Is Korea Filled with Anti-Semites, or Philo-Semites?

A recent survey conducted by the ADL ranked Korea the third most anti-Semitic country in Asia (after Malaysia and Armenia). The country has a tiny Jewish community, mostly consisting of American expatriates, that until recently was centered around a U.S. military base. Korea’s Jews claim that they have encountered minimal anti-Semitism and instead cite widespread admiration for, and interest in, Jews and Judaism. With this admiration come numerous stereotypes about Jewish success, which may explain the results of the ADL survey. These attitudes have produced some strange results, writes Dave Hazzan:

In fact, an interest in Judaism has made the Talmud a best-seller in Korea. [Korea’s only rabbi, Osher] Litzman runs regular Talmud and Torah classes for Koreans, most of whom have no interest in converting. . . . [T]here are Koreans who have been regulars at Friday-night services for 30 years and know the liturgy better than many American Jews do. A 2011 story from the [London] Jewish Chronicle, “Why South Koreans Are in Love with Judaism,” estimates there are more Talmuds in Korean homes than in Israeli ones. The story quotes a Korean mother who said, “The stereotype of Jews here is that they are ultra-intelligent people. Jews have come out of nowhere to become business chiefs, media bosses, Nobel Prize-winners—we want our children to do the same. If that means studying Talmud, Torah, whatever, so be it.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, East Asian Jewry, Philo-Semitism, South Korea

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority