Wiesenthal Center Denounces Nazi-Like Depiction Of Jews By Prolific And Popular Korean Author

February 8, 2007


The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the broad use of classic antisemitism by one of Korea’s leading authors, Professor Lee Won-bok. In a book from his series, Monnara Iunnara (Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries). The series studies countries in a comic book format and for the last 20 years have sold over 10 million copies to young Koreans.

“The images in question in Monnara Iunnara echo classic Nazi canards like those found in Der Sturmer and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by recycling various Jewish conspiracies like Jewish control of the media and money, Jews profiting from war, and even the reason for the 9/11 attacks was that, ‘Jews use money and the media as weapons in America to do as they want’,” charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of  the Wiesenthal Center, adding, “the author also even alleges that the ‘final obstacle to success’ in the U.S. for Korean-Americans is a so-called ‘Wall of the Jews’.” 

 "Wall of the Jews"  "Jews control the media"  9-11
translation: The final obstacle (on the path to success) is always the 'fortress of the Jews'. translation: To sum it up, American public debate belongs to the Jews and it's no exaggeration to say that it (US media) is the voice of the Jews. 

 translation: 1) The reason why Arab terror struck at the despised America. 2)destroying the WTC with a suicide attack. 3) Jews use money and public discussion as weapons to make America do what they (the Jews) want.

 “The Center urges Koreans of goodwill whatever their political, ideological or religious affiliation to denounce this bigotry and strongly suggest that if they wish to know the truth about the Jewish people and their values that they reach out to their Jewish neighbors,” said Cooper.

Cooper is also urging the Eun-ju Park, CEO of Gimm-Young, the publisher of Monnara Iunnara, to “carefully review the slanders in this book that historically have led to antisemitic violence and genocide,” and instead, “consider providing facts about the Jewish people, our religion and values to young Koreans.”

Cooper also acknowledged the efforts of American expatriates in Korea who brought this issue to the Center’s attention.

Rabbi Cooper is a member of the Executive Committee of the North Korea Freedom Coalition. In 2004, he traveled to Seoul on a fact-finding mission where he interviewed eyewitnesses and defectors who provided first-person testimony describing the gassing of political prisoners, medical experiments, and other human-rights abuses in North Korea.

Read Rabbi Cooper's letter to Eun-ju Park, CEO of Gimm-Young.

Condemning the Comic Book was the Right Move
687 Words
21 February 2007
Chosun Ilbo
(c) 2007 The Chosun Ilbo Co., Ltd.

The Korean comic book "Far Countries, Neighboring Countries" has become a best-seller thanks to its easy and interesting introductory lessons on countries of the world. But three panels in the America volume of the series will be deleted for insinuating that Jewish influence on money and power led to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The book's author, Professor Rhie Won-bok, and its publishing house apologized for the panels and said they were sorry for any hurt they may have caused.

The protests against the comic book were led by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the same organization whose protests helped lead to the shuttering of "Marco Polo", a monthly Japanese pop culture and politics magazine. In a 1995 "Marco Polo" article, a Japanese neurosurgeon claimed that while the Holocaust was a true story, the notorious gas chambers at Auschwitz and other concentration camps may have been an exaggeration.

The article immediately drew condemnation from Jewish organizations, and the Israeli government made an official issue of it. The magazine's chief editor proposed to carry a story that would represent the Jewish argument, but the idea was rejected. Jewish organizations compelled sponsors to react, and businesses like Cartier, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and Philip Morris canceled their ads. The Japanese government issued an official statement calling the article inappropriate, and the incident came to an end after a person committed suicide by disembowelment. In a joint press conference, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Kengo Tanaka, the president of the Bungei Shunju publishing house, announced that the publication, despite its circulation of 250,000 readers, would be discontinued and its entire editorial staff dismissed.

In 1995, I was studying in St. Louis, the U.S, where I tutored a child from a Jewish-American family. Their house stood in an upscale residential area. On my way from the house on a Saturday afternoon, I dropped by a garage sale where I bought two small tables, at a giveaway price, for my stereo speakers. The designs on the tables reminded me of those from Biblical picture books or movies, so I asked the woman of the house, "Are these from Israel?" Her face suddenly turned icy cold. She said, as if interrogating me, "How did you know? So, what?" I was simply curious, but the woman's reaction was defensive. The parents of my student were wealthy and had a high social standing, with the father a bank president. But their faces always showed hints of unease.

Andy Grove, the CEO and one of the three founders of Intel, was born to a Jewish family in Hungary. After growing up in Budapest, he fled to the U.S. where he studied and eventually found fame and success. In the first chapter of the 2006 book "Andy Grove: An American Icon", Grove said that he wants to neither return to Budapest nor remember the time he spent there. Many Jewish figures, including academics, bankers, entrepreneurs, and filmmakers, are still uneasy -- so they teach their children not to let their guard down. Keeping deep in their hearts their 2,000-year history of persecution, the Jews instruct their children not to tolerate any anti-Semitic activity, anywhere.

In South Korea, the Jews are seen as a brilliant people with a long history, but also partly responsible for the discord in the Middle East. But from a broader perspective, we can understand and sympathize with the painful wounds they have suffered. We can understand why Jewish groups took issue with the comic book, just as we are especially attuned to the public hearing on comfort women currently underway in the U.S. Congress. The publisher's speedy decision to revise the comic book was the appropriate reaction. Furthermore, South Korea, surrounded by powerful nations, should be viewed as an attractive neighbor by other countries and their peoples, while we should have a deeper understanding of those countries and their peoples.

The column was contributed by John Shin of VeritasBooks.

(englishnews@chosun.com )

 The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
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