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    Operation Antioch: Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic Levantines

    Today I stumbled upon the site for a small grassroots movement called Operation Antioch, which is committed to imbuing consciousness of a Hellenic (aka Rum) identity among the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholics of Greater Syria, and which is just as opposed to Phoenician/Aramaean/Syriac identity politics as it is to Arabism.

    All well and good: how people choose to identify isn't my business, and if anything, I definitely don't mind anything that promotes Mediterranean identity and solidarity.

    Identifying with the cultural world of Hellenism makes some sense (as a Western Jew who loves Greece, I could even try to get a piece of the action). But: these Operation Antioch folks seem to be totally wrong-headed in their theory of ethnic origins: using the smokescreen of Hittites, Hurrians, Sea Peoples, and Seleucids, they basically claim that they're just as Indo-European/Greek — biologically — as they are "Semitic", if not more.

    What's interesting is that these Levantine Antiochian Christians set themselves up in opposition to Maronite nationalism — the far more famous Levantine Christian anti-Arabist movement — and seem to reject the premise that Levantines (especially Christians) are mostly Canaanite/Aramaean by blood, which, politics aside, is almost certainly true. The implication seems to be that even if identifying with Syriac origins makes sense for the peasants of Mount Lebanon, the Hellenic Christians of the Galilee, Damascus, Tripoli, and Aleppo are fundamentally different.

    So, I was wondering: is there anyone out there who has access to both Maronite AND Greek Orthodox/Catholic results from Lebanon/Syria (ideally, from the same region)? We know that there are small, but significant genetic differences between Levantine Christians, Muslims, and Druze. And also, as I recall, between the Y chromosomes of Lebanese Maronites and Greek Orthodox. But what about intra-Christian autosomal differences? My gut tells me Operation Antioch is wildly off, but without fine-scale sampling, who knows?

    PS. I learned about Operation Antioch from a big-name Lebanese Greek Orthodox public intellectual on Twitter, who made the sympathetic point that you can't tell an urban Syrian apart from a Greek. I am tempted to reply: "Facially, that's true, but it's not even close genetically." After all, I've often been told I look Syrian or Lebanese — which is picking up on a genuine affinity — but there's no conflating an Ashkenazi Jew for a Syrian, genetically.
    Last edited by wandering_amorite; 10-27-2016 at 07:11 AM.

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