Sunday March 7, 2004: As I mentioned yesterday, for the past several months I have been immersed in research for the second volume of the The Secret History of The World series. It was during the course of this research that I stumbled over an item that raised the hair on the back of my neck. This discovery had to do with “Mongols,” and as I read the material in question, what came to my mind were two other references that included the word “Mongols” that were stuck in my memory banks from years past. The first is one of Nostradamus’ famous quatrains and the second is a quote from a prediction made by America’s famous seer, Edgar Cayce just prior to World War II.
L’an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois,
Du ciel viendra un grand Roy d’effrayeur:
Resusciter le grand Roy d’Angolmois*
Avant après Mars regner par bon heur. X 72
This has been translated into English as follows:
In the year 1999 and seven months
From the sky will come the Great King of Terror,
Raising again the great king of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars (war) reigns at his pleasure. X.72
Edgar Cayce’s remark about Mongols was as follows:
If there is not the acceptance in America of the closer brotherhood of man, the love of the neighbor as self, civilization must wend its way westward – and again must Mongolism, must a hated people be raised.
The reader may certainly wonder how and why two odd comments by two prophets who lived hundreds of years apart should have struck me as so all-fired interesting considering our perspective on “inspirational” material – that research is always necessary. Well, again, bear with me. I am going to attempt to recount the research as it proceeded. As I do, I think that the reader will come to see the above remarks about “Mongols” in a new light.
First of all, this past summer in all the hullabaloo over the death of Dr. David Kelly, we came across the term “Ethnic Specific Weapons” in an article we published on the Signs Page that went as follows:
Exclusive to American Free Press
By Gordon Thomas
Dr. David Kelly—the biological warfare weapons specialist at the heart of the continuing political crisis for the British government—had links to three other top microbiologists whose deaths have left unanswered questions.
The 59-year-old British scientist was involved with ultra secret work at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research. Israeli sources claim Kelly met institute scientists several times in London in the past two years. [...]
There have been persistent reports that the institute is also engaged in DNA sequencing research. One former member of the Knesset, Dedi Zucker, caused a storm in the Israeli Parliament when he claimed that the institute was “trying to create an ethnic specific weapon” in which Arabs could be targeted by Israeli weapons.
“Ethnic Specific Weapons?” Hmmm… maybe the Israelis have forgotten that the Arabs are genetically identical to the Jews… ? What will kill an Arab will kill a Jew.
We have long been suggesting that the ultimate agenda of the Global Reich is to set Israel up and do the most fiendish double cross of all; and now we may have a clue as to how they plan to do it.
Look out, Israel, you have all been herded into a corral by the Balfour Agreement, your leaders have been calling you home to Israel for years… aided and abetted by England and America – those whose sympathies with the Nazis are well known; and you think they are “serving you” ??? On a platter, maybe…
We were actually so non-plussed by this article that we didn’t quite know what to make of it. But something really bugged me and the Signs Team decided to take this dangling thread and pull on it. The question was, of course, since all the genetic studies with which I was familiar pointed out the fact that Jews and Arabs are “brothers,” what in the world were they talking about here? What kind of “Ethnic Specific Weapon” could target Arabs and NOT Jews?
For example, have a look at this graph of the genetic relationships between Jews and their neighbors:
Jews are represented by triangles: Ashkenazim = Ash, Roman Jews = Rom, North African Jews = Naf; Near Eastern Jews = Nea; Kurdish Jews = Kur, Yemenite Jews = Yem; Ethiopian Jews = EtJ; non-Jewish Middle Easterners = Pal, non-Jewish Syrians = Syr, non-Jewish Lebanes = Leb, Israeli Druze = Dru, non-Jewish Saudi Arabians = Sar; Non-Jewish Europeans: Rus = Russians, Bri = British, Ger = Germans, Aus = Austrians, Ita = Italians, Spa = Spanish, Gre = Greeks, Tun = North Africans and Tunisians; Egy = Egyptians, Eth = Ethiopians, Gam = Gambians, Bia = Giaka, Bag = Bagandans, San = San, Zul = Zulu. Tur = non Jewish Turks, Lem = Lemba from south Africa.
