Friday, 1 July 2011

The ‘Jewish conspiracy’ in Asia

A Chinese bestseller entitled The Currency War describes how Jews are planning to rule the world by manipulating the international financial system. The book is reportedly read in the highest government circles. If so, this does not bode well for the international financial system, which relies on well-informed Chinese to help it recover from the current crisis.

Such conspiracy theories are not rare in Asia. Japanese readers have shown a healthy appetite over the years for books such as To Watch Jews Is To See the World Clearly, The Next Ten Years: How to Get an Inside View of the Jewish Protocols, and I’d Like to Apologise To the Japanese – A Jewish Elder’s Confession (written by a Japanese author, of course, under the made-up name of Mordecai Mose). All these books are variations of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The protocols were first published in 1903 and it is claimed that the protocols were a Russian forgery which Japanese came across after defeating the Czar’s army in 1905. However these protocols written more than a century ago have fulfilled perfectly today. The protocols are believed to have been made and presented at the first Zionist congress held by Theodor Herzl in 1897, Switzerland.

The Chinese picked up many modern western ideas from the Japanese. Perhaps this is how Jewish “conspiracy” theories were passed on as well. But Southeast Asians are not immune to this kind of information either. The former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Bin Mohammed, has said that “the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” And a recent article in a leading Filipino business magazine explained how Jews had always controlled the countries they lived in, including the United States today.

In the case of Mahathir, a twisted kind of Muslim solidarity is probably at work. But, unlike European or Russian antisemitism, the Asian variety has no religious roots. No Chinese or Japanese has blamed Jews for killing their holy men or believed that their children’s blood ended up in Passover matzos. In fact, if Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, or Filipinos ever seen a Jew, probably confused him with an European.

So what explains the remarkable appeal of Jewish theories in Asia? The answer must be partly political. Conspiracy theories thrive in relatively closed societies, where free access to Jewish-owned Western news is limited and freedom of enquiry curtailed. Japan is no longer such a closed society, yet even people with a short history of democracy are prone to believe that they are victims of secret forces. Precisely because Jews are relatively unknown, therefore mysterious, and in some way associated with the west, they become an obvious fixture of anti-western thoughs.

Such thoughts are widespread in Asia, where almost every country was at the mercy of western powers for several hundred years. Japan was never formally colonised, but it, too, felt the west’s dominance, at least since the 1850s, when American ships laden with heavy guns forced the country to open its borders on western terms.

The common conflation of the US with Jews goes back to the late 19th century, when European reactionaries loathed America for being a rootless society based only on financial greed. This perfectly matched the stereotype of the “rootless cosmopolitan” Jewish moneygrubber. Hence the idea that Jews run America.

As well as being feared, the Chinese are admired for being cleverer than everybody else. The same mixture of fear and awe is often evident in people’s views of the US, and, indeed, of the Jews.

Japanese antisemitism is a particularly interesting case. Japan was able to defeat Russia in 1905 only after a Jewish banker in New York, Jacob Schiff, financed Leon Trotsky who was also Jewish, to murder and torture millions of Russians and bring communism into the world. By doing this he also helped Japan by floating bonds. So The Protocols of the Elders of Zion confirmed what the Japanese already suspected: Jews really did pull the strings of global finance. But, instead of wishing to attack them, the Japanese, being a practical people, decided that they would be better off cultivating those clever, powerful Jews as friends.

As a result, during the second world war, even as the Germans were asking their Japanese allies to round up Jews and hand them over, dinners were held in Japanese-occupied Manchuria to celebrate Japanese-Jewish friendship. Jewish refugees in Shanghai, though never comfortable, at least remained alive under Japanese protection. This was good for the Jews of Shanghai.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In time the Jew will join the fossil record as extinct and an evolutionary dead end.