China Cracks Down on Its Jews

Sept. 12 2016

In the early Middle Ages, China was home to a small but thriving Jewish community centered in the city of Kaifeng. In later periods, assimilation and isolation from the rest of the Jewish world caused the community to dwindle; by the mid-19th century, organized Jewish life had ceased. Still, a number of today’s residents claim Jewish ancestry and are interested in exploring their identity. Michael Freund, whose organization Shavei Israel opened an educational and cultural center for Chinese Jews in 2010, reports on a recent anti-Jewish crackdown by the Communist government:

The center operated until 2014, when local authorities raided it during Passover, ordering that the mezuzot and all signs containing Hebrew words be taken down immediately. Since then, other worrisome measures have included the closure of the site of the well that had served as the community’s mikveh as well as periodic interrogations of Kaifeng Jews by local police. In some instances, Jewish tour groups from abroad have even been prohibited from visiting the city altogether. . . .

The first Jews are believed to have settled in Kaifeng, which is located some 600 kilometers southwest of Beijing on the southern banks of the Yellow River, in the 7th or 8th century CE. They [hailed] from Persia or Iraq, traveled along the Silk Road, and received the Chinese emperor’s blessing to reside in Kaifeng, which at the time was an imperial capital of the Song dynasty. . . .

All told, there are now an estimated 1,000 people in Kaifeng who are identifiable as descendants of the city’s once-thriving Jewish community. Many have great reverence for their ancestors, . . . and several hundred have shown an interest in learning more about the ways of their forefathers, their history, and legacy.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, China, Jewish World, Kaifeng

Israel Has Survived Eight Years of Barack Obama’s False Friendship

Jan. 20 2017

In his speech justifying America’s decision to allow passage of the UN Security Council resolution declaring it a violation of international law for Jews to live in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Golan Heights, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” John Podhoretz comments:

The decision in December by President Obama to abstain on the UN Security Council vote . . . marked the moment he crossed the finish line in the course he had charted from 2008 onward. The turn against Israel was complete. And, as he had when he began it, in farewell interview after farewell interview he characterized his assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Holy Land as an act of tough love. . . .

Which raises the key question: why [only] abstain [from the resolution]? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Barack Obama and John Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or east Jerusalem, or anything near. . . . The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.

Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations