he made, at some time between 415 and 417, to some particularly pleasant fish-ponds near Faleria, which he encountered on the way from Rome to his property in his native Gaul.

What has possessed Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv historian of contemporary European history, to write about a subject of which he patently knows so little? The answer is refreshingly simple. His aim, which he does not try to disguise, is to undermine the claim of Israeli Jews who come from diaspora communities to have returned to the land from which their people originated. He hopes thereby to help to turn the state of Israel into a more equal democratic society in which the origins of its Jewish and Arab inhabitants are ignored.

Now, Sand's political concerns for the present and the future may indeed be justified, since there is no doubt that keeping the state of Israel both Jewish and democratic is proving by no means easy - not at all a new insight, as the many studies cited by Sand himself in his final chapter go to show. But this political stance cannot be justified by an appeal to invented history. It is not just Sand's ancient history that is faulty. His account of the historiography of the Jews over the past two centuries, with his constant polemic against Zionist historians, is ludicrous.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Jewish intellectuals referred to the notion of race no more than others in Europe at the time, and such language fell out of use among Jewish historians long ago. A concern with the racial genetics of contemporary Jews is Sand's, not theirs: anyone walking down the street in Tel Aviv can see the genetic diversity of modern Israeli Jews. It is extraordinary to claim, as Sand does, that Jewish historians have suppressed knowledge of the remarkable conversion of the Khazars to Judaism in or around the ninth century; on the contrary, they have frequently revelled in it. Sand's whole discussion of this topic is, as the historian Israel Bartal put it in a devastating review published in the French journal Cités, "l'invention d'une invention". One can only speculate about the reasons for Sand's so frequent misrepresentation of the books he quarries, but the result is farcical.

Why bother at all to review such a book? So far as I know, no scholar who works on Jewish history in the Roman period has deigned to pay it any attention. But such lordly disdain is dangerous. The cover of Sand's book proclaims it an international bestseller, and it has been widely discussed by journalists and on television and radio both in Israel and France, and now in Britain. For the general public, what catches the attention are the headlines, not the arguments or the evidence, and it is revealing that there is evidently an appetite for such claims among secular Israeli Jews.

But, more worryingly, the book has also received praise from historians and others who ought to have known better. These enthusiasts do not presumably know the material about which Sand writes, but they like his conclusions, and they have presumably been taken in by the impression that his book is scholarly history - an impression created by large numbers of footnotes referring to a wide array of scholarship (much of it only in fact half-digested) and an opening chapter which gallops competently enough through standard discussions about the construction of national identities and the notion of ethnicity before the author turns to his highly dubious claims about the Jews.

In a self-glorifying preface to this book, Sand describes his role as that of a revealer of inconvenient facts suppressed by a malicious political and academic establishment. Some of those who have expressed approval of his book may believe that, like the Israeli New Historians whose discovery of genuinely new data on the events of 1948 has indeed caused much discomfort to that establishment, Shlomo Sand, too, has faced opposition because he has unearthed something new. Nothing could be further from the truth.


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(**)


And now this:

