Sat 15 Jun 2024 7:21 pm - Jerusalem Time

Israeli expert: Profound shifts in Chinese positions on Israel after October 7

Israeli expert on China, Yuval Weinrib, expressed his shock at the significant expansion of what he described as a wave of anti-Semitism on social media in China after the October 7 attack, and spoke of a number of examples of popular condemnations directed at Israel.

He said in an interview with a writer in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Ayelet Shani, that “the responses on Chinese social media to the Hamas massacre are in fact a wave of anti-Semitism. It is not anti-Israel, but anti-Semitism.” He demonstrated this by saying that the Israeli embassy in Beijing By uploading content about the war, but the surprise was that the responses included support for Hitler.

Deep transformations

He explained the profound shift in how the Chinese viewed Israelis. Before October 7, “China was one of the safest places to say you're Israeli, Jewish. Every Israeli who spoke Chinese and explained that they were from Israel was always responded, 'Wow, you're Jewish,'” he explained. "You're the smartest in the world." This is something the Chinese learn from childhood. They think we have some kind of superpower, and there are books that teach people how smart Jews are. The writer calls this type of treatment “positive anti-Semitism.”

He added, “Now, I do not know whether the government encouraged this matter on its own initiative, or turned a blind eye, which in China means authorization, but what happened after October 7, according to the writer, is that “positive” anti-Semitism became Negative hostility, on the most shocking levels imaginable, he says.

In this regard, the writer makes some comments such as: “If there are 8 million Jews in Israel, we can open a large soap factory there!” There are other comments such as: “The Jews control the world through the United States,” “They are persecuted.” The people of Gaza because of the United States.”

In further evidence of the transformation, the Israeli expert cited an example of some Chinese publishing a picture of some neighborhoods on social media showing a highly developed place, with skyscrapers, opposite a neighborhood that was bombed in Gaza, on which was written the sentence “Muslims in China versus Muslims in Israel or Gaza.”

Not Chinese

The Israeli expert stopped at the Chinese dealing with two incidents, the first related to the Israeli prisoner Noa Argamani, whom the occupation forces succeeded in recovering on June 8 from the Nuseirat camp, and whom he said was half Chinese, stressing that “the online discourse in China was to disavow her background.” And deny it.”

He added, "It drove me crazy, because at first I thought that this would be a strong card for Israel, but I discovered very quickly that it was not just a card of any kind. Rather, they turned it against us, and they described our attempts as efforts on our part to engage in manipulative and provocative behavior, and they claimed She is not Chinese at all. It is true that her mother is Chinese, but she herself does not have Chinese citizenship. She is an Israeli citizen.”

The second incident was that an Israeli embassy employee was stabbed in Beijing a few days after October 7. “The event was barely reported,” he said. “I was completely shocked by the anti-Semitism on social media, even though I was well aware.” They have not changed since the 1950s. China was one of the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, and it has always supported Palestine at every opportunity and in every international institution.”

Ban "shadow"

When asked about his experience with the Chinese government’s control over media outlets such as the “Douyin” application, the Chinese version of “Tik Tok,” and the Weibo application, which is similar to the Chinese platform With the Palestinians without its permission.

He gave an example of the harassment he faced due to his attempts to publish videos of Israeli detainees in Gaza, saying, “I received a message saying that this conflicts with “community values,” because it prevents showing blood on the platform. By the way, there is already such a law, but I did not notice it. There is a problem with showing the blood of Gazans there. I tried to upload content that explains that Hamas is a terrorist organization, and it turns out that this does not comply with “community values” either, but the content is not always blocked, as most of what I experienced after October 7 is known as “shadow bans.” "It means you upload the content, but it doesn't get any exposure, that's all."

The expert stressed that the Chinese approach to the conflict in the region is what drives its dealings with the media regarding Palestinian and Israeli content, as Beijing wants to “eliminate American hegemony over the world and establish a new world order, and they see that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gives them a lot of popularity, without risking anything.” “The Islamic and Arab street is with China, and other countries in the global south, which China claims to lead, identify with it.”

Huge effect

To confirm the great influence of social media in China, and the volume of views that anti-Israel content receives, he cited an example of a well-known social media influencer who was selling cosmetics in a store, where he “caused a huge stir on the Douyin platform, when he himself, on Chinese Singles’ Day, managed to... From selling $2.5 billion worth of beauty products directly in less than 24 hours,” he noted, noting that he “obtained 300 million views during that, which is more than the views of any international sporting event, with the possible exception of the FIFA World Cup.”

Although the Israeli researcher criticized the state of freedom in China and the restrictions on means of communication, he called on the Israeli government to benefit from that experience, saying that the fact that “the Chinese government is doing bad things in 1001 regions does not mean that it is not right or is not doing the right thing in other things. There are "Also a lot can be learned from the Chinese not by copying and pasting, but by knowing what is correct and what is appropriate."

"If there is something we can learn from the Chinese, it is that ultimately TikTok and Douyin are known for the fact that their algorithm is able to adjust content to the user in real time. The Chinese have realized that users may be changed by the content they receive," he added.

Source: Israeli press


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Israeli expert: Profound shifts in Chinese positions on Israel after October 7