In the wake of the Jersey City massacre, the public is learning about the killers’ insane anti-Semitic 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 anti-Semitic 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 C.E. 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.
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 P.A. National Council in the P.A. capital city of Ramallah. It was as official as official can be.
The P.A. 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 anti-Semitic.
The New York Times reported that the speech “was laced with deep anti-Semitic 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 anti-Semitism 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, D.C., called it anti-Semitic. Abbas’s speech “featured absurd anti-Semitic 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 anti-Semitic conspiracy theories sometimes put their anti-Semitism 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 imposters and many other insane conspiracy theories as well, such as the theory that the Palestinians are descendants from 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, anti-Semitic 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.