Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rhie Won-bok: Representative of Global Antisemitism

The U.S. State Department has cited Monnara author Rhie Won-bok as Korea's representative to the world in the anti-semitism department in it's report, Contemporary Global Antisemitism. The document includes Rhie's 'wall of Jews' illustration along with the following:
South Korean Comic Book Echoed Jewish Conspiracy Theories
In March 2007, a South Korean publisher agreed to pull a best-selling children’s book from stores after an international outcry about the anti-Semitic nature of many of the cartoons. The controversial book, written by a South Korean university professor, was one in a series designed to teach youngsters about other countries in comic book format. The series, “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries,” sold more than 10 million Korean-language copies. The book on the United States recycles various Jewish conspiracy theories, such as Jewish control of the media, Jews profiting from war, and Jews causing the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. For example, one comic strip shows a newspaper, a magazine, a television, and a radio and is captioned, “In a word, American public debate belongs to the Jews, and it’s no exaggeration to say that [U.S. media] are the voices of the Jews.”
Another strip shows a man climbing a hill and then facing a brick wall inscribed with a Star of David and a STOP sign. The caption reads, “The final obstacle [to success] is always a fortress called Jews.” The author later acknowledged his mistake and pledged to write, “in a more responsible way.”
Note that yesterday marked the one year anniversary of Rhie Won-bok and Gimm-Young Publishing's promise to pull the book and change subsequent versions, neither of which have actually happened. I was dismayed to find this winter that the book is for sale in a book store in Manhattan's Koreatown and I have no doubt that it is sold there to this day.