Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians

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Niccolo and Donkey
Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians

Guardian UK

Robin McKie

November 25, 2011

A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal.

Academics who have already received copies of Human Immunology have been urged to rip out the offending pages and throw them away.

Such a drastic act of self-censorship is unprecedented in research publishing and has created widespread disquiet, generating fears that it may involve the suppression of scientific work that questions Biblical dogma.

'I have authored several hundred scientific papers, some for Nature and Science, and this has never happened to me before,' said the article's lead author, Spanish geneticist Professor Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, of Complutense University in Madrid. 'I am stunned.'

British geneticist Sir Walter Bodmer added: 'If the journal didn't like the paper, they shouldn't have published it in the first place. Why wait until it has appeared before acting like this?'

The journal's editor, Nicole Sucio-Foca, of Columbia University, New York, claims the article provoked such a welter of complaints over its extreme political writing that she was forced to repudiate it. The article has been removed from Human Immunology's website, while letters have been written to libraries and universities throughout the world asking them to ignore or 'preferably to physically remove the relevant pages'. Arnaiz-Villena has been sacked from the journal's editorial board.

Dolly Tyan, president of the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, which runs the journal, told subscribers that the society is 'offended and embarrassed'.

The paper, 'The Origin of Palestinians and their Genetic Relatedness with other Mediterranean Populations', involved studying genetic variations in immune system genes among people in the Middle East.

In common with earlier studies, the team found no data to support the idea that Jewish people were genetically distinct from other people in the region. In doing so, the team's research challenges claims that Jews are a special, chosen people and that Judaism can only be inherited.

Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East share a very similar gene pool and must be considered closely related and not genetically separate, the authors state. Rivalry between the two races is therefore based 'in cultural and religious, but not in genetic differences', they conclude.

But the journal, having accepted the paper earlier this year, now claims the article was politically biased and was written using 'inappropriate' remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its editor told the journal Nature last week that she was threatened by mass resignations from members if she did not retract the article.

Arnaiz-Villena says he has not seen a single one of the accusations made against him, despite being promised the opportunity to look at the letters sent to the journal.

He accepts he used terms in the article that laid him open to criticism. There is one reference to Jewish 'colonists' living in the Gaza strip, and another that refers to Palestinian people living in 'concentration' camps.

'Perhaps I should have used the words settlers instead of colonists, but really, what is the difference?' he said.

'And clearly, I should have said refugee, not concentration, camps, but given that I was referring to settlements outside of Israel - in Syria and Lebanon - that scarcely makes me anti-Jewish. References to the history of the region, the ones that are supposed to be politically offensive, were taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and other text books.'

In the wake of the journal's actions, and claims of mass protests about the article, several scientists have now written to the society to support Arnaiz-Villena and to protest about their heavy-handedness.

One of them said: 'If Arnaiz-Villena had found evidence that Jewish people were genetically very special, instead of ordinary, you can be sure no one would have objected to the phrases he used in his article. This is a very sad business.'
Niccolo and Donkey
Bronze Age Pervert

I wait to see the study, but who are the "Jews" they talk about? Yemeni Jews or European Jews or Spanish ones or Ethiopians...a Yemeni Jew is indeed an Arab, but Ashkenazis have about 25% south European admixture last I knew and so how can they be identical to Palestinians (many of whom are bedouin).


Today's Palestinians are the descendants of Palestinian Jews who converted to Christianity and Islam, plus a portion of the ethnic groups who've been in Palestine since Christianity and Islam arrived (Arabs, Franks, Turks). These Palestinian Jews were themselves the descendants of nearly every ethnic group to populate Palestine (Greeks, Romans, Canaanites, etc), and every ethnic group to ever host Jews whose descendants returned to Palestine (Egyptians, Assyrians, etc).
European, African, and Asian Jews are the descendants of these same Palestinian Jews, but who migrated from the Levant and absorbed gentile genes by conversion and inter-ethnic reproduction, thereby becoming Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and so on.
Besides modern Palestinians, there are other ethnic groups with Jewish ancestry. All of Latin America and Iberia has Jews grafted into their family tree from the time the Jewish population of the peninsula was forced to convert or be exiled. Poland, Germany, Russia, etc have a history of Jewish-Gentile crossbreeding. This is all not counting the so-called 10 lost tribes, who some theorize could be represented in populations as far off as Japan and England, with some kind of evidence.
Diaspora populations have this effect on themselves and others, a population that has faced multiple diasporas for centuries tends to splatter its genes on everyone and get everyones genes on it in turn.

The history of Israel is of Jews who, exiled from the homeland retained their religion and returned to find that the Jews who remained hadn't remained Jewish, and so did not recognize them as the same people or as indigenous.. though they are both. If I were a Jewish Israeli nationalist, I would allow all Palestinians the right of return on the condition that they convert to Judaism. I would annex the West Bank fully (no PA), and make non-Jews second class citizens who can only increase their rights if they convert to Judaism. If they are genetically kin, and religiously identical, then what is the problem. Israel could boost its population and territory in this way. I would present it in a positive light, that they were reversing the tragic and 'forced' conversion of Jews to Christianity and Islam, recovering their people.