Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shanghai's Jewish Connection -- Who Knew?

Students of history are well aware that the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 was due in no small part by an enduring level of antisemitism in Europe. That historic fact gets lost in the shadow of the Holocaust, but the roots of antisemitism reach all the way back past Medieval times. Those roots were well established before Shakespeare's Shylock and the Venetian ghetto appeared on the scene. Shiploads of Jews escaping Hitler were refused entry to the US and Canada as early as 1939 (see MS St. Louis).  And the name Exodus which most Americans associate with the music theme of the movie was the name of another ship full of Jewish refugees with no place to go but Palestine.  So in retrospect a China-Jewish connection is not as remarkable as it might seem.

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