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Antisemitism in South Korea

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History[edit]

In 1987, a bar called Gestapo near a U.S. Army base in downtown Seoul was forced to change its name after complaints were made by the German Embassy and pressure by the Seoul government.[1]

In 2000, a Seoul restaurant and bar called the Fifth Reich (formerly, the Third Reich), featured a small photo of Hitler at the entrance and a larger one across from the bar. Waiters and waitresses wear swastika armbands and badges serve mixed drinks to young people who also buy Nazi paraphernalia. The Fifth Reich is one of at least three bars in Seoul that have decked themselves out in Nazi regalia during the year 2000. Young people were shown conversing at booths surrounded by statues of golden eagles with Romanesque columns and large glass display cases of SS insignia. Nazi pins and Iron Crosses were featured on sale beside cash checkouts. The bar translated in Korean as "Jae3JaeGuk" (pronounced J-sahm-J-cook), or The Third Reich, located in Shinchon, a busy commercial district in downtown Seoul. Though most South Koreans understood the atrocities in China, Taiwan, and the Korean peninsula committed by Japanese troops during the Second World War, much of the South Korean populace are not familiar about the war in Europe, particularly where The Holocaust occurred.[2] The bar's owner Yo Sung-kwan, then a 25-year-old design student didn't understand why the bar was causing so much controversy and changed his customer policy where foreign patrons were not taken anymore. Local government officials said there is no legal ground for them to crack down on the controversial naming of the bar as the use of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, but not illegal in South Korea. Despite the naming of the bar, the bar attracted little media attention until the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that it wanted the bar closed, calling it a "virtual shrine to Adolf Hitler and Nazism." The Israeli Embassy in Seoul also sent a protest letter to the South Korean government as did Officials at the German Embassy in Seoul.[3] Fascination with the icons and imagery of the Third Reich and the rise of Hitler themed techno bars is a small has become troubling trend in South Korea that has been cited by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.[4][5][6] Though the trend of Third Reich themed bars has since dissipated, South Korean teens still often cosplay as Gestapo agents.[7]

In February 2007, a best-selling Korean comic book written by Rhie Won-bok from a series called “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries" was defined as anti-Semitic in a U.S. State Department report. A contemporary global anti-semitism was submitted to the U.S. Congress on where the State Department stated that the book “recycles various Jewish conspiracy theories, such as Jewish control of the media, Jews profiting from war, and Jews causing the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.” Two examples of anti-Semitism were found in the book where a comic strip that showed a newspaper, a magazine, a television, and a radio, each with a Star of David, that was, “In a word, American public debate belongs to the Jews, and it’s no exaggeration to say that [U.S. media] are the voices of the Jews.” A second strip identified a man climbing a hill and then facing a brick wall inscribed with a Star of David and a stop sign. The caption reads, “The final obstacle [to success] is always a fortress called Jews.”[8]

In May 2014, a survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that South Korea was the third most antisemitic country in Asia, behind only Malaysia and Armenia with 53 percent of South Koreans espousing negative stereotypes about Jews. In the survey, 59 percent of South Koreans believe that “Jews have too much power in the business world” and 57 percent are convinced that “Jews have too much power in international financial markets.”[9][10][11]

In November 2014, the K-pop girl group Pritz broiled in controversy with all-black outfits with arm bands that look similar to Nazi Swastikas. The group donned black dresses and red bands around their left arms with the bands had a while circle in the middle and an x-shaped black cross inside it. Pandagram, the entertainment agency that represented Pritz rejected the comparison, where they stated that when they were designing the costumes the 'thought never occurred' to them that the armbands and black outfits could be reminiscent of Nazi uniforms.[12][13]

On January 12, 2015, the K-pop boy band BTS garnered controversy regarding photo shoots taken at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in July 2014 when the group held fan meetings in Sweden and Germany. The photos showed the members posing along large concrete slabs amidst the Berlin Memorial that honored the Jews that perished during the Holocaust. Shortly after the pictures were released on Twitter, online netizens criticized BTS as well as their company BigHit Entertainment being disrespectful and unthinking by holding a photo shoot at a Holocaust memorial.[14][15]

Samsung business dispute with Paul Singer[edit]

