Jewish-Conspiracy Theories in Southeast Asia: are Chinese the Target?

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    Abstract

    This article examines how seriously we should take Indonesian (and Malaysian) anti-Jewish rhetoric as a 'safe' surrogate for racial hostility towards Chinese, who occupy many of the same middleman and financial roles that made Jews a target in Europe. By tracking the analogies between Southeast Asian Chinese and European Jews, it becomes clear that this was an exclusively European racial conceit from the 17th to the 19th century. Southeast Asian demonisations of Jews in the 20th century are late and derivative first from Europe, then from other parts of the Muslim world. Since the 1980s there has been a wave of conspiracy theories about Jewish world domination on the part of Islamists in Malaysia and Indonesia. Overall, however, the phenomenon is limited to small but vociferous groups, who only occasionally make the overt link between Jews and Chinese. The evidence I could gather is somewhat less alarming than I had feared.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)373-385
    JournalIndonesia and the Malay World
    Volume38
    Issue number112
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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