In recent years there has been a resurgence of a now debunked myth that European Jews are not Jews at all, but rather descended from an ancient Turkic kingdom known as the Khazars.
While this myth which found prominence in antisemitic literature in the late 1800s has been proven wrong by scientists, anthropologists and historians, it found a new voice in the 1960s through a Jewish historian and amateur anthropologist Arthur Koestler.
While there were converts in the Khazar empire to Judaism, they remained within the elite and royalty rarely trickling down to the masses. These converts melted into the Jewish population already living in Khazaria and made up an infinitesimal percentage of Jews in that area, let alone European Jewry as a whole.
In fact Khazaria, made up of a blend of Turkic pagans saw mass conversions to two other religions at the same time the royalty became Jewish. Many more commoners became Muslim or Christian, depending on the refugees that came from the West and South and influenced the Khazarian Kingdom.
When Khazaria collapsed under the weight of the furture Russian kingdom from the North and the Persian Empire to the South, the Khazarians went to various areas, but mostly stayed put, taking on the religion of their conquerers.
As for European Jewry, they are primarily descended from Jews who were expelled from the Land of Israel by the Romans after the failed Bar Kochba Rebellion. They started off in Italy, France, and Germany, making their way East and reaching Eastern Europe only after 960 CE. In fact Sephardic Jews, not Ashkenazic Jews were found in Eastern Europe before their European counterparts ended up there.
So why is it important to fight back on this myth? Because now the “Palestinian” Arabs are using it to discredit the Zionist movement as well as Jewish claims to the Holy Land. They perpetuate a lie that Israel is a European colony and then extend the lie saying that the Jews in Israel are fake. Firstly, a majority of Jews in Israel are not originally from Europe, but rather North Africa, the Middle East, Ethiopia, and beyond.
Secondly, European Jews share more DNA with their Sephardic and Middle Eastern counterparts than non Jewish Europeans.
While the Khazar myth is easily debunked we must continue to fight against its use as a weapon to delegitimize the Jewish people.