IT'S IN OUR DNA
(Article by Nadav Shragai, Yisrael Hayom, 5.3.10, pp. 18-19B)
The claims presented by Prof. Shlomo Sand in his book The Invention of the Jewish People – according to which, there was no Jewish People up until the 19th century – are gathering popularity in Europe and the Arab world. But opposition to the claim comes from a surprising scientific field. Several DNA researchers have discovered: Not only are Yemenite and Polish Jews brothers but Aaronic priests from various communities descend from the same father. The discoveries in the field of genetics are reassuring and refute racist approaches.
In Europe, Prof. Shlomo Sand's book The Invention of the Jewish People, is a best-selling hit. Sand, an economics history professor at Tel Aviv University, claims, in his book, that up until the second half of the 19th century, "There really was no Jewish People;" that the exodus from Egypt never happened; and that the kingdom of David and Solomon never existed. He even went so far as to claim that the Jewish People were not exiled after the fall of the Second Temple.
The book became a bestseller in Europe, especially in France, where it was on the national bestseller list for 19 straight weeks and received the "Today" prize from a group of columnists.
But here the storm began. A French researcher, Eric Marty, severely criticized the book in Le Monde under the headline "Bad Reasons for the Success of a Bestseller." Other researchers, most of them students, attacked Sand, including in a leading article in l'Histoire, and two other researchers, Claude Klein and Mireille Hadas-Lebel, called Sand's book "an invention."
As expected, the book, which claims there was no Jewish People, plays into the hands of those who are struggling against Israel's right to exist, not only in Europe, but in the Arab world as well. From various publications, it arises that there are already contracts for translating the book into 16 languages, including Arabic.
But to academics in a totally different field, Sand's theory seems especially unfounded. Until recently, those who replied to Sand in learned articles have been historians, archaeologists, columnists and – of course – rabbis. But researchers in the field of genetics are now joining the argument. Recently, there have been scientific developments in this field. The researchers more or less confirm the familiar story of the Jewish People, as well as the underlying assumption which, in one sentence, holds that Jews in the four corners of the Diaspora are indeed one people and the descendants of common forefathers and fore mothers.
Prof. Karl Skorecki is the Director of Medical and Research Development at Ramban Hospital in Haifa and the Director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences at the Technion. Together with research groups from the US, Russia, the UK, France, Portugal and Estonia, they have – in recent years – located a series of identical or very similar genetic signatures, i.e. "barcodes", in DNA taken from the blood of Jews in approximately 25 different countries.
These unique genetic markers show considerable genetic closeness between Jews around the world. All of this is in spite of the distances of time and place between them. These "signatures" are common to Jews thousands of miles apart from each other and they are not found among their non-Jewish neighbors, from whom the research group also took DNA samples.
Moreover, the research showed that the genetic "barcodes" common to Jews the world over are indeed different from the "barcodes" of their non-Jewish neighbors in the various countries – but are identical to the genetic "barcodes" characteristic of residents of the Middle East (Jewish and non-Jewish), such as Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Whoever desires may find here far-reaching evidence of the origin of the first Hebrew, Abraham, from Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and the Tigris.
In the DNA samples that were taken from Jews around the world, there is also evidence of assimilation and conversion to Judaism in lesser and greater rates: In some countries, there is considerable intrusion by genetic "barcodes" characteristic of the non-Jewish population and vice-versa. And indeed, Jewish sources tell of large-scale conversion to Judaism. For example, the Book of Esther (8:17) says that, "And many from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them." Rabbi Yehuda Halevy's book Kuzari tells of Khazars who converted to Judaism 1,300 years ago (although most researchers believe that the story of the Kuzari has no historical basis and that it was written as a literary device for the philosophic discussion in the book).
Skorecki, a world-class nephrologist, led research teams to cooperate in their work with Prof. Sergio DellaPergola, who is considered the outstanding demographer of the Jewish People, and with history Prof. Theodore Parfitt from the University of London. With their assistance, the geneticists tried to understand the historical significance of their findings.
One of the main historical insights raised by the genetic findings among Ashkenazi Jews was that European Jewry originated in the Middle East.
It is interesting that similar findings were received in a different genetic study issued several years ago by the US National Academy of Sciences.* The genetic "fingerprints" or "barcodes" of Jewish maternal and paternal lines, as found in DNA samples taken from the blood of European Jews, moved apart as far back as 1,300 years ago.
This specific research, which was coordinated by Doron Behar, under Skorecki's guidance, showed that the approximately 3.5 million Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of four ancestral women. The findings raised by the genetic study of Ashkenazi Jews apparently match the history that we are familiar with: Ashkenazi Jewry originates from Jews who migrated from the Land of Israel to Italy in the first and second centuries; later, in the 12th and 13th centuries, they migrated to central Europe and spread throughout the continent, until reaching approximately ten million people on the eve of World War II.
Can the genetic research refute the claims of those who deny the Jewish exile, such as, for example, those Palestinians who call on Jews who came to Israel from eastern Europe to return to their countries of origin?
Prof. Skorecki says that the genetic research does not deal with this but adds that, "The findings show us that the DNA 'barcodes' among European Jews are not the 'barcodes' characteristic of the non-Jewish European populations but of those characteristic of the residents of the Middle East, which can certainly assist in strengthening the claim that there was an exile."
Skorecki, who is considered among the leading experts around the world in the genetic research of the Jewish People, became interested in the field by coincidence approximately 17 years ago, after returning to Canada from a year's sabbatical at the Weizmann Institute. One day it occurred to him that among the Aaronic priests ["cohanim"] at his synagogue were tall men with blond hair, alongside darker men of lower stature, and all recited the same blessing by virtue of the tradition that they are descended from Aaron the priest ["cohen"].
