井底之蛙

2/7/2007

Oy, vey.

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 1:12 am

Not this again!

SHANGHAI — Showcased in bookstores between biographies of Andrew Carnegie and the newest treatise by China’s president are stacks of works built on a stereotype.

One promises “The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish.”

Another title teases readers with “The Legend of Jewish Wealth.” A third provides a look at “Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives.”

What do I mean, “not again?” This kind of stuff has been common currency in Japan for years, where the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are still sold in bookstores…. as a model for Japanese admiration and emulation, usually.

10 Responses to “Oy, vey.”

  1. J Chan says:

    Although the business books make a role model of the Jews, the authorships are dubious and they are believed to be fakes.

    The Protocol was a complete anti-Semitic fabrication written to incite the destruction of Jews.

    Although the two sets of books view Jews in different light, a Jew would be alarmed and upset by both, as whether good or back, their content is untrue when applied to the whole of the Jewish population.

    In this site about Chinese history, should a Jew or anyone else posting in it also not think about whether what they wrote about the Chinese were true or not when applied to the whole of the Chinese population, before writing?

    The Jews have suffered great persecution and genocide and have made a point about it. People of Chinese ancestry in SE Asia have also suffered genocides (plural), some even more recent than the Jewish suffering, for the same reason as the ones given for the Jews, namely they are all stereotyped to be rich and their wealth was obtained by sucking the blood of the indigenous peoples. Yet it would seem to me that the Chinese history taught by various people on this site are based on nothing more than stereotypes and inaccurate analyses of history and historical writings.

  2. K. M. Lawson says:

    J Chan, if you have specific criticism to make about the arguments and claims in postings at this site, you are welcome to make them. General insults are not appreciated, and you have been repeatedly warned about this.

    You have a tendency to a knee-jerk reaction, responding in somewhat nationalistic ways to anything you perceive as critical of China or its history. In this particular case, I’m especially confused by your response. In this short posting Jonathan did not make any direct claim about “China” or “Chinese history” or the Chinese people. He is expressing his exasperation at the fact that, in a bookstore in Shanghai, as in bookstores in places like Japan, and no doubt many other places, books of this stereotypical nature can be found. The irony in this case, which is not explicitly mentioned by Jonathan, but which I think is clear to most readers (though you seem to have missed it) is that such a stereotyped portrayal of a large differentiated group of people should find expression in books in a place and among an audience of people who, as you rightly point out, have themselves been subjected to discrimination, stereotype, and persecution.

  3. J. Chan: Everything substantive which you say is contained in the article to which I linked.

    The characterization of Chinese as “the Jews of Asia” is an old one, and the correlation between the treatment of Jews and Asians in places like the US in the early-mid-20c is well known.

    My primary interest in noting this — aside from being a Jew in Asian studies — is that the phenomenon is an exact copy of what has happened in Japan over the last hundred years.

    There’s much more which could be said, none of which is aided by your rehash of old and obvious material.

  4. Ben Landy says:

    I wrote a post about this story on my blog, ChinaRedux.
    The Protocols is a clear cut case. But these “success” books appearing in China make for a more complicated call. The unfortunate fact is that some Jews might not find this offensive, or anti-semitic.

  5. The unfortunate fact is…

    It’s not a fact: it’s speculation, and “some” is a weasel word that lets you get away with it, but I won’t.

    The vast majority of Jews (which is to say, every one I know of) recognize these stereotypes for what they are — based on centuries of anti-Semitism, simplistic, racist even when cast positively — and are troubled by them even though they don’t rise to the threat level presented by eliminationist rhetoric elsewhere.

  6. J Chan says:

    Lawson

    It would appear to me that you are the one who reacts with a knee-jerk reaction. You claimed I react in a nationalistic way. May I ask which nation you are talking about? I am not interested in acting in any nationalistic way. My interest is that information is correctly and fairly presented and interpreted; in this respect I think the writings on this blog site are very poor indeed. Don’t get me wrong, the topics and writings may be very interesting in themselves, but many conclusions drawn by the writers could be easily shown to be unreliable. A way for the writers to improve might be for them to leave the subject for a few years and enter an area which require vigorous analysis such as mathematics, statistics, the hard sciences, computing, law and the like, then return. It would be a good idea to gain some of these skills in industry where vigorous auditable standards are in place, so that one got to use to being challenged on every decision taken on every occasion.

    As for ‘nationalistic’, please don’t give me labels. Giving people labels is a sign of the bully. First give someone a label, then isolate them, then dehumanise them and then destroy them, this was what the Nazis did.

    As for someone’s comment that the characterization of the Chinese as ‘The Jews of Asia’ is well known, could you tell me whether anyone had actually asked these people whether they agree with this label, or was the label given to them by Europeans without them realising or giving agreement? If one were to label American Jews in the early part of the 20C as the ‘White Negroes of America’ or to relabel the Jews as ‘The Chinese of America and Europe’, would that be acceptable?

