by WorldTribune Staff, August 24, 2017
Loyalists to the North Korean regime based in California are spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories via propaganda websites, a report said.
“Woven into their Korean-language propaganda is the idea that Jews manipulate the international order, turning it against their beloved tyrant, Kim Jong-Un,” Jewish Journal.com said in its report.
One Los Angeles-based contributor, Yai Joung-Woong, wrote on the Korean-language pro-Pyongyang site Minjok Tongshin (minjok.com) that “The black shadow government of the United States Jews is said to approve a civil war on the Korean peninsula.”
Lawrence Peck, an L.A.-based analyst on pro-North Korean activism in the U.S., said Minjok Tongshin has “direct, strong, ongoing ties to the highest levels of the North Korean regime.”
Peck said that pro-North Korean elements in the United States tend to ally themselves with far-left groups critical of Israel’s government.
“Whenever you’re dealing with fringe elements, nuts, extremists, you always find that anti-Semitism is present,” Peck said.
Yai, a naturalized American citizen, pleaded guilty in 2003 to acting as an unregistered agent of the North Korean government and served two years in prison. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Speaking by phone through an interpreter, Yai told the Jewish Journal that while he doubts Jews secretly manipulate world events, he nonetheless believes Jews wield a great deal of power in the United States and worries they could use that power to the detriment of North Korea, which he admits he holds in high regard.
Another North Korea loyalist, Lee Insook, wrote on Minjok Tongshin that Israeli Jews were responsible for the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS) and that Jews in general are a Satanic race.
“The God 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,” Lee, a nurse who lives in Torrance, California, wrote recently on Minjok Tongshin in an article titled “Demons hate the work of angels.”
Roh Kilnam, who runs Minjok Tongshin out of his Glendale, California home, distanced himself from the two writers while defending their freedom of speech.
He said in a telephone interview with Jewish Journal that the writers were “just freelancers,” but declined to say whether he had reviewed the anti-Semitic material before it was published.
Asked if he stood by the writers, Roh said: “We don’t support the content, but there’s freedom of press, you know. They have their own ideas and their own right to express.”
According to the Jewish Journal report, after Yai was imprisoned, Roh visited him at the Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County. Yai has since appeared as a keynote speaker at events organized by Minjok Tongshin.
Lee wrote more articles than any other contributor in 2014 and 2015, and Roh presented her with an award for her writing, the website reported.
A Facebook post on a page in Roh’s name praised North Korea’s July 4 test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The post read in part, “The test launch did not have any negative effects on the world’s safety and the safety of the surrounding countries.”
Minjok Tongshin is not alone among U.S.-based, pro-North Korean groups that engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric, the Jewish Journal report said.
A group called the Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC) wrote in a July 3 Korean-language statement that “American politics serves exclusively to benefit Jews and capitalists.”
One of the leaders of KANCC is Kil-sang Yoon, a Methodist minister in the Inland Empire’s Moreno Valley. Lee also contributes frequently to KANCC’s website, sometimes re-posting the same articles on Minjok Tongshin.
Peck told the Jewish Journal that anti-Semitism among overtly pro-North Korean elements such as Minjok Tongshin is widespread, though it goes mostly unnoticed by the Jewish community.
“Because it’s only in Korean, it flies under everyone’s radar,” he said.
In a recent interview with the Journal, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said that while North Korean anti-Semitism wasn’t an immediately pressing issue, “I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.”
“Korean Americans and Jewish Americans have a good relationship,” he said. “If you have a steady flow of invective that comes down, that spills over into part of the overall scenario here in California. It’s not something we would like to see happen, to say it mildly.”
Although careful not to overstate the impact of anti-Semitism from pro-North Korean websites on the Korean-American community at large, Peck said they can sometimes wield influence on the margins.
“There are people who are reading this garbage, and they are being influenced more so than if these sites didn’t exist and they didn’t see that rhetoric – because they wouldn’t necessarily go to the Stormfront neo-Nazi page,” he said, referencing a white supremacist website. “But if it’s in Korean, they’re more likely to see it.”