The scientist asked himself if it was possible to check the claim that the priestly lineage was "pure" and if there was a genetic basis for the claim that all these men should be considered Aaronic priests today by virtue of the tradition passed from father to son that they are indeed the descendants of one father, Aaron the priest.
The research question that Skorecki sought to crack touched on one of the main genetic parameters for considering the preservation of the ancestral Jewish people. According to the book of Exodus, the status of the priesthood began to coalesce in the time of Moses, during the period of wandering in the desert. The sons of Levy were set apart for sacred tasks and one family among them, that of Aaron, received the right of the priesthood, which has – apparently – passed from father to son ever since. Priests were demarcated from the rest of the people in their lifestyle as well. They were – inter alia – barred from marrying divorcees or converts. Later sources speak of thousands of priests who served in the Temple over the years, in permanent watches of 24 groups.
Josephus Flavius attests that this meticulousness was also upheld during his time. The Babylonian Talmud tells of 18 High Priests who served during the First Temple period and of 300 during the Second Temple period
Skorecki and his colleagues tested DNA from 68 Aaronic priests, and from another 120 Jews who were not Aaronic priests. The samples were taken from Israel, Britain and Canada. They were tested on a certain part of the Y chromosome that only men carry and is passed on from father to son. The findings, published in the distinguished periodical Nature,** caused waves. It was clear that, despite the geographical dispersion over two thousand years, the genetic identity of the priestly dynasty remained intact. If that was not enough, the research determines that all of the Aaronic priests originated from one biological father who lived 3,200 years ago, at about the period in which, according to tradition, Aaron the priest lived, during the period of the Tabernacle, according to Jewish custom.
That is not all: The Aaronic priest research also showed that Ashkenazi Jews and Jews of eastern descent, who separated into two communities about 1,000 years ago, are indisputable genetic relatives and are genetically related to each other many times more than they are to the peoples among which they lived. Simply put: A Jew from Yemen is genetically closer to a Jew from France than he is to his neighbor in Yemen.
A few months ago the scientists repeated the research, in a more comprehensive study. Once again the findings were validated and even found four Aaronic priest sub-branches that the technology available to the researchers 13 years earlier could not have discovered.
Yigal Shafran is a Professor of Science and Jewish Law at the Bar-Ilan University School of Education. He is also a rabbi and a lecturer on medical ethics at the Technion and heads the Chief Rabbinate's Department of Medicine and Jewish Law. Shafran was required more than once for Skorecki's research. He says that, according to Jewish law, genetic studies do not constitute proof, but rather support for additional findings. Therefore, it is not possible, for example, to prove mamzerut status through genetic testing. Despite this, under financial law, Jewish Law relies on genetics. For example, when a father asks for an exemption from making support payments for a child under the claim that he is not the real father, and the genetic test supports this - he is exempt from payments.
British social science researcher Dr. Charles Murray claimed in the past that the IQ of the Jews is 7-15% higher than the general average. Skorecki clarifies in this regard: "In our research we only test DNA segments called neutrals. There are 'genetic barcodes' that indicate tendencies toward diseases, and there are 'barcodes' that indicate behavioral tendencies, for example a tendency toward violence, but our team did not deal with them at all."
"We are not enslaved to our genes," emphasizes Skorecki, "Genetics is merely a tool that, only when combined with additional means such as linguistics, archeology and history, helps us to gain insights into humanity's past, and in our case – on the history of the Jewish People. These studies can, however, indicate a group of Jews from various places in the world who share a common origin and mutual genetic 'barcodes', but the historical-political issues, like those of the Jews and Palestinians, I will not try to settle, and will leave that to the historians. My opinion is that while it is important to know from whence you came, it is more important to know where you are going."
That is perhaps the reason why Skorecki refuses to relate directly to claims raised by historians such as Sand, even though his opinion on the matter is rather clear.
Even Prof. Batsheva Bona-Tamir, a genetic pioneer in Israel, speaks in the same vein. Bona-Tamir founded the National Laboratory for the Genetics of Israeli Populations at Tel-Aviv University, where DNA examples are kept at -190 C. She also warns against, "interest-guided categorical characteristics which depart from the realm of research, or the misguided use of research in any such direction."
Does the genetic research of the Jewish people play into the hands of those who accused us in the past of condescension and pretensions to racial superiority?
"Paradoxically," Prof. Skorecki emphasizes, "DNA research actually disproves any basis for racist thinking. DNA research can indicate a genetic affinity between people, and it does indicate significant genetic links between Jews around the world, just as it shows that the Druze are a type of 'genetic nature reserve', who have not intermingled with other peoples. Genetic research has discovered, inter alia, that the American Indians are actually from Siberia. In any case, DNA does not define people as a race, because it does not define attributes, character, behavior and heritage or tradition.
As a rule, genetics teaches us that all of humanity is one family, from one stock, with 99.9% similarity to each other, and that this similarity is indeed common to the human race, but here it begins and ends. Whoever uses genetic studies of the Jewish people, based on one agenda or another, in order to describe a people-race, is distorting reality."
Despite these things, the genetics, which doctors make use of in order to characterize a tendency toward diseases in communities and various groups, and which the police utilize to identify suspects in crime, or their victims – is gradually becoming a tool in deciphering and monitoring historic processes.
Thus, for example, a research group from the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, in cooperation with New York University, turned to the public a few months ago and requested anonymous blood donations in the framework of the Jewish HapMap Project, which is intended to map the wanderings of the Jewish People. Here as well it would be done by deciphering donor DNA of Jews from different communities. The existence of the Jewish People however is characterized mainly by common heritage, religion, history, experiences and territory, but more than a few scientists are anxiously awaiting historical discoveries as a result of developments in the genetic field.
(See summary here.)

