Sunday, June 13, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

The Results Are In: Helen Thomas Was Wrong--Jews Are A People And Israel Is Our Home

Posted: 13 Jun 2010 02:26 PM PDT

The results of a study by New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University proves--among other things--that Helen Thomas is wrong:

Researchers say the study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, puts to rest age-old questions about whether Jews are a group of unrelated people who share a religious ideology or a distinct ethnicity with common ancestry.

"The debate is over," said Dr. Edward R. Burns, one of the lead authors of the study. "The Jewish people are one people with a common genetic thread that evolved in the second or third century BC."

The study, "Abraham's Children in the Genome Era ,"  [available here] compared the genetic analyses of 237 Jews, including Sephardic (Middle Eastern) and Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews -- as well as an analysis of 418 non-Jews worldwide, and found that the Jews were more closely related to each other than to their fellow countrymen.

Past studies have reached similar conclusions, but they looked at smaller populations and considered only blood groups, mitochondrial DNA (a type of DNA passed down by mothers) or Y chromosomes (passed down by fathers).

For this inquiry, researchers conducted a genome-wide analysis of the major groups of the Jewish Diaspora -- Ashkenazi Jews; Italian, Greek and Turkish Sephardic Jews; and Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian Jews.

The study -- and a second genetic study published Friday in the journal Nature [available here] -- scientifically undermines arguments made by those who challenge Jews' historical relationship to Israel, such as former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who resigned last week after saying Jews in Israel should "go home" to Germany, Poland and the United States.

Turns out, the Jews in Israel are already there.

More on that second study--

"It seems that most Jewish populations, and therefore most Jewish individuals, are closer to each other [at the genetic level], and closer to the Middle Eastern populations, than to their traditional host population in the Diaspora," Israeli geneticist Doron Behar, author of the Nature study, told the BBC.

Behar's study examined the genes of people from 14 Jewish communities and compared them to 69 non-Jewish communities, finding -- as the American Journal of Human Genetics did -- a common ancestral Middle Eastern link among all Jews.

One key difference in Behar's study is that it also included Ethiopian and Indian Jews; he found that those communities were genetically closer to their non-Jewish neighbors than the other Diaspora groups were to theirs. This may be due to a higher degree of genetic, religious and cultural crossover when the Jewish communities in these areas became established.

Both studies also find that Jews have a strong genetic link to modern Palestinians, Druze and Bedouins, following another traditional understanding of both the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of the region. (Israeli Jews and Palestinians sometimes refer to each other as "cousin," a term used to recognize the common Biblical understanding that both groups descended from Abraham.)

In addition to the claim that Jews are merely a religion and nothing more, there is another claim that is also debunked by the findings of the study:

DNA analysis in both studies shows that European Jews are related to Middle Eastern Jews and non-Jewish Middle Eastern people, a finding that also repudiates claims by some that Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of Slavs or Khazars, a north Caucasus group, who converted to Judaism in the ninth century.

"It de-legitimizes the attempts to suggest that there is an alternate origin to Judaism," said Paul Root Wolpe, professor of bioethics at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the study. Despite "all of the attempts to try to rewrite the Jewish people's understanding of their own history, over and over again genetic studies show that there is more truth to the tale."

Wolpe notes that Jewry had a similar reaction in 1997, when a Y chromosome study revealed a strong genetic marker that seemed to support the Biblical account of a priestly family, the Cohanim, descended from Moses' brother Aaron.

It's not as if anti-Semites have any lack of claims to make against both Jews and against Israel--nor will 2 scientific studies prevent the same old claims from being made--but now it is clear that those kinds of claims and the people who make them are not to be taken seriously.

by Daled Amos

Boston Globe on Helen Thomas and her "gift to Israel"

Posted: 13 Jun 2010 12:51 PM PDT

According to someone named Joanna Weiss:

. . . her words, delivered with matter-of-fact coldness, embody an idea that some of Israel's most fervent supporters have long warned about: the nation's critics aren't gunning for its policies so much as its existence.
Can you guess where that's leading?
But Thomas also fits a little too easily into the current contours of the Israel debate, which in itself has served to keep many young Jews from getting engaged. The dialogue has long felt like a "zero-sum game," says Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for the pro-Israel lobby J Street: If you don't support Israel unconditionally, you risk being labeled a hater or a naif.
After an approving citation of Peter Beinart, Spitalnick is quoted again
The existential threat to Israel right now is the lack of a [peace] agreement . . . . Should we not achieve a two-state agreement in the near term, there won't be a Jewish Democratic Israel to fight for.
Spitalnick, of course, has failed to notice that there are already two states: Israel and the Grand Duchy of Gaza/Hamas. Handing territory over to Mahmoud Abbas to create a third one with a very short half-life probably won't placate the world's Helen Thomases (such as the ones who rule Iran and increasingly Turkey). Some sort of self-rule for the parts of the West Bank where the Arab population actually prevails might help things if people could think in those terms. The demands that the Palestinians must have a "viable state" when they can't come up with a unified and responsible national movement are probably making things worse.

If the J Street-ers actually valued the democracy that currently exists they would not be so eager to change the status quo. There are no easy solutions. One thing is certain, however: the J Street-ers and their cheering section at the Boston Globe are the ones who need to look beyond the easy "contours" of the current debate.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

My name is thomas, and i am an addict

Posted: 13 Jun 2010 04:26 AM PDT

Is Thomas Friedman addicted to silliness?

Today, unable to contain his craving for "oil is an addiction" nonsense, he begins his column by quoting from a friend:

Here's the bottom line: If we want to end our oil addiction, we, as citizens, need to pony up: bike to work, plant a garden, do something. So again, the oil spill is my fault. I'm sorry. I haven't done my part. Now I have to convince my wife to give up her S.U.V.

Jeff Jacoby recently refuted this nonsense:

"Oil may be the single most flexible substance ever discovered,'' writes the Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce in "Power Hungry,'' a new book on the myths of "green'' energy. "More than any other substance, oil helped to shrink the world. Indeed, thanks to its high energy density, oil is a nearly perfect fuel for use in all types of vehicles, from boats and planes to cars and motorcycles. Whether measured by weight or by volume, refined oil products provide more energy than practically any other commonly available substance, and they provide it in a form that's easy to handle, relatively cheap, and relatively clean.'' If oil didn't exist, Bryce quips, we'd have to invent it.

Of course there are problems created by oil, as the Deepwater Horizon calamity so heartbreakingly demonstrates. But most things of great value come with downsides. There are 40,000 traffic fatalities in the United States each year, but no rational person suggests doing away with cars, trucks, and highways. Airplanes sometimes crash and boats sometimes sink, but air and sea travel are not derided as "addictions'' we need to break. Deaths due to hospital infections, medication errors, or unnecessary surgery number in the scores of thousands annually, but who would recommend an end to medical care?

Friedman continues to be addicted to his "oil addiction" rhetoric even though the green jobs he trumpets as a cost free way to break us out of said addiction cannot deliver on the extravagent promises he makes for them:

The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute. Besides that, the official document is almost a copy point by point of the one that led to Calzada being denounced [lit. "vetoed"] by the Spanish Embassy in an act in the U.S. Congress.

The presentation recognizes explicitly that "the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies." In fact, the increase in the extra costs of this industry explains more than 120% of the variation in the bill and has prevented the reduction in the costs of conventional electricity production to be reflected on the bills of the citizens.

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