Notice, in the above graph, that the lower right corner of the graph is where Near Eastern Jews are positioned. One might therefore theorize that the Near Eastern Jews are, more or less, the most “Jewish” of the Jews in terms of many generations of “Jews” in their family lines. Looking around this cluster, we notice that there are several “families” that are very close, including Yemenite Jews, Druze, North African Jews, and Palestinians. On the other hand, the Ashkenazi Jews are not only much closer to Turks, Syrians and Roman Jews, they are quite distant from both the Near Eastern Jews and the Palestinians. I also noted with some considerable interest that Saudi Arabians are much closer to Europeans and even Ashkenazi Jews than to Palestinians.
So, the question was: How could an Ethnic Specific Weapon work when we have the idea that just about everybody is related to everybody else to one extent or another, and most particularly, how could anybody have the idea that they could distinguish between Jews and Palestinians genetically?
In recent years, there have been a raft of genetic studies focused on issues of “Jewishness.” This work has been advanced, to a great extent, by Jewish scientists themselves, so it cannot be considered a venue for anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, in spite of the seeming attempts of Jews seeking to prove that they ARE different from everyone else, there are many voices raised against the issue of Jews as a separate genetic “line.” For example,
Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew – and members of every race, creed and color in the world have done so at one time or another. There is no distinguishing racial physical feature common only to Jews.
Being Jewish is not a race because Jews do not share one common ancestry or biological distinction. People of many different races have become Jewish people over the years.
One of the unique aspects of Judaism is its rejection of Judaism as a biological entity, an inherited spiritual DNA, racial or ethnic. The point is that being a Jew is not a matter of genes and chromosomes. To the contrary, Judaism is the first religion to recognize the ‘ger’, the stranger who chooses to identify himself with Judaism. Judaism is not rooted in race or clan or in a genetic matter but a religious tradition of choice.
The answer as to “Who is a Jew” that is most often give is that Jews are a religion and a civilization, but not a race or singular ethnic group. Rabbi Rami Shapiro said: “There is only one response to Who is a Jew? that works: A Jew is one who takes Judaism seriously. One who takes Judaism seriously studies it, argues with it, and lives it.”
This, of course, begs the question as to why so many genetic studies are being done by and about Jews, and how does this relate to Ethnic Specific Weapons? Clearly, Jews themselves do not agree on what defines being a Jew, but what confuses the issue even more is the disinformation.
As I noted, yesterday there was an article that suggested to me a possible platform for this present discussion. In the article The Mark of Doom, we find the following comments:
American scientists have declared that in ten years they will succeed in creating a radically new type of biological weapon. This weapon would be capable of infecting people according to a genetically predetermined marker such as skin color or eye shape. Infection could have a delayed effect or only begin once a certain type of medicine was taken. A recent closed seminar held by the CIA was devoted to the topic. The event took place as part of the Project for the New American Century. [...]
Yet the most terrifying new possibility is the hypothetical biological weapon that could infect people according to genetic markers. Not only would it allow for genocide; it would be created specifically for that purpose. A recent report by the British Medical Association stated that “the rapid progress in genetics could become the basis for ethnic cleansing on an unheard of scale in the near future.” [...]
Three years ago, ideologues like US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and PNAC Director William Crystal were already discussing genetic weapons. They recommended that the Pentagon consider the possibility for using this type of weapon not only to successfully wage war, but also to reconfigure world politics. According to a PNAC report, genetic weapons could completely change the politics of the entire planet: “cutting-edge biological warfare targeting a certain genotype could turn the reign of terrorism into a politically useful tool.”
According to information from PNAC, Israel has also recently begun to work actively on mutagenic weapons. Israel geneticists confirm that Arabs carry a unique gene that no one else in the world has. This gene forms the basis for the Israeli research, believe American experts. [...]
Fortunately, it is not as easy to create a selective biological weapon as some scientists are claiming. Though it may be possible to create bacteria that multiple only when a person takes a specific medication, the creation of an effective genetic weapon that would not harm the developers themselves seems unrealistic in the foreseeable future. [...]
There is one more reason why this kind of biological weapon is unlikely to be as effective as the ideologues would wish. As Nazi doctor Josef Mengele put it, “Scratch a Frenchman and find an African.” Humanity has existed for many millennia. In the context of all our past tribal and intertribal connections, it is not far from the truth to say that we are all brothers. “Over the many years of human existence, ethnics groups have intermingled to such an extent that the genetic structures determining ethnic identity have blurred and become difficult to recognize,” notes Prozorov.
In the related article: Politically Desirable, Genetically Unviable,we find the following:
You know, there are politicians who set goals for scientists. These goals are often never accomplished, but nonetheless, why not set goals and why not get money for research? Creating genetic weapons is a goal of this kind. In reality, it would be quite difficult to create this kind of weapon. A lot of currently published research is dedicated to the structure of the human genome and the difference between various races. It has been proven that the differences are very slight, and scientists have only begun to identify them. [...]
The overwhelming majority of countries, including the US and Russia, signed a convention that prohibits developing, testing, manufacturing, and storing biological weapons. If they begin conducting research and tests, they will be violating this convention and giving other countries an excuse to start this kind of research themselves. [...] Yet to create viruses that could target only a certain race or people is nearly impossible in my opinion, at least at the current stage of biology.
Contrast the above with the following from our Ethnic Specific Weapons Supplement:
[T]his “theoretical possibility” was recognized over 25 years ago, if not before. It was originally brought to the attention of potential customers with the publication of an article in the Military Review of November 1970.
This journal for command-level military personnel was published by the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The feature, entitled “Ethnic Weapons,” authored by Carl A. Larson, outlines the history, desirability, and possibilities of engineered biological pathogens which would affect only those races which historically have no natural defense against certain “enzyme inhibitors.”
Larson is listed as head of the “Department of Human Genetics at the Institute of Genetics, Lund, Sweden” as well as a licensed physician. The Hippocratic oath was apparently not administered in Sweden when Larson received his accreditation. [...]
According to Charles Piller and Keith Yamamoto in their 1988 book Gene Wars, Larson’s article was the first time that the subject of ethnically targeted CBWs was broached publicly, and that in “the military’s private circles it was old news.”
Comment: We learn that the work on such weapons was begun in Nazi Germany. The victims of these weapons were largely Jews. When Larson published his paper in 1970, in “the military’s private circles it was old news,” which means it had been discussed for a long time by the US military, most likely with the Nazis brought into the US after World War II via Operation Paperclip. Tests were carried out as far back as 1951 on Blacks working at the Mechanicsburg, PA Naval Supply Depot. For more information on tests carried out by the US government against its own citizens, refer to ourtimeline.
By Salim Muwakkil, In These Times
June 6, 2003
A two-part story in the Washington Post on April 20 and 21 revealed that biological agents developed by the South African government during its apartheid days have fallen into private hands.
Written by Post reporters Joby Warrick and John Mintz, the piece noted that unique, race-specific strains of biotoxins were available on the world market – for the right price or the right ideology.
[...] The top-secret program that Basson directed was called Project Coast, and it lasted from 1981 to 1993. The South African National Defense Force created it at a time when the white-minority regime was under increasing threat by indigenous black South Africans. Daan Goosen, the former director of Project Coast’s biological research division, told the Post he was ordered by Basson to develop ways “to suppress population growth among blacks” and to “search for a ‘black bomb,’ a biological weapon that would select targets based on skin color.”
[...] The Washington Post even noted, “Goosen says many scientists kept copies of organisms and documents in order to continue work on ‘dual-use’ projects with commercial as well as military applications.”
