(February 17, 2022 / JNS) One would expect that pro-North Korean groups and activists in the United States take stridently anti-Israel positions in their statements and on their websites and social media, and actively participate in anti-Israel events and campaigns. These groups have engaged in anti-Zionist rhetoric and activism for years, unnoticed by virtually all pro-Israel organizations and media. Such stances are attributable to their opposition to Israel and provision of weapons, training and political support to anti-Israel terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism, from Hamas and Hezbollah to Iran and Syria. This anti-Zionism is also motivated by the far-left extremism of pro-North forces. What is truly scandalous, however, is the virulent Jew-hatred regularly disseminated by pro-North groups/activists in America, and how Jewish organizations and media have, with only a few minor exceptions, almost entirely failed to take notice of or publicly condemn the purveyors of this vicious, overt anti-Semitism.
The pro-North movement in America consists of two components. There are fanatically and openly pro-North groups/activists that operate mostly in the Korean language and primarily target the Korean-American community. There are also pro-North “front” groups that publicly deny they are pro-North, and in order to appeal to a broader range of supporters, deceptively attempt to portray themselves as mere advocates for “peace” on the Korean peninsula. Rank-and-file members of front groups may be “fellow travelers” or “useful idiot” types, but their leaders are usually just as pro-North as those of openly pro-North groups.
Some fronts almost exclusively target the Korean-American community, while others primarily focus their efforts on the broader public, although with particular emphasis on influencing media and lobbying Congress. Whereas openly pro-North groups/activists, writing and speaking in Korean, are not shy about expressing rabid hatred for Jews and Judaism, pro-North front groups and their leaders usually try to be somewhat more circumspect, at least in public, to avoid being branded as bigots and alienating potential supporters. The fronts therefore mostly engage in anti-Israel activities and rhetoric, although their members occasionally make the short transition to outright anti-Semitism.
Nevertheless, fronts and openly pro-North groups/activists closely collaborate with one another, which increasingly blur the distinction between the two types of groups. In any event, they share the same goals, even if their respective tactics, methods of operation and primary target audiences differ. It is perhaps because the openly anti-Semitic rhetoric of the more fanatically pro-North groups/activists is mostly in the Korean language that Jewish organizations and media have not paid attention to it or denounced it in any significant way.
Although the anti-Zionism of the pro-North movement is typically expressed in the form of official statements and participation in various events and campaigns, as well as close and frequent collaboration with Marxist-Leninist and radical Palestinian groups/activists, the worst of the explicit Jew-hatred is featured in official statements and regular columns on the websites of, and to a lesser extent in lectures by, the leaders and active members of organizations and websites such as the openly and fanatically pro-North “Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC)” and “Minjok Tongshin.”
It is disturbing that despite the anti-Semitism and other racist content promoted by these groups, some of their leaders and members have been meeting with and receiving respectful receptions from members of Congress who would not normally welcome extremist fanatics from anti-Semitic groups. These and other pro-North groups have essentially been lobbying Congress on behalf of North Korea, supporting measures that the North favors and opposing legislation it disfavors. Leftist academics, former government officials and religious leaders have attended and actively participated in meetings and other events of such openly bigoted, anti-Semitic groups.
Journalists, particularly some correspondents in South Korea, have through bias or lack of due diligence in reporting downplayed or failed to note in references to groups such as “KANCC” and “Minjok Tongshin” the Jew-hatred promoted by them. In addition, these groups and their leaders have been close to the North’s Mission to the United Nations in New York and to intelligence agents who have in recent years been stationed there from the North’s “United Front Department,” whose operatives are tasked with establishing and guiding pro-North organizations in the United States.
In order to emphasize the seriousness of this problem, and alert Jewish organizations and media to the appalling nature of the vilification of Jews and Judaism involved, in the hope that they will finally take notice of and condemn it, it is unfortunately necessary to disclose the disgusting rhetoric published by pro-North groups/activists here.
“The G-d of the Jewish race created by Israel does not really exist, but is an abstraction and a Devil which has made the world a living hell. However, our ancestor [the mythical founder of Korea] the G-d Tangun does really exist and through its ‘devotion to man’ ideology will save mankind as a result of our North Korean fatherland possessing iron-handed authority of unprecedented power in the form of nuclear missiles, with which the North will destroy the crazy, murderous robber warmongers of capitalist finance and bring happiness to all under the North’s ‘exalting the people as G-d’ ideology.”
Such examples are only a small representative sampling of the Jew-hatred and anti-Israel vituperation featured on websites and social media of pro-North groups and activists in the United States. One would hope that they would be enough to convince Jewish organizations and media to take notice of this problem, and motivate them to strongly and publicly condemn those responsible for it.
The fact that much of this anti-Semitism appears in the Korean language is no excuse to ignore it. Some politically active Korean Americans are aware and ashamed of this dissemination of hatred by the small minority of pro-North fanatics in their midst. Human-rights activists from the North Korea Freedom Coalition who are focused on the North’s crimes against humanity are also aware of and condemn it. Unfortunately, however, most reporters and editors of Jewish-themed media outlets, as well as most leaders of pro-Israel and Jewish organizations, even those specifically dedicated to opposing anti-Semitism, are not aware of the issue. Now is the time for the Jewish community to study up on the issue and to speak out.
Lawrence Peck is an adviser to the North Korea Freedom Coalition. For nearly six years, he lived and worked in South Korea as a consultant for major Korean conglomerates. Pro-North Korean groups and activists in the U.S. have complained that his research on and exposure of them poses a threat to their movement.
Jewish News Syndicate
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