Sat, Apr 01, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Sad old anti-Semitic stereotypes

By Ross Feingold

Paul Lin’s (林保華) essay “Israel, Jews and US-China relations,” (March 30, page 8) contains a number of accusations about US society as well as stereotypes about the Jewish people often cited by anti-Semites.

As an American Jewish resident of Taiwan, it came as a great disappointment to read such statements in the Taipei Times.

Lin writes that the Jewish community has an influence over “US financial circles and several other industries including the academic economics community, as well as the information and media industry,” and this “gives it strong political clout.”

He further makes the baseless accusation that China is “exerting great effort to gain influence over the Jewish community to co-opt Trump and remove all obstacles to its overarching strategy to take over world leadership.”

To paraphrase a statement issued in December last year by the Anti-Defamation League — a civil rights organization that fights anti-Semitism — in response to a US politician who suggested that US foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by Israel, Lin’s remarks imply that US foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than on the US’ best interests.

Whether intentional or not, Lin’s words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of the US government, a poisonous myth that persists in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but should have no place in open societies like the US or Taiwan.

If, as Lin states, the US Jewish community is increasingly important to Taiwan-US ties, and “some Taiwanese in the US are paying a great deal of attention to this issue and they have formed quite a good understanding of it,” hopefully such understanding is based on the reality that US support for Israel is due to the shared values of democracy and rule of law, and is not due to the stereotypes cited by Lin.

Such shared values, without the need to influence industries, academics or politics, could also form the basis for stronger Taiwan-US ties.

Ross Feingold is chairman of the Taipei Jewish Center. The views expressed here are his own.

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