A May 2002 story on Project Coast in the Wall Street Journal reported that Goosen said he has been “visited by scores of people looking for ‘stuff to kill the blacks.’” Race-specific weapons naturally are in hot demand among racists, so it’s no surprise that South Africa’s race-specific research is highly coveted.
[...] Reported links between Israel’s ethnic weapons and South Africa’s Project Coast are tentative; some would say tenuous. But the possibility of such links is terrifying, and justifies as much scrutiny as was focused on Iraq’s imaginary arsenal.
At this point, the reader may wish to peruse the entire Signs Supplement on Ethnic Specific Weapons so as to understand that the claim that no such weapons are currently available, nor could they even work, is complete disinformation. This work has been going on for a very long time and is, undoubtedly well advanced and may even be being used already!
Our research on this subject, inspired by the Dr. David Kelly affair, was published in August of 2003 and was met with basically dead silence. Nobody even wanted to touch this one. Now, all of a sudden, the issue is popping up here and there, mostly from the disinformation angle.
To continue with my little chronology, the question of what could be used as a “separator” between Jews and Palestinians led me to re-visit all the genetic research I could get my hands on. My puzzlement grew as I pursued this line.
At the present time, it is known that Eastern European Jews have a significant Eastern Mediterranean element which manifests itself in a close relationship with Kurdish, Armenian, Palestinian Arab, Lebanese, Syrian, and Anatolian Turkish peoples. At the same time, there are traces of European (including Western Slavic) and Khazar ancestry among European Jews. Ethiopian Jews mostly descend from Ethiopian Africans who converted to Judaism, but may also be related to a lesser extent to Yemenite Jews. Yemenite Jews descend from Arabs and Israelites. North African Jewish and Kurdish Jewish paternal lineages come from Israelites. The problem with all of these studies is that they fail to compare modern Jewish populations’ DNA to ancient Judean DNA and medieval Khazarian DNA, and they focus on paternal ancestries.
I had a copy of the book The Seven Daughters of Eve on the shelf that I hadn’t read yet, and decided that it might give me a few clues. It was then that I realized that the answer might lie in mtDNA. And so, I began the search for any genetic studies of Jewish mtDNA.Nicholas Wade writes in DNA, New Clues to Jewish Roots:
The emerging genetic picture is based largely on two studies, one published two years ago and the other this month, that together show that the men and women who founded the Jewish communities had surprisingly different genetic histories.
The earlier study, led by Dr. Michael Hammer of University of Arizona, showed from an analysis of the male, or Y chromosome, that Jewish men from seven communities were related to one another and to present-day Palestinian and Syrian populations, but not to the men of their host communities.
The finding suggested that Jewish men who founded the communities traced their lineage back to the ancestral Mideastern population of 4,000 years ago from which Arabs, Jews and other people are descended. It pointed to the genetic unity of widespread Jewish populations and took issue with ideas that most Jewish communities were relatively recent converts like the Khazars, a medieval Turkish tribe that embraced Judaism.
A new study now shows that the women in nine Jewish communities from Georgia, the former Soviet republic, to Morocco have vastly different genetic histories from the men. In each community, the women carry very few genetic signatures on their mitochondrial DNA, a genetic element inherited only through the female line. This indicates that the community had just a small number of founding mothers and that after the founding event there was little, if any, interchange with the host population. The women’s identities, however, are a mystery, because, unlike the case with the men,their genetic signatures are not related to one another or to those of present-day Middle Eastern populations.
It was in this last discovery that the skin on the back of my neck began to crawl. Obviously, if Jewish men are related to one another and to present-day Palestinian and Syrian populations, the means of producing a “death factor” of so-called “Ethnic Specific Weapons” – by either inclusion or exclusion – might lie in the mtDNA. It occurred to me that it was coincidentally odd that in ancient Israel, the Jewish priesthood was handed from father to son, but at some point, Jewish status came to be defined by maternal descent. Nicholas Wade tells us:
The idea that most or all Jewish communities were founded by Jewish men and local women is somewhat at variance with the usual founding traditions. Most Jewish communities hold that they were formed by families who fled persecution or were invited to settle by local kings.