On July 9, 2015, the South Korean chemical company Cheil announced plans to acquire Samsung C&T for $8 billion, in a transaction viewed as consolidating Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong's control over the Samsung Group. In a long-standing business rivalry and dispute between American hedge fund manager Paul Singer and members of the Lee family over the merger between Samsung and Cheil Industries. As Singer expressed concerns over the terms of the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, he decided to file a lawsuit over the financial terms of a merger resulted into a cultural war which Korean courts later sided with Samsung.[16][17] Due to Singer's Jewish ancestry and past business dealings resulted Samsung and much of South Korean media published a slew of antisemitic cartoons featuring numerous caricatures of Singer as an anthropomorphic vulture on its corporate website viciously exploiting children and poor people.[18][19][20] A provocative cartoon was also displayed on Samsung’s website where it featured Singer as a vulture Man hovering nearby watching a soldier in Congo menacing a child. The caption within the cartoon sketch criticized Elliott's business dealings in Congo, where Elliott Management purchased bonds and distressed sovereign debt.[21] Another cartoon depicted a group of people appearing to be dying in the desert from dehydration where the caption wrote: "Because of it, Congo suffered even more hardship" where it was to be believed to refer to Elliott Management's vulture funds business dealings in Congo with a third cartoon featured Singer as an axe-wielding extortionist profiteering from other people's financial woes and misery.[22][10][23]

A final cartoon sketch also featured a poor-looking man, cap in hand, depicting Singer as a vulture, who has an axe hidden behind his back with a caption stating "Elliott Management's representative method of earning money is, first of all, to buy the national debt of a struggling country cheaply, then insist on taking control as an investor and start a legal suit".[24] The cartoons were widespread throughout South Korean media and the anti-semitic cartoons were supported by many South Korean netizens.[25] In a story headlined “Samsung caught in the Jewish financial power’s radar,’’ Sisa Press, a South Korean website wrote, "The fact that Elliott is a Jewish speculative capitalist with a track record of preying upon countries with weak financial systems is ringing alarm bells. Experts stress that firms of the likes of Elliott, backed by a robust Jewish financial network, will stop at nothing to make a profit."[26]

A number of South Korean media publications also characterized Singer as a “ruthless, greedy Jew,” with one even comparing him to Shylock, the fictional Jewish moneylender from William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice written in 1596, in the form of a greedy loan shark. Mediapen.com, a South Korean website wrote of Elliott’s past deeds naturally overlap with Shylock and referred Elliott’s nickname in the United States as a "vulture" a greedy bird that feeds off dead bodies as Elliott withstands any ethical criticism if it can win profit."[27] MoneyToday, a mainstream South Korean media publication website have also perpetuated negative stereotypes and anti-Semitic canards regarding Jews and money where it wrote: “According to the finance industry, the fact that Elliott (Associates) and ISS are both Jewish institutions cannot be ignored. Elliott is led by a Jew, Paul E. Singer, and (International Shareholder Services) is an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), whose key shareholders are Jewish. According to a source in the finance industry, Jews have a robust network demonstrating influence in a number of domains.”[28] YTN Group aired similar comments by local journalist Park Seong-ho stating "It is a fact that Jews use financial networks and have influence wherever they are born".[29] Mediapen columnist Kim Ji-ho also wrote about the outsize influence of Jews in global finance as he states “The rationale for the assumption that ISS will be supportive of Elliott’s claims is that ISS, like Elliott, is founded upon Jewish money." Kim also went on to describe Singer a “greedy, ruthless head of a notorious hedge fund." Kim also continued to perpetuate classic antisemitic canards regrading Jews and money specifically stating "Jews are known to wield enormous power on Wall Street and in global financial circles” and “It is a well-known fact that the US government is swayed by Jewish capital.”[30][31][32] Kim went to outline the outsize of influence of Jews in global finance as well as Jewish financial dealings in third world countries across Asia and Latin America stating "It seemed like the days of Jewish financial power were over when major Jewish financial firms went bankrupt; however, they are actually engaged in better opportunities by targeting third world countries in South America and Asia. The Jewish network is robust beyond imagination."[33]

