Israel accuses Chinese state TV of ‘blatant antisemitism’

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China’s state broadcaster CCTV news broadcasters read news at a media center during a news conference on the eve of the annual legislature opening session in Beijing on March 4, 2021. Israel’s Embassy in China is protesting what it describes as “blatant anti-Semitism” on a program run by the overseas channel of state broadcaster CCTV discussing the ongoing violence in Gaza and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — Israel’s Embassy in China is protesting what it describes as “blatant antisemitism” on a program run by the overseas channel of state broadcaster CCTV discussing the ongoing violence in Gaza and elsewhere.

In a tweet, the embassy said “we have hoped that the times of the ‘Jew’s controlling the world’ conspiracy theories were over, unfortunately antisemitism has shown its ugly face again.”

“We are appalled to see blatant antisemitism expressed in an official Chinese media outlet,” the tweet said.

On the Tuesday CGTN broadcast, host Zheng Junfeng questioned whether U.S. support for Israel was truly based on shared democratic values, saying “some people believe that U.S. pro-Israeli policy is traceable to the influence of wealthy Jews in the U.S. and the Jewish lobby on U.S. foreign policy makers.”

“Jews dominate finance and and internet sectors,” Zheng says, speaking in English. “So do they have the powerful lobbies some say? Possible.”

Zheng then accused the U.S. — China’s top geopolitical rival — of using Israel as a “beachhead” in the Middle East and a as proxy in its campaign to defeat pan-Arabism.

Spokesperson Erez Katz Volovelsky said Wednesday the embassy had nothing to add to its tweet and had so far received no reply from CGTN, which CCTV operates for foreign audiences, similar to Russia’s RT.

There was no immediate comment from CCTV and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he was “not aware of the situation.”

“China has repeatedly stated its position on the Palestine-Israel situation,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

China has long been a strong backer of the Palestinian cause and in recent days the Foreign Ministry has castigated the U.S. for blocking a statement in the United Nations Security Council condemning the violence.

Yet, since establishing formal diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, Beijing has nurtured close economic, technological and military ties, including the purchase of early model Israeli drones.

Judaism is not one of China’s officially recognized religions and stereotypes about Jews as shrewd businesspeople and market manipulators are common among the Chinese public.

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