For instance, Iraqi Jews are said to be descended from those exiled to Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C. Members of the Bene Israel community of Bombay say they are the children of Jews who fled the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanus, who repressed the Maccabean revolt, around 150 B.C.
Most of those founding narratives do not have strong historical support. Dr. Lawrence H. Schiffman, professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, said the new genetic data could well explain how certain far-flung Jewish communities were formed. [...]
Dr. Shaye Cohen, professor of Jewish literature and philosophy at Harvard, said the implication of the findings and the idea of Jewish communities’ having been founded by traders, was “by no means implausible.”
“The authors are correct in saying the historical origins of most Jewish communities are unknown,” Dr. Cohen said. “Not only the little ones like in India, but even the mainstream Ashkenazic culture from which most American Jews descend.”
In a recent book, “The Beginnings of Jewishness,” Dr. Cohen argued that far-flung Jewish communities had adopted the rabbinic teaching of the matrilineal descent of Jewishness soon after the Islamic conquests in the seventh, eight and ninth centuries A.D.
One part of the Goldstein team’s analysis, that matrilineal descent of Jewishness was practiced at or soon after the founding of each community, could fit in with this conclusion, Dr. Cohen said, if the communities were founded around this time.
The comments about the mtDNA research caught my attention. “A new study now shows that the women in nine Jewish communities from Georgia, the former Soviet republic, to Morocco have vastly different genetic histories from the men. In each community, the women carry very few genetic signatures on their mitochondrial DNA, a genetic element inherited only through the female line. [...] unlike the case with the men, their genetic signatures are not related to one another or to those of present-day Middle Eastern populations.” I went to the original research and found the following:
We have analyzed the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA from each of nine geographically separated Jewish groups, eight non-Jewish host populations, and an Israeli Arab/Palestinian population, and we have compared the differences found in Jews and non-Jews with those found using Y-chromosome data that were obtained, in most cases, from the same population samples.
The results suggest that most Jewish communities were founded by relatively few women, that the founding process was independent in different geographic areas, and that subsequent genetic input from surrounding populations was limited on the female side.
In sharp contrast to this, the paternally inherited Y chromosome shows diversity similar to that of neighboring populations and shows no evidence of founder effects.
These sex-specific differences demonstrate an important role for culture in shaping patterns of genetic variation and are likely to have significant epidemiological implications for studies involving these populations. We illustrate this by presenting data from a panel of X-chromosome microsatellites, which indicates that, in the case of the Georgian Jews, the female-specific founder event appears to have resulted in elevated levels of linkage disequilibrium.
[Founding Mothers of Jewish Communities: Geographically Separated Jewish Groups Were Independently Founded by Very Few Female Ancestors by Mark G. Thomas,1, Michael E. Weale,1 Abigail L. Jones,1 Martin Richards,3 Alice Smith,2 Nicola Redhead,2 Antonio Torroni,5,6 Rosaria Scozzari,6 Fiona Gratrix,2 Ayele Tarekegn,1 James F. Wilson,2 Cristian Capelli,2 Neil Bradman,1 and David B. Goldstein2
1TheCentre for Genetic Anthropology, Departments of Biology and Anthropology, and 2 Department of Biology, University College London, London; 3Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom; 4Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Technion and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel; 5Dipartimento di Geneticae Microbiologia, Universit�di Pavia, Pavia, Italy; and 6 Dipartimentodi Geneticae Biologia Molecolare, "LaSapienza" di Roma, Rome - Address for correspondence and reprints: Dr. David Goldstein, Department of Biology, University College London, GowerStreet, London WC1E6BT, United Kingdom.]
