Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lee Won-bok: Far Countries and Close Countries

Lee Won-bok
Author of Far Countries and Close Countries
(Monnara Iunnara, 먼나라 이웃나라)
(Image from 7/22/04 Chosun Ilbo)

In a Chosun Ilbo article of three years ago, "Famous Comic Book Series Finally Reaches the United States" (July 22, 2004), Kim Tae-hoon reported on a comic book, Far Countries and Close Countries (Monnara Iunnara, 먼나라 이웃나라), written by Deoksung Women's University professor Lee Won-bok. Among other points, Kim noted the role played by anti-Americanism in Lee's book and then quoted a rather 'interesting' remark:

[C]onscious of [Korea's] growing anti-American feelings and public demand [in Korea] to take a new approach to a long-time alliance with the U.S., Lee is very careful in analyzing the U.S. in the book. "I tried to exclude my personal views of the United States as much as I could. In the case of the Iraq War, rather than focusing on the war itself, I tried to provide a big framework for American foreign policy through such things as analyzing U.S. strategy in the Middle East and the influence of Jews behind those policies."

Hmmm ... "the influence of Jews" on America's policies in the Middle East. Now, this 'interesting' remark could derive from a legitimate analysis of various influences on American foreign policies, including the role of conservative Christians, but why single out the Jews?

The answer has come from a 25-year-old expat blogging in Bucheon, Joe Mondello, who has recently been translating relevant portions of Lee's book on a site named Reading Monnara. Chapter 8, "One Must Know the Jews to Truly See America," is especially revealing. In Mondello's posts on his translation efforts, he notes a number of astonishing things that Lee states as facts:

[T]he real group that controls America through money and media pressure is the Jews. (Part 1)

Adam Smith, who was a Jew, wrote 'The Wealth of Nations' (유대인이었던 애덤 스미스의 <국부론>이 발표되었고 . . .) . (Part 3)

As Mondello points out, Adam Smith was not a Jew. The translations continue:

(Graphic shows a Jew in a yarmulke waving from behind an altar or box labeled "Bank of England" with a menorah standing on it) This was the Jews' chance to grab England's financial power, and thus had the world's finances wrapped around their fingers (이를 계기로 유대인은 영국 내의 금융권을 장악, 세상을 그들의 뜻대로 좌지우지하였어). (Part 4)

Rockefeller was the top American conglomerate (Top 3: Rockefeller, DuPont and Mellon) There is ongoing dispute about whether or not he was a Jew but the matter is not clear. But the reason he is mistaken for a Jew is that his enterprise technique was exactly the same as the Jews. His number one business rule was to destroy the competition. He used intrigue, tricks, threat, menace, and naturally he mobilized industrial spies to steal information from his competition. He used bribery, violence, and to top it all he didn't hesitate to sabotage companies. This was cold hearted industrialist who cruelly knocked down the competitors who faced him. (Part 6)

For the record, John D. Rockefeller was a Protestant Christian, specifically a member of the Northern Baptist denomination. One more translation from Mondello:

The core group of people that moves Washington power is the WASPs, but in reality the invisible power that moves them is the Jews. (Part 7)

Mondello deserves commendation for his translations of these antisemitic passages in Lee Won-bok's Far Countries and Close Countries. Indeed, Mondello's efforts have already garnered some international attention, as Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole has noted in his post "MBC reports on criticism of anti-Semitic comic." By the way, lest anyone be confused, Koehler transliterates Lee Won-bok's name as Rhie Won-bok (and this is not an idiosyncrasy on Koehler's part, for many Korean names can be variously transliterated):

ORIGINAL POST: Finally—a Korean news provider picks up the story. Broadcaster MBC ran a piece this morning on how Jews in the U.S. were protesting cartoonist Rhie Won-bok's anti-Semitic descriptions in his popular comic book series "Far Country, Near Country."

The comments section (583 so far) is not pretty, of course. The more humorous comments were along the lines of, "But how did the Jews know? It's written in Korean..." Honestly, though, if I were, I might be concerned about some of the commentary, especially the Hitler comments...

