Pro-Israel NYT columnist stirs controversy adopting race ‘science’ claims

New York (QNN)- New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has once again stirred outrage, this time with a piece entitled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius” that cites a paper co-authored by an academic labeled an “extremist” eugenicist and celebrated by white supremacists, claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than other people.

In an article entitled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” Stephens claimed that it was Jewish prowess in thinking better and smarter than all other races that had set them apart from everyone else.

Citing prominent Jews like Albert Einstein, Benjamin Disraeli and Karl Marx, Stephens asked: “How is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of one per cent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?”

“Jews” claimed Stephens “have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better”. He claimed that non-Jews lacked the capacity of Jews to think differently and that was what set them apart. “Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different,” explained Stephens.

To prove his claims, Stephens cited a 2005 paper entitled “Natural history of Ashkenazi intelligence”, which advances a number of controversial claims, and one of its authors, the late Henry Harpending, has a long track record of advancing racist anti-black views in other contexts.

Interestingly, the same paper received a somewhat favorable write-up from the New York Times at the time from Nicholas Wade. Wade was a science correspondent for the paper who eventually left to write a book about race and IQ that geneticist David Reich characterized — again in the New York Times — as advancing the “unfounded and irresponsible claim” that “genetic factors explain traditional stereotypes.”

Stephens’s column, as written, did not dwell on the ideas advanced in “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence,” but he did repeatedly make specific reference to Ashkenazi Jews, those originated in Eastern Europe, rather than Jews of Spanish or Middle Eastern origin.

The article was met with fierce criticism. Many expressed dismay in seeing a Jewish person advocating the same theories about race used by the Nazi’s to vilify and dehumanise German Jews before embarking on a policy of genocide, in an article defending Jewish superiority over non-Jews.

The New York Times responded publishing an editor’s note saying it was a mistake to cite a study whose co-author has a long track record of racist statements.

According to the note, “Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views,” but citing the study left “an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent.”

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