Chief editorial writer of the Korea Times Oh Young-jin also wrote of Singer where he smeared Singer's failed lawsuit that attempted thwart the Samsung inter-affiliate merger as well as referring to Singer's hedge fund, which has since became a household name in South Korea associating the funds status as a greedy anthropomorphic vulture fund. Oh mockingly addressed Singer as "Mr. Elliott" alluding to Singer's hedge fund and compared Singer's resemblance to Gordon Gekko, the fictional Jewish corporate raider from Oliver Stone’s 1987 movie, Wall Street. Oh mocked Singer's characterized antisemitic targets by South Korean media publications and explained why numerous outlets took sides with Samsung instead of condemning the antisemitic remarks. Furthermore, Oh gave a small history lesson regarding South Korea's wariness of outsiders and foreigners where he talked about South Korea being ruled for more than 30 years under Japanese colonial rule. Oh continued on by describing global corporate raiders as financial colonialists who plunder large sums of profits within a short period of time and use their freedom of capital movements rather than their early modern predecessors armed with guns and machetes. Oh ended his article stating his distaste of Singer where he referred to Singer's failed lawsuit and intervention to prevent the merger as a new form of financial colonialism on South Korea's where stating "Mr. Singer, you are in our territory, where it is a fight between you and the rest of us."[34]

Park Jae-seon, South Korea's top expert on Jews and former ambassador to Morocco and member of the preparation committee for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics made allegations about the outsize influence of Jews in global finance. The South Korean ambassador to Morocco continued to make remarks where he expressed his concern about the influence of Jews in global finance in an outburst stating "The scary thing about Jews is they are grabbing the currency markets and financial investment companies."[35] Further remarks by Park referred the Jews as "their network is tight knit beyond one’s imagination.”[36] American attorney, David Kim supported the allegations made by Park further stating “Most of the foreign hedge funds that are attacking Korea are Jewish investment firms that do neither have a specific nationality nor a physical office." Kim also has written extensively about Jewish financial influence in America and abroad writing "Investment firms are hedge funds which happen to be dominated mostly by Jews. The reason Jews are scary is that they are in control of the currency market and investment finance firms. Their robust network is beyond imagination. The Jewish financial network mainly targets countries with weak financial systems."[37]

Samsung remained silent and unapologetic until the cartoons were denounced by Singer, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Simon Wiesenthal center as antisemitic and perpetuating negative stereotypes about Jews.[38] Elliott Associates, the American hedge fund controlled by Singer that owned 7.1% of Samsung C&T's stock sparked an antisemitic backlash in South Korean media citing disproportionate Jewish influence and blamed Jews for attempting to block the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T as well as bringing up economic antisemitic canards. One South Korean columnist Kim Ji-ho made shocking antisemitic literary illustrations writing that "Jewish money has long been known to be ruthless and merciless." Pervasive and negative stereotyping of Jews elicited the Anti-Defamation League's National director, Abraham Foxman and the The Simon Wiesenthal Center to condemn the remarks.[39][40][41]

See also[edit]

  • History of the Jews in South Korea
  • Racism in South Korea


Others articles of the Topic South Korea : Sung-Hee Kim-Wüst, Yoon San-ha, Occupation of Seoul, 2013 Korean crisis, Treasure 13, Koreatown, Palisades Park, National Tax Service of South Korea

Others articles of the Topic Judaism : Abraham, Isaac, List of New York City parks relating to Jewish culture, Noah, Boyd Melson, Judeo-nazarenism

Others articles of the Topic Discrimination : Persecution of Christians in the modern era, Antisemitism in the International Brigades, Anasuya Sengupta, Anti-Semitism in International Brigades

References[edit]