By "the commentary," Koehler is referring to the comments made at the site by readers. Unfortunately, my Korean is far too poor for me to read the comments, but a commenter who goes by the name "Sonagi" has visited the site and posted this report:

I read the comments that got hundreds of recommendations and noted that the most recommended one (700+ recs) called for an investigation into charges that sections of the book were prejudiced. The second most recommended post (almost 600 recs) suggested publishing a Munnara volume on the Middle East, to expose the slaughter of innocent Arabs, including children, by Israelis. The fourth most rec'd (almost 500) cited passages and asked "what's problem?" "It's all true, isn't it? The fifth and sixth most rec'd (350+) praised Hitler and expressed sorrow that his great humanitarian task of exterminating the Jews was never accomplished.

Sonagi has also posted and translated some of the headings for messages on the boards:

"유태인은 세계의 사악한 민족" Jews are the world’s most evil race.

"포경수술한 놈들은 전부유태인이다" Circumcized bastards all Jews.

"유대인=잡종민족.." Jews are a mongrel race.

"유대인들은 인간 쓰레기들이다!!!" Jews are human trash.

"히틀러는 영웅이죠" Hitler is a hero.

"유대인 쓰레기들을 몰살하라!하일!히틀러" Exterminate Jewish trash! Heil Hitler!

"유태인 학살 유태인도 책임 있다" Jews are also responsible for the Holocaust.

"대대적인 홀로코스트를 다시 한번 해야 한다...." We need another large-scale Holocaust.

Sonagi notes that the last board heading, calling for another Holocaust, got more than 200 recommendations.

Well, speaking as one who generally defends Korea and Koreans, I have to say that I find this very disturbing. I spoke to my wife about it over lunch on Thursday. She had recently noticed the controversy but didn't know many details. I told her of my surprise to hear that antisemitism has come to Korea, and I asked if she knew the source of this trend.

I explained that European antisemitism of the early to mid-20th century was generally right-wing and had two sources: (1) a longstanding Christian theological tradition of anti-Judaism and (2) a more recent current of nationalist anti-Jewishness rooted in 19th-century cultural and biological views. I then noted, however, that contemporary European antisemitism has found a home on the political Left (cf. pdf: Robert Purkiss and Beate Winkler, Perceptions of Antisemitism in the European Union (2002)), probably deriving from two sources: (1) an anticapitalist critique on the Left that had long identified Jews as playing a major role in the rise of modern capitalism and (2) an anti-Zionist critique that views Israel as a colonial power oppressing a native Palestinian population. The rising power of Islam in Europe has reinforced this Leftist trend, for radical Islamists have combined traditional Islamic views of Jews as despised dhimmis with the fascist, especially Nazi antisemitism of mid-twentieth century Europe, and to some extent, the hard Left and radical Islamism have become fellow travelers. Herein lies a tale too complex for the telling in this particular blog entry.

I then told my wife that because I have the impression that Protestant Christianity in Korea tends toward philosemitism (but correct me if I'm wrong), then the antisemitism found in Lee Won-bok's statements probably stems more from the Left. This would fit with much of the Leftist antisemitism that we currently find in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States.

My wife listened to my remarks, reflected on the Korean context, and then replied, "I think that it comes more from the Left in Korea because the Korean Left is more anti-American and associates the Jews with America."

If I ever succeed in learning Korean, I suspect that I will have my hands full with blogging on stuff like this, but anyway, the upside to this episode of antisemitism in Korea is that at the site that Sonagi reported on, more than 700 recommendations were posted in support of "an investigation into charges that sections of the book were prejudiced."

Those 700 were more than the recommendations for any other single heading at, and this suggests that a large block of reasonable Koreans are among those posting responses and making recommendations.

UPDATE: Xia (i.e., Sonagi) reports: "I had one more look at Naver and have some good news and bad news. The good news is that I mistook the number of views for the number of recs. The actual number of recs for the top [antisemitic] posts are [only] in the teens not the hundreds. The bad news is that post calling for an investigation did get a few recs but was [not] in the top ten." See Comments for more details.



At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, he has the same nose as my Uncle Irving.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Lee's one redeeming feature, no doubt.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once discussed the topic of Israel with some adult students at my old hagwon a long time ago. These were otherwise intelligent and likeable people, but I noticed that one or two of them not only despised Israel (they claimed a parallel between the Palestinians and the Israelis and the Koreans and the Japanese), but actually claimed that "the Jews control the world." It was a sad moment for me.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has influenced Korean perceptions of the Jews. I noticed many negative Naver and Chosun Ilbo comments made references to Israelis killing Palestinians.