Naturally, I began to tug on this thread to find out exactly WHO, among Jews, were related to these Eight Founding Mothers. The above cited paper says further:
Comparison of Y-chromosome and mtDNA patterns reveals a striking contrast between the maternal and paternal genetic heritage of Jewish populations.
On the Y chromosome, there is no consistent pattern of lower diversity in Jewish communities when compared with their non-Jewish host populations; in two cases, diversity is significantly lower in the Jewish groups; in one case, it is higher; and, in the rest, differences are not significant.
However, the pattern in the mtDNA is quite different. In each case, the Jewish community has a significantly lower mtDNA diversity than its paired host population. Indeed, every Jewish population has a lower mtDNA diversity than any non-Jewish population. This finding indicates that mistakes in associating particular host populations with Jewish populations would be very unlikely to affect our results. [...]
When ratios of mtDNA to Y-chromosome diversity were calculated, to standardize the mtDNA results in relation to the other genetic system, the ratio for the Jewish data sets … was again found, in all but one case (the Ethiopian Jews), to be less than the ratio for the non-Jewish host. [...]
Even more striking than this, however, is the high frequency of particular mtDNA haplotypes in the Jewish populations. No host population in our sample has an mtDNA modal frequency greater than 12% (mean 7.7%). In contrast, seven of the Jewish populations have a modal frequency greater than 12% (mean 22.6%), and some of the Jewish groups have much higher frequencies.
In particular, Moroccan Jews, the Bene Israel, and Georgian Jews have modal frequencies of 27.0%, 41.3%, and 51.4%, respectively, which are all higher than those observed in any of the other populations. Again, this pattern is not seen on the Y chromosome, where the modal frequencies in Jewish populations (mean 15.2%; range 7.4% to 31.2%) are not significantly different from those seen in host populations (mean 13.6%; range 8.1% to 33.3%).
In most European and Near Eastern populations, the highest frequency mtDNA type is the HVS-1 Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS). This type occurs at 16%, on average, in Europe, and at 6%, on average, in the Near East. This pattern is reflected in our data, in that all of the seven European and Near Eastern non-Jewish populations have the CRS as their modal haplotype.
However, only two of the nine Jewish populations have the CRS as their modal haplotype, while, among the other seven, each has a different modal haplotype.
Thus, among the nine Jewish groups there are eight different mtDNA types that are modal with an unusually high frequency.
Apart from the CRS, none of the other Jewish modal haplotypes are represented in the Israeli Arab/Palestinian data set, in contrast to the similarities between Ashkenazic Jews, Sephardic Jews, Israeli Arabs/Palestinian, and Lebanese populations reported for the Y chromosome. [...]
These results therefore suggest that an extreme founder effect has occurred in the maternal but not paternal genetic histories of most Jewish populations.
Greater geographic structuring of the mtDNA than the Y chromosome is an unusual pattern. To assess whether this is specific to the Jewish populations, we also compared mtDNA and Y-chromosome structuring among the host populations. Among the latter populations we found the more usual pattern of greater Y-chromosome differentiation. This demonstrates that the unusual pattern observed among the Jewish populations is not associated with the geographic areas from which they derive but rather with their unique demographic histories. [...]
It would appear that the founder effects on the maternal side have been so severe that mtDNA frequencies in the Jewish populations are very different from those found in any non-Jewish population. The non-CRS modal haplotypes in the Jewish populations are generally rare in the non-Jewish populations. The CRS, on the other hand, is too ubiquitous to allow it to be pinpointed to anything other than a general Eurasian origin. [...]
For example, the most extreme founder effect is seen in the Georgian Jews, of whom 51% possess the same haplotype. The Georgian Jewish modal type is matched by a single individual in the Georgian sample. However, a search of the mtDNA database shows that it also occurs in Syria (2/69 individuals)and Iraq (1/116). One directly derived type is present in two Georgians, but derived types are also found in the North Caucasus (2/208 individuals), Turkey (1/218), Armenia (1/191), and Sicily (1/90). For the Georgian modal haplotype, there is therefore no clear indication of provenance, although an indigenous origin is certainly possible, given the data. [...]