  1. Kyong Hwa Seok (7 March 2000). "Nazi Bar in Seoul Provokes Anger". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. Kyong Hwa Seok (7 March 2000). "Nazi Bar in Seoul Provokes Anger". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  3. Kyong Hwa Seok (7 March 2000). "Nazi Bar in Seoul Provokes Anger". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. Harold Brackman (July 13, 2015). "The Rothschilds Move Over: A New Favorite Villain of Global Anti-Semitism Has Emerged". Jewish Journal. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  5. Donald Macintyre (June 5, 2000). "They Dressed Well". Time Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  6. "Inside the Strangest Swiss Alps-Themed Bar in South Korea". Munchies Vice. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  7. Hay, Mark (12 February 2015). "Nazi Chic: The Asian Fashion Craze That Just Won't Die". Vice. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  8. "Welcome to South Korea— enjoy our gratuitously anti-Semitic comic books!". Jewish Journal. March 25, 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  9. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/192372#.VkI93PlMepQ
  10. 10.0 10.1 Zachary Keck (May 15, 2014). "Why is South Korea So Anti-Semitic?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  11. "Anti-Semitic stereotypes surface in South Korean media". Ynet News. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  12. Charlton, Corey (20 November 2014). "Korean girl band spark outrage with 'Nazi' all-black outfits with arm bands that look similar to Swastikas". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  13. "K-pop Group Wears Nazi-Like Uniforms, Controversy Ensues [Update]". Kotaku. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  14. "BTS is criticized for photoshoots in Berlin Holocaust Memorial". KpopAmino. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  15. Herman, Tamar (12 January 2015). "BigHit Entertainment Criticized For BTS Photoshoot At Berlin Holocaust Memorial". KpopStarz. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  16. Rose Kim (July 6, 2015). "Korean Court Sides With Samsung Again in Fight With Elliott". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  17. Haviv Rettig Gur (July 9, 2015). "Fight over one of the world's largest tech companies turns anti-Semitic". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  18. Banjo, Shelley. "Samsung's fight against a hedge fund turns ugly with antisemitic remarks". QZ. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  19. Power, John (17 July 2015). "Pictured: The 'offensive' Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  20. Smith, Geoffrey (17 July 2015). "Vitriol pays off as Samsung wins key merger vote against Singer". Fortune. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  21. "Spat Between Samsung and NYC Hedge Fund Takes Nasty Detour Into Jew-Baiting". The New York Observer. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  22. Power, John. "Offensive Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  23. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4679190,00.html
  24. Power, John (17 July 2015). "Pictured: The 'offensive' Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". Mail Online. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  25. Smith, Geoffery. "Vitriol pays off as Samsung wins key merger vote against Singer". Fortune. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  26. Marks, Jon (July 13, 2015). "A Clearer Picture of Samsung Anti-Semitism Charges Comes into Focus". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  27. Gray, Michael (12 July 2015). "South Korean media slurs antisemitism toward Paul Singer". New York Post. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  28. Haviv Rettig Gur (9 July 2015). "Fight over one of the world's largest tech companies turns anti-Semitic". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  29. Power, John (17 July 2015). "Pictured: The 'offensive' Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". Mail Online. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  30. JTA (16 July 2015). "Samsung removes cartoons mocking Jewish hedge-fund founder". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  31. Haviv Rettig Gur (July 9, 2015). "Fight over one of the world's largest tech companies turns anti-Semitic". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  32. Michael Gray (12 July 2015). "South Korean media slurs antisemitism toward Paul Singer". NY Post. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  33. Marks, Jon (July 13, 2015). "A Clearer Picture of Samsung Anti-Semitism Charges Comes into Focus". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  34. Oh Young-jin (17 July 2015). "Mr. Elliott, you are messing with one of us". Korea Times. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  35. Power, John. "Offensive Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  36. Power, John (17 July 2015). "Pictured: The 'offensive' Samsung cartoons of Jewish U.S. hedge fund boss which sparked anti-Semitism row in South Korea". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  37. Marks, Jon (July 13, 2015). "A Clearer Picture of Samsung Anti-Semitism Charges Comes into Focus". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  38. Kurson, Ken (13 July 2015). "Spat Between Samsung and NYC Hedge Fund Takes Nasty Detour Into Jew-Baiting". The Observer. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  39. Sokol, Sam. "Jewish organizations call on Samsung to denounce accusations of Jewish cabal blocking deal". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  40. JULY 13, 2015 (13 July 2015). "Samsung Condemns Antisemitism After South Korean Media Blames 'Jewish Money' for Opposition to Merger Deal". The Algemeiner. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  41. HAVIV RETTIG GUR (July 9, 2015). "Fight over one of the world's largest tech companies turns anti-Semitic". Retrieved 13 July 2015.

External links[edit]

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