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, I am Sonagi.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you've quoted my translations extensively, I am posting a correction to my posts at the Marmots:

I had one more look at Naver and have some good news and bad news. The good news is that I mistook the number of views for the number of recs. The actual number of recs for the top posts are in the teens not the hundreds. The bad news is that post calling for an investigation did get a few recs but was in the top ten. Below I've listed the titles for the most recommended posts at Naver:

1. We need another large-scale Holocaust. 15 recs
2. His Majesty Hitler would shed tears over this. 13 recs
3. Having looked at sections of Munnara 13 recs (the commenter says it's all true)
4. No way should the truth be bent under pressure! 9 recs
5. What if a Munnara volume on the Middle East were written? 9 recs (commenter says the book would expose how evil Israelis murder innocent Palestinian children.
6. Every time I look at this article...8 recs

This last one is very interesting. The writer says they've read the book and don't see anything wrong with it. They complain that as a country with freedom of the press, Korea shouldn't cave in to foreign pressure. The writer then makes a comparison with the recent speed-skating controversy, complaining that Korea is humiliating itself and not being independent by apologizing.

I disagree with this commenter, but they are not hateful. I think this is an ordinary Korean expressing a view shared by many ordinary Koreans. You can read the original here:

이런 기사 볼때마다.. 조회 131추천 82007/02/15 21:58

sunsurii IP
정말 우리나라 한심하다는 생각이 든다..

먼나라... 는 나도 봐서 알지만, 매우 건전한 책이고 유대인 비하하려고 쓰여진게 아니다.

설혹 비하하고 있다 하더라도, 언론의 자유가 있는 대한민국이

유대인 말을 들어 출판내용을 바꾸는게 말이 되는가?

이런 기사 읽을때마다 한국이 싫어진다.

한국 빙상 여자 선수들 백두산 세레모니 했다가 중국측에 사과했단다..

중국은 대회 처음부터 백두산이 중국땅인것처럼 온갖 홍보 다한 주제에..

이런식으로 계속 굴욕적인 모습을 보이면,

이를 보는 국민들은, 국가 주체성을 의심하고,

한국을 엿같이 볼 수 밖에 없다.

The Chosun Ilbo boards use real names. The messages don't have titles, so I've briefly summarized the most recommended below:

1. If these protests by the Jews don't prove the book correct, what does? How can American Jews put pressure on a foreign professor in another country? I've lived in America myself. The Jews are lacking in humanity. The backs of their heads are smaller than the Chinese, but their (Jews) business acumen is legendary. 22 recs

2. I don't understand why Koreans have to apologize to the Jews. It's all true - the media, the economy, entertainment, academia, all controlled by the Jews for their own benefit. 22 recs

3. Professor Rhie is totally correct. We have to remember that the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union were silent while Hitler was carrying out the Holocaust. Seeing how Israel is cruel to the Palestinians, Jews need to shut their mouths. 지금이 유대인에게는 '대보름달'이다. 저러다 히틀러같이 독한 놈 만나면 '일'나는 거다. 그때도 온세상이 침묵할 것이다 (this last part sounds very ominous - maybe you could ask your wife to translate) The entire comment is here: (14 recs)

이교수 말이 전부 다 맞다. 히틀러가 유대인 홀로코스트를 자행할 때, 영미, 구소련이 전부 침묵했다는 것을 기억해야 한다. 유대인이 팔레스타인에게 저리 가혹한 것을 볼 때, 유대인은 그 입을 다물어야 한다. 지금이 유대인에게는 '대보름달'이다. 저러다 히틀러같이 독한 놈 만나면 '일'나는 거다. 그때도 온세상이 침묵할 것이다. (02/16/2007 08:00:08)

If any Korean speakers wish to view the boards, you can find them here:

Naver: (anonymous)§ion_id=103&menu_id=103

Chosun Ilbo: (real name)

Use the 추천 sort to find the most recommended posts.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nathan, that's troubling to hear. I've not experienced this myself, but probably because I've never happened to broach the topic.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:38 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi-Xia, thanks for the corrections and added information. There is -- as you say -- both good and bad news. The positive perspective, of course, is relatively diminished. I'm hoping that there's a silent majority here that's critical of the comic, but I'm guessing that most Koreans don't know much about the issue.