1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Maurice Sartre [any relation to Jean-Paul?] wrote L'Orient Romain, which includes a chapter on the Jews in the Roman province of Judea. He updated this book in Le Haut-Empire Romain [1991, 1997]. This updating contains a chapter on the Jews under the heading "Les Juifs en Mediterranee orientale".

So he is not so much a specialist on the ancient Jews as on the Roman Empire in the East. I have not read the book lately but as I recall he does NOT claim that there was no exile or that proselytes were the majority of the Jews in the Empire, whether in the East or West of it.

The problem with Sartre is that he hired himself out to the Syrian government in the early 1990s or in the 1980s, contributing an article about "Syria" to a collection of articles on Syria in ancient times sponsored by the Syrian govt, which also publishes books by the former defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, defending the Damascus blood libel of 1840. Sartre's chapter in that Syrian volume was nearly incoherent double talk, or perhaps he was trying hard not to lie yet to make it hard for people to understand what he was saying so as not to upset his employers.

It ought to be stressed that virtually nothing reliable is known about the Khazars after their defeat by the early Russian state [with its capital at Kiev]. There are scraps of info that doesn't really prove anything. For instance, there is a village in Hungary called Kozar that maybe, maybe, was named after Khazar settlers there 900 years ago. Such is the evidence. Further, neither Sand nor Arthur Koestler before him nor an early exponent of this theory, AN Polak, could explain why the Jews in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus [Litvaks], Rumania, etc. were speaking Yiddish, which has a mostly Germanic vocabulary, plus some basic words and given names from old Italian and old French [bentshn = bendicere; Bunim = Bonhomme], as well as many Hebrew and Aramaic words. If the Khazars who survived the defeat by the Russians had migrated west, why didn't they keep their original tongue, perhaps a Turkic or north Caucasian language??? Why did they adopt a language obviously originating in the German Rhineland [known by linguistic signs]?? Especially since they were surrounded by Slavic-speaking people in most of the countries named??

Commies believe what they want to believe or they lie. And they have no scruples about lying to persuade people to support a cause. But where is his evidence for what happened to the Khazars 900 years ago???