China Uses Jews And Muslims As Scapegoats – OpEd


An article in the February 12, 2024 issue of Eurasia Review by James M. Dorsey states: “China is betting that Arab and Muslim states will look the other way as it seeks to redefine Islam.”

In lockstep with Chinese efforts to reshape Islam, China’s tightly controlled Internet has been flooded with virulent anti-Semitic comments since the outbreak of the Gaza war in October.

China appears to see anti-Jewish hate speech as a means of fueling anti-US and anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East, and placating public opinion in the Middle East enraged by Western support for Israel.

Anti-Jewish comments include frequent comparisons of Jews to Nazis and conspiracy theories that American Jews control power and wealth in the United States. In late January, Chinese social media influencer Zhou Zheng” posted on his Haokan Video account a video titled ‘Never Believe What the Jews Say.’

Mr. Zhou asserted that “homeless” and “filthy rich Jews” prior to the Holocaust had betrayed Germany by seizing control of the German economy prior to the Holocaust. Mr. Zhou claimed that Jews had collaborated with Japan against China in World War II and in the mid-1800s incited Britain to invade China.”

China’s real estate boom of several years has for more than a year turned into a major real estate  bust. China’s economy has been slowing down and unemployment among recent college graduates is rising. The Chinese Communist party and government are looking for someone else to blame and Jews are often a good scapegoat. 

Rampant in today’s divided political and religious atmosphere we find ‘scapegoating,’ which essentially is a form of slander, blaming and holding responsible a disliked person or group of people for the wrongs from which, it is felt, you or your group suffer negative consequences.  

Scapegoating increasingly ends up in active hate, and leads to doing, or trying to do, violent harm to the scapegoated group, usually indiscriminately, simply because randomly targetable individuals belong to [or are perceived to belong to] the hated group.  

It is very important that parents and grandparents teach children that slandering minorities is a standard form of scapegoating. Scapegoating refers to the human tendency to blame someone else for one’s own economic, social or personal problems, a process that traditionally resulted in men blaming women who are raped for wearing seductive clothing.

Scapegoating serves as an opportunity to publicly vent one’s own frustrations, rage, and hate, while ignoring one’s own failures or misdeeds and maintaining one’s positive self-image. 

It is important for all members of minority groups to realize for themselves and teach others that the victims of hate-filled scapegoaters are completely innocent of all responsibility for the problems that the scapegoater has. Do not ever let children fall for the hate virus that claims the victims somehow brought this hatred upon themselves.

Intolerance and then hate may develop into a threat to life and limb; more and more in the news, overt actions are being taken, either by self-selected loaners or by organized groups, with the intent to remove the scapegoated persons from society, or to kill if nothing else works. 

Widespread doubt about the future in America, Great Britain, Europe and the Muslim World has been leading to “scapegoating” in politics and in worldwide extremist political/religious sects. Anxiety has split Americans in half  — 49 percent to 49 percent — on whether “America’s best days are ahead of us or behind us.” 

This anxiety had  produced three major scapegoat categories: immigrants, Jews, and the religion of Islam —as can been seen in a major rise in Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the United States and Great Britain.

 A poll [2/18/19] found that 35 percent of British people think Islam is a threat to the British way of life in the wake of 2017 terrorist attacks; and that anti-Semitism on the political left is an increasing issue in the United Kingdom.

The anti-fascist group, Hope Not Hate, has produced their annual “The State of Hate” report, based on a survey of 10,383 Brits and conducted in July 2018; it found that anti-Muslim prejudice has hardened in the past eight years and, among far-right groups, supplanted fears of increasing immigration.

The report also pinpointed left-wing anti-Semitism, particularly in the Labour Party, as a critical problem. The authors of “The State of Hate” cited conspiracy theories and tropes about undue levels of Jewish power, as well as dismissing allegations of liberal anti-Semitism as a right-wing or Zionist plot. 

Thirteen percent of the British agreed that Jewish people have an unhealthy control over the world’s banking system. Almost half of people surveyed said this was a false statement, and about 41 percent said they did not know.

People who hate religion in general like Communists, and Islam and Judaism in particular, often attack Jews and Muslims by claiming that circumcision is a cruel, barbaric religious ritual lacking any positive outcome. Others attack it on secular humane grounds as a needless, cruel procedure. And some attack circumcision for hidden political reasons of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. 

For example, a cartoon in one of Norway’s largest newspapers has compared circumcision to pedophilia, amid a debate in that country over whether to ban the religious practice of circumcision. The cartoon depicts a disheveled man talking to Jewish and Muslim protesters holding signs reading “Yes to circumcision” and “Freedom of religion.” 

The man responds, “I understand exactly how it is with you! I also get messages from invisible men in the sky to play around with small kids’ penises!”

The push to ban circumcision was led by the anti-immigrant Progress Party, a junior member of Norway’s governing coalition. The party voted at its annual convention to support a law banning the practice, which it claimed was a violation of human rights and caused physical and mental harm to children.

Jews and Muslims have always known that doing something that God wants Muslims and Jews to do must be good. But in the last few years scientists have discovered that a benefit of circumcision is that it provides heterosexual men with considerable protection against infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted viruses. Christian men in Africa are now being urged by doctors to become circumcised. 

A more recent discovery is that uncircumcised men harbor more bacteria around the head of the penis than do circumcised men, and the mix of microbial species is decidedly different in the two groups. These changes in microbial numbers and diversity may explain why circumcised men are less likely to get infected with HIV.

All this teaches us that everyone should be constantly reminded that religious / political extremism is ultimately self-destructive to both itself and its supporters. In the words of the poet W. B. Yeats: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” 

The time has come for all the best of religious conviction —especially from within the Muslim and Jewish minorities— to denounce and denigrate the activities and beliefs of those who are filled with the worst of religious convictions, before they desecrate and diminish all believers in the one God of Abraham. 

Our religious and political leaders could help improve interfaith relations by constantly repeating the important lesson taught by the German Protestant Christian theologian Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power; and their subsequent purging of their chosen targets, one group after another:             

Niemoller writes:”First they arrested Socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Socialist.

Then they arrested Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they arrested Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Our religious and political leaders could help improve interfaith relations by constantly repeating the important lesson taught by an eleventh century Spanish Muslim theologian: 

“Declare your jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see – Egoism, Arrogance, Conceit, Selfishness, Greed, Lust, Intolerance, Anger, Lying, Cheating, Gossiping and Slandering [i.e., scapegoating]. If you can master and destroy them, then will you be ready to fight the enemy you can see.” — Imam Al-Ghazali

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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