You've done a very worthwhile job, by the way.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Casual Observer, I've deleted your comment from here and moved it to the entry where it belongs.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:47 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

I really don't understand this. Shouldn't Koreans recognize that Hitler was a practical ally and a spiritual twin of the hated militaristic society in Japan? How can Koreans, who never had a lot of dealings in the Middle East, hold such strong preconceptions about the state of Israel and the Jewish population of Europe? It's outlandish. What's next? Is there an anti-masonic organization as well? Do they arrest gypsies?

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ, that's the irony in this, isn't it? -- that the Japanese and Germans were allied in the Second World War.

But let's be cautious about presuming how widespread this antisemitism is in Korean society. I'm not yet convinced this is really so widespread.

We'll see.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Koreans have had some dealings in the Middle East, in construction projects in the 1980s. Today there are about 70,000 Korean Muslims living in South Korea (and over 100,000 Muslims from abroad). Not a significant number, but it could be one more source adding to anti-Semitism here.

- Haisan

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Haisan, thanks for noting that here. I'd mentioned it in an email to a Jewish friend but neglected to raise the point in my blog. It's something to consider.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:13 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Wow. This is very disconcerting. As a yoo-tay-een, mi-guk saram nam-pyuhn of a han-guk saram ah-neh living in New York, this hits home for me.

My wife and I have often considered relocating to Korea if the situation called for it, but stories like this disturb me greatly. If there was any truth to the notion of endemic, Korean anti-semitism, I'd never consider relocating.

When we traveled to Korea in 2002, I do recall some political signs in the hallways of my wife's old University, including some anti-Israeli ones. While I didn't agree, that's their business. But the Star of David with a swastika (German, not Indian-style!) was horrible.

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me when people who are angry or upset because they haven't gotten whatever it is they want or need out of life feel compelled to blame me for their troubles. I live a small, quiet life in the Midwest and constantly forget how powerful and influential I am until someone like Professor Lee comes along to remind me. Could someone please tell me how I can cash in on all the benefits that come from ruling the world and controlling its money, because so far, I haven't been able to figure it out.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee Won-bok. If you are the one who wrote that antiJewish book, then all your titles, your doctorate which you brag about is nothing but a scrap of paper. You are a very pathetic man.

Your students are unfortunate to have such an ignorant professor as you are. Have your parents taught you about God? Or the equality of men?

I feel so sorry for you. But then, there is nothing to be sorry about except that humanity is tainted by a heartless professor as you are masquerading as an intellectual.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Mike, your Korean is better than mine, it seems.

I haven't personally noticed antisemitism in Korea, so the details of this comic book came as a surprise to me.

I think that whatever antisemitism exists in Korea is riding on the anti-Americanism of the Left. It might disappear with the decline of the Left in Korea ... if that happens.

Or it could take on a life of its own.

We'll just have to see.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Amy W., I'm also amazed at this.

I'm even more amazed, however, at the extent of antisemitism on the Left. The Left has always had some antisemitism on it extreme left wing, but antisemitic views seem to have spread throughout much of the Left. There's a story here that ought to be told, and perhaps Paul Berman is the one to undertake it (if he hasn't already).

Thanks for writing.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, I hope that you don't think that I'm Lee Won-bok.

I also don't think that Lee will be reading my blog, which is a rather minor one as blogs go.

Still, thanks for writing.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jeffery -

You're far too kind with regard to my Korean. Far too kind.

As to the roots of the anti-semitism, my wife agrees with you (and your wife). She sees it as another symptom of the "orthodox radicalism" that many Korean university students go through. She's of the mind that much like the flirtations with socialism, virulent anti-Americanism, and other such idea(l)s, this will pass with age and time.

So they can turn to the more traditional concerns of money & family!

At 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this informative post. I stumbled on it after reading an article about it and your coverage is very thorough.
The article that I read was titled,
"Korean author to revise anti-Semitic texts," so it looks like he's going to change parts of the book but he's still maintaining the belief that he's telling the truth.

