Buddhism Has Its Own Anti-Semitism Problem

Feb. 26 2021

While it may surprise Westerners with a romanticized view of Buddhism, hostility toward Jews is not uncommon among its practitioners, and, moreover, anti-Semitism had a particular hold on some of those most influential in bringing the religion to the West. Christopher Schilling writes:

[The scholar] Arno Tausch found in his analysis of the [2017] World Values Survey that participants with a Buddhist background “are much more anti-Semitic than the adherents of mainstream Western Christianity, [Eastern] Orthodoxy, or people without any denomination.” In fact, the World Values Survey found that 33 percent of its Buddhist respondents [said they wouldn’t want to have a] Jewish neighbor, compared to 19.9 percent of Protestants and 17.7 percent of Roman Catholics (the highest-ranking religious group were Shiite Muslims at 83 percent). This may largely be due to a xenophobic confusion of Jews as Muslims.

Anti-Semitism became part of Buddhist Modernism in Japan. The Zen master Hakuun Yasutani (1885-1973), the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan organization of Japanese Zen, who later became famous in the West through Philip Kapleau’s book The Three Pillars of Zen, was a virulent anti-Semite and did not hesitate to publish his anti-Semitic views. While the majority of Zen masters in Japan actively supported Japanese militarism during World War II, Hakuun Yasutani actively supported the killings of “as many [enemies] as possible.” . . . After World War II, Yasutani traveled to the United States and became a principal teacher of influential people in the American Buddhist community.

Another controversial figure who was highly influential in introducing Zen Buddhism to the United States was the Japanese author D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966), who went on a lecture tour of American universities and taught at Columbia University in the 1950s. The killing of enemy soldiers he called an act of “religion during an emergency.” Regarding the Jewish fate under the Nazis, Suzuki [suggested that perhaps] “for a time, some sort of extreme action is necessary in order to preserve the [German] nation.” Brian Victoria, author of Zen at War, has demonstrated in his fascinating work Suzuki’s multiple contacts with leading Nazis in wartime Japan, particularly the Nazi propagandist (and later Zen master) Karlfried Dürkheim.

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Read more at Jewish Political Studies Review

More about: anti-Semitsm, Buddhism, Nazism

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy