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December 27, 2019 10:32 am

Jersey City and the Lie That the Jews Are Not the ‘Real’ Jews

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /


A picture of the scene the day after an hours-long gun battle around a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dec. 11, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Lloyd Mitchell. – In the wake of the Jersey City massacre, the public is learning about the killers’ insane antisemitic conspiracy theory concerning the medieval kingdom of the Khazars. But the Jersey City murderers are not the only ones who push that lunatic idea. In fact, it has been promoted by one very prominent foreign leader.

The Anti-Defamation League examined the Facebook page of Jersey City killer David Anderson and reported that “numerous posts in this Facebook account illustrate Anderson’s hatred for Jews, whom he sometimes refers to as Khazars — a reference to an antisemitic conspiracy theory that modern Jews are descendants of an Eastern European tribe from the 11th century.” In some of the posts, Anderson referred to Ashkenazi Jews as “NAZIS—ASHKE-NAZIS (KHAZARS).”

The Khazars were a semi-nomadic Turkic tribe whose leaders are said (by some sources) to have converted to Judaism in the eighth century CE. There is no evidence that the masses of Khazaris became Jews. However, beginning in the 1930s, some anti-Zionists claimed that contemporary Jews have no right to the Land of Israel because they are descendants of the Khazars, not the original inhabitants of the land.

It’s not hard to understand why the Khazar quackery appeals to a fringe cult like the “Black Hebrew Israelites,” with which the Jersey City murderers identified. The core of their belief is that they are the “real” Jews. Hence they must deny that actual Jews are, in fact, Jews. Calling them Khazars thus has a strong appeal.

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But Anderson and his ilk are not alone. It’s also very appealing to the Palestinian Arabs — and not just to a few fringe Palestinian conspiracy theorists, but to the mainstream elected leaders who, we are constantly being told, are “peaceful” and “moderate.”

Just last year, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas delivered a major public address based on the Khazar conspiracy theory. Apologists for the Palestinian cause can’t claim that he was making off the cuff, passing remarks to some unimportant little group. Abbas was speaking to the Palestinian Authority National Council in the PA capital city of Ramallah. It was as official as official can be.

The PA head was explaining why the Jews have no right to the land of the biblical patriarchs Abraham and Jacob. “Khazar was a kingdom with no religion, then they became Jews, and left the kingdom and spread all over Europe,” said Abbas. “And those are Ashkenazi Jews, which means they are not Semitic, and have no relation to Semitism and have nothing to do with the prophets Abraham or Jacob.”

Everybody — I mean everybody — acknowledged that the speech was antisemitic.

The New York Times reported that the speech “was laced with deep antisemitic tropes.” The United Nations’ “coordinator for the Middle East peace process,” Nickolay E. Mladenov, said “such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing. … Leaders have an obligation to confront antisemitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it.”

Even J Street, which functions as the de facto lobby for the Palestinian cause in Washington, DC, called it antisemitic. Abbas’s speech “featured absurd antisemitic tropes and deeply offensive comments on the history the Jewish people and Israel,” a J Street press release acknowledged.

Nobody in his right mind would suggest giving the Black Hebrew Israelites an independent, sovereign state. That’s because we all know that lunatics who espouse antisemitic conspiracy theories sometimes put their antisemitism into practice. Violently.

So why is giving the Palestinian Authority a sovereign state — in Israel’s backyard — any safer than giving such a state to the Jersey City killers?

The elected Palestinian Arab leaders, just like the Black Hebrew Israelites, really believe that the Jews are Khazari impostors and many other insane conspiracy theories as well, such as the theory that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Canaanites and the idea that the Holocaust is a Zionist hoax.

So every time some well-meaning politician mouths the slogan “two-state solution,” let’s remind them: You wouldn’t hand a loaded gun to a raving lunatic. You wouldn’t hand your car keys to someone who is drunk or on drugs. And you shouldn’t give an independent state to violent, antisemitic conspiracy theorists.

Because lives are at stake.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terrorism, now available on Kindle.

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