    You seem to have completely missed the point why these motivation books had their title. Why not have Americans or Japanese in the title? You seem not to realise that the ‘god’ of the CCP is/was a Jew. Every policy of the CCP has to be harmonised with the philosophy of this Jewish person. The CCP and the people of The PRC look to a Jew for earthily guidance every single day of their lives, so it is natural in business to look to the Jews for guidance. Thus someone capitalised on this.

    The real irony is, if indeed there is an irony, is that a billion or so Europeans or their descendants look to a Jew as their God and spiritual saviour; a billion or so Chinese look to a Jew for inspiration and guidance to save them on this earth, and nobody has made the connection.

  7. You seem not to realise that the ‘god’ of the CCP is/was a Jew. Every policy of the CCP has to be harmonised with the philosophy of this Jewish person. … The CCP and the people of The PRC look to a Jew for earthily guidance every single day of their lives, so it is natural in business to look to the Jews for guidance.

    That’s one of the weirder logical leaps I’ve seen this week, a classic example of a very normal error: logical therefore historical, similar therefore related.

    Marx did come from a Jewish family, but there’s nothing in Marxism which draws on Judaism as a religious tradition or culture. More to the point, the CCP never made an issue of Marx’s Jewishness. And, unless you’re going to argue that Chinese communism is reverting to a “purer” form, stripping away the layers of Mao, Stalin and Lenin, then any argument about Marx as “god” of the CCP is pretty weak.

    There’s no real “connection” to be made about the Jewishness of Marx and Jesus, unless you think there’s something essential, timeless, untraceable and dangerous about Jewish influences.

  8. Mutantfrog says:

    It is an odd leap, but it’s also the kind of leap I could imagine an author of one of these books making.
    Something along the lines of “For decades China looked to the teachings of Marx, a Jew, to guide our policies. Now that we have introduced elements of capitalism to our system, how can we learn from other wise Jews?” Marx’s Jewishness doesn’t have to have necessarily been made a point of in the past for some pulp writer to make a post ipso facto connection.

    Has anyone actually looked at these books to see whether or not they mention Marx?

  9. the kind of leap I could imagine an author of one of these books making.

    You’re right, MutantFrog, but that’s not really the point.

    J. Chan is making huge assumptions about causality, with no regard to evidence or parsimony: it’s much, much more likely that these works — represent a typical and misguided attempt to simplify the workings of the world — were translated or adapted from Japanese works, and that it’s actually Japanese business success which they are trying to draw on (on the grounds that, since the Japanese are successful, and they read these kinds of books, the books must be an element in their success).

    Even looking at the content of the books — if they indeed made that connection — wouldn’t tell us much about the mindset of those people buying them or writing them without a great deal more context.

  10. J Chan says:

    ‘…a classic example of a very normal error: logical therefore historical…’

    ‘Logical therefore historical’: This is a very strange catch phrase. The ‘historical’ part presumably refers to human history and not, for example, geological history. It probably refers to human history as results of human decisions, which may or may not be logical. After all if we (humans) all made logical decisions, we could all write human history (accurately) before it even happened; a bit like Newtonian theory. If any of us thought like this, we would all be a Mr Spock.

    I think whoever dreamt of this catch phrase made an error in assuming ‘history’ and ‘the ‘study of history’ are one and the same thing. Human history did not have to happen in what we think of as a logical way, it could happen in this way, but it did not have to. Certain things in history did have to happen in a logical way, for example time order. Although human history did not have to arise in a logical way, the ‘study of history’ has to be logical, methodical and systematical for it to be of any value. If it were not, then it would be similar to having a computer with a massive RAM but no software to run it. You could key in as much data as you like, but as soon as you switch the machine off, the data is gone. If history were not studied logically, then you would not be able to separate true history from false history or from fraudulent history. If a student on a 4-year course cannot learn to study the subject logically, then the course would have no value whatsoever to what the student wished to do after finishing the course.

    The catch phrase also raises the question of whether the author actually know what logic is and whether he had seriously studied the subject. Logic is discoverable. I am sure there are still many logical systems to be discovered.

    Dresner stated that huge assumptions were made without evidence, then he went on to say that these books were probably translated from Japanese, without stating any evidence. Is not food for the gander, also food for the goose?

    As for the order of Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Marx, most people would already know that Marx is acknowledged to be the most senior by the CCP. Stalin does not feature at all nowadays, except as a revisionist. Even Deng said that when he died, he was going to see Marx (although Marx would not know he was a communist); he did not mention about seeing Stalin, Lenin or Mao.

    I don’t know what is meant by Dresner about Jewishness being essential, timeless, untraceable and dangerous. However, I do think that Jewishness is essential and timeless. It contains a lot of good values and these values are essential and timeless as they represent human values. I do not think its influences are dangerous. Jews were seen as dangerous by various Europeans because of the close geographical proximity of their habitats represented competition, and they have always formed a significant population in various European states in history (the population of the later Roman Empire consisted of approximately 10% Jews). The Jews, as far as I know, were never considered dangerous in Chinese history, because they were essentially absent.

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