World Journal/Zhaoyu He

Jewish community organizations came to Manhattan’s Chinatown to show support for local businesses. (World Journal/Zhaoyu He)

Read the original story in Chinese at World Journal
Translated by Rong Xiaoqing

Amid the fear triggered by the novel coronavirus epidemic that’s driven down business in Chinatown and ramped up discrimination and hate against Chinese immigrants, a delegation from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Community Relations Council came to Manhattan’s Chinatown for lunch on Feb. 16. They say the action meant to show their support for the Chinese community and businesses, and to calm down the anxious public and condemn discrimination against Chinese residents.

 The visit was coordinated by Fred Teng, President of America China Public Affairs Institute. Teng said his organization is close with the Jewish organizations, and he was approached by its members who wanted to offer a hand to the suffering Chinese community. “The Jewish community and the Chinese community have maintained a good relationship,” said Teng. “Many Jewish friends told me they want to show their support to the businesses in Chinatown that have been hit hard by the epidemic. So here they are.”

Teng said the discrimination against Chinese Americans amid the novel coronavirus epidemic that originated in China has gone too far. “People should be aware that even within China, only Hubei province and its capitol city Wuhan are stricken severely. And the prevalence and fatality rate elsewhere are very low,” said Teng. “Meanwhile, the ongoing influenza epidemic in the U.S. has caused more than 10,000 deaths. This is what people here should worry more about. The discrimiantion triggered by the coronavirus, to some extent, is racial discrimination. It should not have been formed.”

Michael Fromm, chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which has 125 chapters around the country, said the ordeal the Chinese community is going through reminds him of the pain the Jewish community has suffered.

“Jews have been the targets of discrimination through the history. And it took a long time for the Jewish immigrants to be accepted by American society,” said Fromm. “Chinese immigrants have achieved a lot in many fields. But with this coronavirus epidemic, many Chinese businesses were discriminated [against] unreasonably. We have sent out a letter to all our chapters to call for them to support their local Chinese businesses.”

Cheryl Fishbein, Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said the paranoia against the Chinese community is baseless especially given that there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in New York yet.

“As a Jewish person, I can feel the pressure and pain the Chinese community is going through. We want to show our support to the Chinese community by taking action today,” Fishbein said. “By dining here, we want to show that there is nothing to be afraid of in Chinatown and discrimination has no space here. With no confirmed case of coronavirus infection in New York, we should be worried more about the influenza epidemic.”