BEIJING -- Israel’s Embassy in China is protesting what it describes as “blatant anti-Semitism” on a program ran 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 anti-Semitism has shown its ugly face again.”
“We are appalled to see blatant anti-Semitism expressed in an official Chinese media outlet," the tweet said.
Calls to the embassy were answered with a message saying it was closed on Wednesday and it wasn't immediately clear what it objected to in the three-minute segment.
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.
There was no immediate comment from CCTV, which operates CGTN to cater to foreign audiences along the lines of Russia's RT.
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, however, and stereotypes about Jews as shrewd businesspeople and market manipulators are common among the Chinese public.