I've really had enough of anti-semites maligning Ashkenazim, European Jewry (I've had enough of them hating all Jews but they reserve a special hate for Ashkenazim). According to them, Ashkenazim are just white European invaders, unrelated to true Jews. Most of them are the descendants of the Khazars, a nomadic people that converted to Judaism, and as such have no place in the Middle-East but belong in Europe.
Time for a little family history:
Paternal Grandparents- from Dorahoi, Romania
Maternal Grandmother- father from Austria and mother from Birabijan, Russia
Maternal Grandfather- Spanish descent, his family has lived in Israel since the Spanish Inquisition, 8 generations ago. Actually, I'm related to one of the officials who signed Israel's Declaration of Independence, the Chief of Police, Bekhor Shalom Shitreet.
According to the hateful rhetoric of anti-semites, my paternal family and my maternal grandmother are simply Europeans and therefore less Jewish, if at all, than my Sephardic grandfather. This is one of the most oft repeated myths about Jews and Israel.
Why is this wrong?
1) Ashkenazim are not related to their European gentile neighbours and are more closely related to their Sephardic and Mizrahi (Spanish and Arab Jews) than Arabs and other semitic peoples are. The Ashkenazi genepool, actually, is not related at all to the Turkish genepool. This contradicts the claim that they are descendants of the Khazars. The most recent genetic research consists of obtaining DNA samples, and doing laboratory analysis and comparison of the DNA markers on the Y-chromosome -- which is passed from father to son, and on the mtDNA (mitrocondrial DNA) -- which is passed intact from mother to son and daughter.
"Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora."
(M.F. Hammer, Proc. Nat'l Academy of Science, May 9, 2000)
2)DNA and descent is not the most important thing. The Torah makes it very clear that very convert becomes a full fledged memeber of the Jewish nation, irregardless of their race or origin. King David's grandmother was a Moabite convert, Ruth, yet she merited tobe the ancestor of royalty. Her nationality is as unimportant as her hair colour.
The Jews today are the exact same Jews as in the Bible, whether they may originate from Poland, Russia, Germany, Morocco, Iraq, Ethiopia or even India. I put on tefilin each day; so did King David. I keep kosher just like our Father Abraham did. We celebrate the same holidays that Moses celebrated. In short, we are the descendants (genetically and spiritually) of the Biblical Hebrews and therefore G-d's promises to them are still valid. We Ashkenazim (I'm 3/4) are not European conquerors but are just as Jewish as Moses or King Solomon.
The most amazing thing, however, is that the Jewish people, despite all of their years of exile, retained its genetic identity, religion and culture. Even more amazing as that all of these different exiled communities have returned to Israel, together. Remember G-d's promise:
And God shall return your captivity and be merciful to you, and will return and gather you from all the nations whither God has scattered you. (Deuteronomy 30:3)
As the natural laws are set before Me, so shall the seed of Israel never cease from being a nation before Me, forever. (Jeremiah 31:36)