China’s Jews, Fearing Communist Persecution, Celebrate Hanukkah in Secret

While the Jewish community in the ancient Chinese capital of Kaifeng dates to the 12th century, there are at present only about 100 Jews remaining who still practice the religion, and perhaps ten-times as many who claim Jewish ancestry. In recent years, a government crackdown on non-official religions—which has exacted such a terrible toll on Christians and Muslims—has driven the Jewish community underground. Aaron Reich reports:

“Every time we celebrate, we are scared,” a Kaifeng Jew identified only by the alias of Amir, due to fears of retaliation, told [a reporter], adding that they work to ensure Chinese authorities never catch wind of their activities. While much attention has been focused on China’s crackdowns on other religious groups, including the five faiths recognized by the Communist party—Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Daoism, and Islam—Judaism is not recognized despite its long history within the country.

Already, the Chinese leadership has worked to erase much of [Kaifeng Jewry’s long history. . . . This includes not only the removal of museum exhibits regarding the community’s history, but also razing any physical trace of the community. . . . They have also removed the few signs in Hebrew that could once be found in the city, and the spot where the few practicing Jews once gathered to pray has now been covered with Chinese propaganda, a security camera, and reminders that Judaism is an illegal, unrecognized religion in the country.

Jews are so terrified they even fear meeting together in public. Instead, they do so in secret, making sure on the holidays to find funds for kosher food and wine. Lacking access to Hebrew Bibles, they use Christian Bibles and simply disregard the New Testament.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: China, Communism, Freedom of Religion, Hanukkah, Kaifeng

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University