In two cases, however, comparison with the published data does provide some indication of the possible geographic origins of the modal types. The modal type in the Bene Israel is a one-step mutational neighbor of a haplotype present in the Indian sample, as well as being a one-step neighbor of a type previously identified in India. Similarly, the commonest type in the Ethiopian Jewish sample is also present in the non-Jewish Ethiopian sample and occurs in the worldwide mtDNA database only in Somalia. Other high-frequency haplotypes in the Ethiopian Jewish sample are also found almost entirely in Africa. The lack of an indication of a Middle Eastern origin for these haplotypes, on the basis of the Richards database, makes local recruitment a more reasonable explanation in these two cases. [...]
The greatly reduced mtDNA diversity in the Jewish populations in comparison with the host populations, together with the wide range of different modal haplotypes found in different communities, indicates female-specific founding events in the Jewish populations.
Although we cannot be certain whether this occurred immediately after the establishment of the communities or over a longer period of time, a simple explanation for the exceptional pattern of mtDNA variation across Jewish populations is that each of the different Jewish communities is composed of descendants of a small group of maternal founders. After the establishment of these communities, inward gene flow from the host populations must have been very limited. [...]
The differences among the Jewish populations in mtDNA haplogroup frequencies indicates that the Jewish groups formed independently around (at least) eight small, distinct nuclei of women. The severity of these demographic events was sufficiently great to drive an unusual pattern of geographic variation among the Jewish populations.
Although it has been commonly found that Y-chromosome variation shows greater geographic structure than the mtDNA, this pattern is reversed in the Jewish populations, which show greater differentiation for the mtDNA than for the Y chromosome.
Jewish populations therefore appear to represent an example in which cultural practice in this case, female-defined ethnicity has had a pronounced effect on patterns of genetic variation. [...]
The pattern in Ashkenazic Jews is of particular interest. Despite the common opinion that this population has undergone a strong founder event, it has a modal haplotype with a frequency similar to that of its host population (9.0% vs. 6.9%), providing little evidence of a strong founder event on the female side. The possibility remains, however, that present-day Ashkenazic Jews may represent a mosaic group that is descended on the maternal side from several independent founding events. [...]
These results demonstrate that demographic events restricted to only one of the sexes can be of considerable epidemiological significance.
Needless to say, this is an extremely interesting state of affairs, and my guess is that a lot more is known about this research than is currently available to the public. It is almost impossible to speculate about the origins of the “Founding Mothers” of a significant number of Jews, but I am reminded of an old saying that if your son marries, you lose him to his wife’s family, and if your daughter marries, you gain a son. Perhaps this is naturally due to the special types of emotional bonds that are formed between women. But, of significant interest here is the issue of what it is that “bottle-necked” these groups of people.
After reading The Seven Daughters of Eve, and a host of technical papers on genetics, I finally had a look at Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe. His theory is that the majority of modern Jews are Ashkenazim, descended from the Khazars, a Caucasian people who had converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. For a time, Koestler’s ideas were vigorously argued – even rejected – but in more recent times, his ideas have been partly vindicated. Ashkenazi Jews have a more significant admixture of Italian, Greek, and Turkish genes than of Spanish, German, or even Austrian ones as do the Separdim. This certainly connects them to the Khazars, but does not exclude mixing with the Western “real” Jews of Spain and elsewhere.
There was another issue that popped up during this period: Kevin MacDonald’s work. MacDonald ascribes a genetic homogeneity to Jews postulating that Judaism is an “evolutionary group strategy.” MacDonald has been generally accused of anti-Semitism and, indeed, anyone with eyes can see that Jews are like everyone else: they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. We realize now, of course, that there is a wide variation in the paternal ancestry, but that there is something truly strange about the maternal ancestry of a significant number of Jews is now quite evident.
The question then became: what is mtDNA and what, precisely, does it do?