Israeli Embassy Blasts China for 'Conspiracy Theories' Tied to 'Anti-Semitism' After State-TV Broadcast

Israel's embassy in China has protested a Chinese TV broadcast, describing it as "blatant anti-Semitism" after it discussed the ongoing violence in Gaza.

On Tuesday, host Zheng Junfeng of overseas channel CGTN asked if the U.S.'s support for Israel was based on shared democratic values. He said, "Some people believe that U.S. pro-Israeli policy is traceable to the influence of wealthy Jews in the U.S. and the Jewish lobby on U.S. foreign policymakers."

In a tweet, the embassy wrote, "We have hoped that the times of the 'Jews controlling the world' conspiracy theories were over, unfortunately antisemitism has shown its ugly face again. We are appalled to see blatant antisemitism expressed in an official Chinese media outlet."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Israel Defense System Intercepts Rocket Fire
The Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system, left, intercepts rockets, right, fired by Hamas toward southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen in the sky above the Gaza Strip overnight on May 14. Anas Baba/Getty Images

"Jews dominate finance and internet sectors," Zheng said on CGTN, speaking in English. "So do they have the powerful lobbies some say? Possible."

Zheng then accused the U.S.—China's top geopolitical rival—of using Israel as a "beachhead" in the Middle East and a as proxy in its campaign to defeat pan-Arabism.

Spokesperson Erez Katz Volovelsky said Wednesday the embassy had nothing to add to its tweet and had so far received no reply from CGTN, which China Central Television (CCTV) operates for foreign audiences, similar to Russia's RT.

There was no immediate comment from CCTV, and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he was "not aware of the situation."

"China has repeatedly stated its position on the Palestine-Israel situation," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

China has long been a strong backer of the Palestinian cause and in recent days the Foreign Ministry has castigated the U.S. for blocking a statement in the United Nations Security Council condemning the violence.

Yet, since establishing formal diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, Beijing has nurtured close economic, technological and military ties, including the purchase of early model Israeli drones.

Judaism is not one of China's officially recognized religions and stereotypes about Jews as shrewd businesspeople and market manipulators are common among the Chinese public.

Israel Protests a CGTV Program
People ride bicycles past the China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters building in Beijing on May 19. Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press