Jews, a race?

Sent to the Shields Gazette, 29/03/05

Dear Sir,

Further to Mr B's letter of March 29th (To wander is a way of life), I would like to inform this confused gentleman that there is no such thing as a "Jewish race". Judaism is a religion, like Christianity or Islam.

Looked at from a scientific and biologocial perspective, Jews do not conform to any uniform recognisable physical type. If anything, their migratory history has had the effect of making them resemble the groups among which they have settled. Nevertheless, over centuries, they have managed to preserve something of a seperate identity for themselves. This means that they might best be described as a socio-religious group which, I would add, has in its struggle to survivve often become as racist as its own detractors.

Mr B is further keen to remind us that "these wandering Jews illgally walked into Palestine and set up a state." I suppose Mr B sees nothing wrong with the post-1918 carve-up of the Middle East, the subsequent British occupation of Palestine and Iraq, for instance, and the British occupation of countless countries for centuries?

Neither, might I add, did the Jews illegally "walk into Palestine". They in fact entered the region known as Palestine as nomadic cattle-breeders about 1400 BC.

Mr B's says that "for thousands of years we've read stories of wanderers of all nationalities across the whole world." For the record, nationhood is largely a 19th century concept. Thousands of years ago there were no 'nationalities' and no national boundaries people could identify with.

John B

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