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May 26, 2016 6:46 am

More Positive Signs for the Israel-China Relationship

avatar by Judith Bergman

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by children while on his visit to China May 6, 2013. Photo: Israel GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by children while on his visit to China in May, 2013. Photo: Israel GPO.

Welcome to the beauty of Chinese-Israeli cultural relations. Seen against the backdrop of solid loathing of all things Israeli that so dominates the European cultural establishment, the relations between China and Israel almost seem like something out of a dreamlike alternate reality.

The good news is that there is nothing imaginary about them. The story of popular Israeli children’s writer Yanetz Levi, author of the series “Adventures of Uncle Arie,” which has sold more than 700,000 copies in Israel, is a good example of this.

Levi arrived in China this week and was received like a rock star. Fifty thousand copies of his books sold in China before he arrived, and since his arrival tens of thousands more have been sold. In one school alone, 5,000 copies were purchased. While that may not seem like much for a country the size of China, with a population of more than 1 billion, it is still very impressive for a children’s writer from small Israel. The Chinese children greeted him like a superstar, shouting “Lioooshushu” (the equivalent of “Uncle Arie” in Chinese) as he came to their schools. What is there not to love? Evidently, Chinese children are not raised on a BDS-infused diet of lies and hatred.

According to the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, “Israeli culture and its diversity are very popular in China. In addition, culture is an important instrument for deepening relations between the Israeli and Chinese peoples. Bringing Yanetz Levi is an excellent example of the unique connection between the two cultures. The embassy will continue to bring different Israeli artists to increase the Chinese public’s exposure [to Israel].”

This is of course what all embassies do, including Israeli embassies in Europe, but there Israel has little long-lasting success to show for its efforts in the cultural fields. Only this week, British professor Catherine Hall refused to accept Tel Aviv University’s prestigious Dan David prize for her work in gender history, after the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement called on her and other recipients to refuse the prize due to “Tel Aviv University’s complicity in the occupation.”

Such pathetic anti-Israeli posturing seems almost inconceivable from a Chinese scholar. Last August, 19Chinese teenagers came to visit Israel as their prize for winning a prestigious science contest in their country. Given a choice of travel destinations, the teenagers chose Israel, where they attended a special 10-day workshop hosted by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

That says something about the high standing of Israel in China, but it also speaks volumes about the respect for Israel’s accomplishments, which Chinese children evidently learn and hold from an early age.

“For China, Israel is never a small country, but rather, a happy and innovative startup nation with many cutting-edge technologies and rich experience in governing social affairs,” Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping said in 2014.

As Levi’s popularity proves, Israeli and Chinese children appear to cherish the same kind of children’s books; there appears to be no brainwashing going on about Israel and the “detrimental effects” of too much exposure to “Zionist” literature, as one imagines taking place among the BDS-infatuated European cultural elites. Already today, there are places in Europe, including Sweden, where classic children’s literature is reviewed by publishing houses for the purpose of altering or deleting potentially “offensive” passages for the more sensitive political palates of the current generations. Several Swedish and Danish writers have even had books taken off the market in Sweden. The step toward limiting other works of litrature simply because of its national origins is a very small one in the current toxic climate of BDS and political correctness.

It is therefore an example of unusual normalcy that China is increasingly proving to be a thriving and growing place for cultural exchange with Israel. The positive ramifications of that relationship can hardly be overestimated, nor should they be taken for granted.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom. 

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  • Israel’s returning relationship to the East is actually a family homecoming; it’s true, it’s happening, embrace it.

  • Martin Gray

    Here are the facts. The future of Jews in Europe is questionable if not completely finished. The only real question remaining is whether the EU will be successful in fashioning its own military and then working under some biased UN mandate attempt to impose its will on Israel through the threat or actual use of force. In the United States,one of the major political parties, the Democrat party, will fashion a platform for the U.S. presidential election that will reflect an anti-Israel bias. One wonders what follows that. So the future for Israel belongs in Asia with China and Japan. My advice is to move as quickly as possible to cement that future.

  • And it is this growing and wonderful relationship with China, and indeed India, and other Far Eastern countries (Talmud-obsessed South Korea) that calls into question Israel’s concern with Islamising Europe – more of whose decisions internally in their own countries and externally at the United Nations have, as their only rational explanation, a pusillanimous desire to appease their Muslim citizens.

    As per World War Two, with the glorious exception of Britain (who is now unfortunately succumbing), appeasement seems to be what Europe is especially good at.

  • stevenl

    By hating Israel (success) with passion, the European pseudo-elite emulates the fanatics and genocidal Islamists. A great victory for moronism. Europe leftist fascism is in the open. But this is an old story that keeps repeating itself.
    European barbarians are still not able to learn ethical values after several millennia!

  • Yaakov

    I guess we should feel fortunate that the word “prestigious” only appears twice in this article.

    The Chinese typically think of Jews as people who are “good with money” and “successful in business.” This is not a positive perception. A Chinese friend of mine once asked a visiting Israeli in her field whether he was Jewish. He wouldn’t even answer. This is the disdain for Judaism that is all too common among Israelis and helps explain why perceptions of Jews are often distorted. If you want the world to respect you, then start respecting yourself and live a life based on Jewish values, not on materialism and status-consciousness.

    • Robert Davis

      Economic success is not all but it should not be considered inferior to other mattars as well, say Judaism first 60%,economy 40% well approximately. Who would like to live as the pakisatanis or the bengalis?