Upcoming virtual talk by Mary J. Ainslie explores Chinese philosemitism and historical statecraft

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The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) will host an online talk featuring Mary J. Ainslie from the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China campus. The event, “Chinese Philosemitism and Historical Statecraft: Accosting Judaism into Contemporary Chinese Civilizationism,” will take place on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m. via Zoom.

In her talk, Ainslie will examine and explain the heavy and consistent phenomenon of philosemitism in engagements with Israel and Judaism in contemporary China. While positive stereotypes of Israel and Judaism have been recognized in China since the establishment of China/Israel diplomatic relations in 1992, such discourses are now part of a rapidly changing post-2010 context of a growing China/Israel economic relationship and the repositioning of China globally by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Building upon existing research addressing the relationship between philosemitism and Chinese nationalism, Ainslie contends that in a context of growing Chinese global influence, philosemitic stereotypes of Judaism and Israel function to deploy Chinese-Jewish history as a means to construct and position Chinese-ness as globally central and superior in keeping with the historical statecraft of the CPC in recent years. The talk will illustrate how the heavy deployment of Jewish stereotypes at an increasingly visible and high level has the effect of both silencing voices of historical Jewish suffering and cultivating anti-Semitic discourses, which we see emerging in China for the first time when Jews and Israel inevitably cannot conform to the excessive parameters of philosemitism.

Ainslie is associate professor in media and communications and deputy head of the School of International Communications, University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus. Her research specializes in inter-cultural links across the Asia region, and she has won funding from the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Malaysia: Malay Nationalism, Philosemitism and Pro-Israel Expressions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

RSVP for the talk through Zoom.