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

Close the PLO Office in Washington

April 24 2017

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.

[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .

In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .

[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .

[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy