In this video, we’re looking at a long-standing conspiracy theory that claims that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of the Khazars. If it were true, that would make Ashkenazim offshoots of a multi-ethnic conglomerate of Turkic people who converted en masse in the eight century in the kingdom of Khazaria. Turns out, it’s totally false. Unlike other conspiracy theories, though, it’s not just a fringe few who are pushing this idea. It has the backing of academics, including some in Israel – with dangerous implications. The hypothesis has been disproved, so why does it continue to resonate and how did an attempt to use the theory to fight back against antisemitism in the 1970s end up fueling anti-Israel rhetoric to this day? After watching the video, use the prompts below to learn more and get your students thinking.
This lesson does not contain reflection questions.