At 5:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Mike, it may pass with changing political views.

If Koreans would look at the geopolitical reality here in Northeast Asia, they might notice the rise of a powerful, nationalistic China that could use its enormous power to intimidate Korea if Korea were to follow the Left's political program of cutting loose the American alliance and drawing closer to China.

The alliance with America might begin to look better to Koreans if they were to judge it more realistically. And if the antisemitic views are superficially riding on Leftist ones, then as Leftist ideology subsides, so also will antisemitic views.

We'll just have to see...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Anonymous, but your appreciation should go to the heavy lifters like Xia(-Sonagi) and Joe Mondello, both of whom have translated the relevant Korean passages into English.

All that I did was to add a possible context for this.

But thanks anyway. I'll take a look at the link provided. It's probably the same information that I read on CNN's news site and blogged on yesterday. I have three more blog entries on this issue of antisemitism in Korea, which you can easily find by scrolling up from this entry.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Corea, KNOW THE SHAME: Lee Won-bok.


At 9:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, and many Koreans seem to have recognized that.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only recently came across this topic when I was googling Korean American comic book artists. It's shocking. I'm glad that this professor wasn't able to flip this controversy into notoriety. Instead, I hope he has been disgraced by the rebuttals to his outrageous remarks. The unoriginal remarks, of course, are borrowed from the West's antisemites, as Koreans never had much of a history with Jews or Israel. I have heard from members of my parents' generation how the communists (loosely translated as "reddies") influence political and academic thought on the peninsula and I can't help but see the ties between the Jewish capitalist caricature of this professor and the antisemitism of Europe in 20th and 21st centuries.

I had hoped the Koreans would have greater sensitivity to historical accuracy given their outrage over Japanese texts that butcher the facts in the interest of nationalism.

As a Korean American, perhaps I can add a couple cents to the discussion. There is, as someone noted, a heavy influence of the West's academic left, specifically in the characterization of Israel as an occupation of Palestinian lands and subjugation of Palestinian people. Koreans have been a conquered people at various times in its history. Some Koreans still harbor strong feelings toward Japan's most recent rule over the peninsula this century. When US educators, academics and politicians throw around words like "apartheid," "occupation" and "colonization," Korean sympathy will lie with the alleged "victims."

Koreans, as many of you may know, place a great deal of value and prestige in academic achievement and many consider degrees from US universities of considerable value. I've seen so many Korean international students in graduate programs at US universities that can barely speak English. It makes me wonder, both in the quality of the education they've retained and in the ethical obligations of the educational institution. I think it can take just one left-leaning professor at a university to sway the class reading toward anti-Israel publications to produce graduates that can believe in some Jewish conspiracy.

The disinformation is prevalent and starts early, I realized. A high school student in the US mentioned that one of his teachers mentioned matter-of-factly that Israel was an occupier.

I should also mention that most Korean Americans, as opposed to Koreans, tend to be conservative Protestant Christians. There is almost a reverence for Jews among Korean Americans, not only because the Jewish patriarchs are our own among the faithful, but as immigrants, many of us were taught that the Jewish immigrants were models of preserving identity in a new world and in creating a place for ourselves through academic and professional achievement. This, too, perhaps mythologizes Jews.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, thanks for the interesting remarks, with which I largely agree.

I'd add that even the evangelical views on the Jews as God's chosen race and therefore favored by God can predispose some people to see Jewish influence everywhere.

Anyway, you're right that a lot of Korean education is not up to global standards yet, and Korean students can often barely speak English, but I can say that the situation has improved a great deal over the past 12 years. I first taught in Korea in 1995, and even the good students were poor in pronunciation. These days, most students can pronounce fairly well, and many can speak well.

The basic problem with education in Korea is the absence of a culture of discussion. This is an issue larger than education, for Confucian hierarchy raises barriers to free discussion. But even this is changing. Younger people are far more open and willing to speak out.

Thanks again for your comment.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee's book is very famous book in Korea such as Harry Potter.
I am Korean and I read that book.
Lee's books are large scale series.
japan, german, france, england
italia, holand, .....
the book about U.S.A. is only a small part of that book.
and to critisie jewsh is only a
very small part.

