China’s Search for the Secrets of Jewish Success

February 2, 2016 | James Ross
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In China, widespread fascination with Jews is based mainly on the assumption that Jewish religion and culture impart economic success. Most information available about Jews, however, consists of falsehoods, absurd generalizations, and crude stereotypes. James Ross, co-editor of a new book on Chinese perceptions of Jews, writes:

Best-selling Chinese books have been filled with outrageous claims about Jews for decades. . . . In recent years, however, much of China’s popular discussion of Jews and Judaism has appeared on blogs. In a July 2012 blog-post titled “Jewish Education,” Wang War writes that the “Jewish nation is the world’s smartest, richest, and most mysterious nation.” He cites Marx, Darwin [!], Freud, Einstein, and Mendelssohn as “Jewish gurus,” notes the high number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners, and praises Jewish success at business. “Seventy percent of world trade is controlled by the Jews,” he writes, and Jews account for 25 percent of the 400 richest Americans. “It is said that most of the world’s wealth is in the pockets of the Jews,” writes Wang.

One of the main sources of Jews’ success, according to Wang, is education. Learning and education are “spiritual beliefs,” he writes, and part of the “national spirit.”. . .

Stereotypes and misinformation about Jews remain widespread in China. But they seem to have inspired admiration for Jews, rather than anti-Semitism. Despite the lack of a significant Jewish presence in China, Jews remain a model for success.

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