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Sunday, December 26, 2010

What Do Chinese People Think of Jews?

I stumbled upon this unusual video, taken by American Jews in China and narrated in Yiddish, of man-on-the-street interviews regarding perceptions of Jews and Israel.

The money line is at 7:30 of the video, in which a sympathetic Chinese man wonders whether it is true that Jews control American foreign policy.  He must be reading too many left-wing American blogs.

It's actually pretty sad, if you ask me.


A New York Jew in China - What Do Chinese People Think of Jews? from Forverts on Vimeo.

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5 comments:

  1. I thought the video was really interesting. However, not sure what the point of the Yiddish was...did bring back memories of sitting around the table in my grandparents house and being the only one who didn't understand most of the conversation however.

    As far as China is concerned...don't think its really unusual. People were worried about the same thing as far as Japan was concerned back in the day of the height of the Japanese economy. There was also the issue of insidious Japanese antisemitism that everyone talked about. While I am sure it is there it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem.

    China however, is another issue. I do find it rather ironic that in a society that has no knowledge or any real history or attachment to the Jewish people somehow the old antisemitic canards and the Protocols have found their way there. Could it really be the influence of Arab oil money and the creep of Islamic jihadism into the Moslem Chinese or even the traditional communist perception of the Jewish people? The truth of the matter is that I did not really get a negative feeling from any of the Chinese in the video. It was more that they were interested and had questioned about what they had heard good and bad. Truthfully I think it definitely behooves the World Jewish community and particularly Israel to make some kind of inroads into the daily lives of the average Chinese citizen.China is just beginning its climb and will be a world power for a very long time to come, and with 1 billion and counting that does create alot of work to garner the hearts and minds of the Chinese.Best we get there with the truth about who we are and not let our enemies dictate the narrative.

    An interesting aside that no one seemed to know in the video, that Shanghai was one of the rare places on Earth that Jews running from Hitler could escape to. Not many were able to make it there, but those that did lived relatively unmolested.

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  2. This is a global problem. It occurs even in the Caribbean where many people don't know Jews or have never seen a Jew. Before you get to the problem of Arab oil money, you have the greater problem of the anti-Semite press. Here's what I noticed about the influence of the press in the Caribbean: before cable tv and CNN were available down there, lots of folks were pro-American with some slight issues cuz of AP and Reuters storied copied in their press. With CNN, whoo! Lots of anti-Americanism. The press carries the germ of anti-Semitism with its constant anti-Israel, anti-Jew drumbeat and entire lack of balance vis-a-vis the MidEast situation. People in China also watch CNN.

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  3. Take a look at the movie Sugihara; it tells the story of the Jews's escape to China with assistance from him.

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  4. Apropos of what the Chinese think of Jews--is this, from a now defunct blog:

    What really surprises me though is that despite China vast differences across economic, social, ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic and even political lines, 99.9% of all Mainlanders have one thing in common: Taiwan. While a student at Beijing University, I onced asked my professor why it was that everyone from the taxi driver on the streets of Changsha to the highest government official in Zhongnanhai was uniform in their determination on the Taiwan question, it was simply put to me: "Taiwan is our Jerusalem." China, my professor explained, is simply not complete without the re-unification of Taiwan with the Mainland. He went to say that if Taiwan was to ever to formally declare its political independence Beijing would have no choice but to claim the island by force for the Chinese leadership very legitimacy would be at stake. No Chinese leader, he concluded, could stay in power overseeing the formal end to the dream of a unified country. It just won't happen he demured.

    I think of my old professor every time I speak with someone from the Mainland who articulates his/her feelings on Taiwan. The passion and determination of their conviction is impossible to convey to other Americans who just cannot understand why China would jeopardize trillions of dollars in economic development and its status as a rising world power all in the name of national unification. It is not rational to the American mind. Then again, neither is the battle for Jerusalem.

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  5. The whole "the Jews control everything" is a standard line in all forms of socialism, from Soviet international socialism to Nazi national socialism. Why should we be surprised when it shows up in yet another socialist/communist nation?

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