As a whole perspective
Lee's book is not anti-semitism book

it is outragous to this book is regarded as antisemitism.

there is no jews and no islam in
unlike U.S.A. Jews has no economical political powers in Korea.
unlike U.S.A. Europe Russia
there is not exist wide spread

At 4:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The fame of Lee's book in Korea has no logical connection to the question of whether or not it contains antisemitic statements.

The book does express some antisemitic statements, as has been documented.

As for your following remarks:

"there is no jews and no islam in korea. unlike U.S.A. Jews has no economical political powers in Korea. unlike U.S.A. Europe Russia there is not exist wide spread antisemitism."

No Jews? There are some Jews in Korea, though very few. Anyway, the absence of Jews does not stop people from being antisemitic. Japan also has few Jews but antisemitc books have sold well there. I hope that you are correct about the lack of widespread antisemitism in Korea, but I have seen some antisemitism here, and the political left in Korea tends to express it more than other sectors, in my experience, although some Christians do so as well.

No Islam in Korea? There is a small community of Korean Muslims here in Korea, and there has been since the Korean War due to the influence of the Turkish troops who were part of the UN forces. There are also the foreign workers, many of them Muslim. But what's the connection to the issue of antisemtism? The term "antisemitism" is used to refer to prejudice against Jews.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

P.S. Anonymous, I have posted a new blog entry for your benefit.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my english is bad
so my expression is simple
as you see. i use broken english
i simply express small as no

do you read all book of lee?
I read all of that book

that book has many cynical expression about other euopean
that book is comic and expression of comic is cynical.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the is notorious for

Akpler is a new korean vocabulary
which is definied as a person who write velocious and bad manner
comment about in internet news.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, I don't know if you are the same 'Anonymous' as earlier, but that doesn't really matter. I'll reply to each comment separately.

First comment:

"my english is bad so my expression is simple as you see. i use broken english i simply express small as no

do you read all book of lee? I read all of that book

that book has many cynical expression about other euopean nations. that book is comic and expression of comic is cynical."

I teach English to Koreans, so I am used to mistakes. I don't judge people on that basis, especially since I don't know much Korean. I rely on my lovely wife.

No, I haven't read all of Lee, just a bit that has been translated.

Your point about 'cynical' comics is well taken. We should read the 'comic' as exaggerated, or cynical -- as you suggest. The difficulty here is that Lee Won-bok had gotten into problematic territory. Not everything can be made comic. Remember that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. Cynicism about Jewish 'power' is not in good taste . . . assuming that Lee Won-bok meant that.

Now for the second comment:

"the is notorious for Akpler(악플러)

Akpler is a new korean vocabulary which is definied as a person who write velocious and bad manner comment about in internet news."

I don't understand what "velocious" means. Therefore, I am not sure what you mean exactly.

Anyway, my opinion is that Lee Won-bok is probably not deeply antisemitic but is simply misguided and naive, like too many Koreans who comment on American and Western topics.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously the Israeli lobby has no influence in US politics, particularly its policy regarding the Middle East?!

The rampant tunnel vision within the US.

Don't kid yourself.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, whom are you talking to? Which issue are you addressing?

Influence is not control, so what are you disputing? Be specific if you want to make your point?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The professor's comments are undoubtedly anti-semitic. Ridiculous, too.
It's unfortunate to see that some of the earlier comments have hijacked the thread in a way.
Let's distinguish between real anti-semitism and Anti-Israeli sentiment.
Nathan B said:

"I noticed that one or two of them not only despised Israel (they claimed a parallel between the Palestinians and the Israelis and the Koreans and the Japanese)"

I think it is actually rather astute to make the comparison. Both states occupied another's territory. Both practiced/practice violent repression of the indigenous occupation. It's not a Jew thing. You'll find that a lot of people who say the same things about Israel's policies are, themselves, Jewish (i.e. Chomsky, Finkelstein)

This tired notion that calling Israel out when it violates International Law is tantamount to Anti-Semitism doesn't really make sense.

The Jews controlling the world thing... well that's bizarre.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, I agree that there is a distinction between antisemitism and criticism of Israel.

Thanks for the comment.

Jeffery Hodges

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