Re: On Flinn and Jewish success

Michael Forstadt (forstadt@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU)
Wed, 9 Nov 1994 07:04:47 -0500

Two quick comments to Dwight Read:

1) I believe the jury is still out concerning the origins of the
Ashkenazi Jews. Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that certain
blood group/or other genetic tests have suggested a closer link between
Askenazis and Eastern Mediterranean peoples than between the former and
central Europeans. Despite the exact historical relationships, however, I
am not sure why you feel that Judaism has operated in the past like
Christianity and Islam (proselytizing religions with no exclusive ties to
ethnicity). The argument that Ashkenazi Jews (or Gypsies, for that
matter) are just Europeans (which has certainly NEVER been accepted by
the Europeans) is most often used by those most virulently opposed to the
idea of the state of Israel. This point, of course, does not invalidate
your argument. However, I just wanted to point out the fact that this
view has been used as a political statement (before I get jumped upon, I
REALIZE that the opposite view [i.e., Jews as Levantine] is equally
political. I am aware of this, yet I continue to hold this view).

2) A semantic quibble: Despite the obvious fact that Jews and Arabs are
both Semitic peoples, the term anti-Semitism has gained common usage to
mean anti-Jewish (in a racial/ethnic sense).
Michael S. Forstadt