Vladimir Pozner on Jewish emigration from the USSR - How the most International people in the world became Nationalists

- Peter Myers, July 26, 2004; update November 28, 2022.

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Vladimir Pozner was billed, in 1990, as "the Soviet Union's leading commentator". His material here helps one understand, in retrospect, why the West has betrayed Russia since 1991, without remorse.

It all began after the 1967 Mid-Eastwar. On the one hand, detente opened the door slightly; on the other, the war had led Jews to increasingly side with Israel rather than the Soviet Union. As strongly Zionist Jews stepped up pressure for emigration, Russians reacted with hostility and discrimination. This swept non-Zionist Jews into the emigration movement as well.

Max Shpak's article The Fraud of Neoconservative "Anti-Communism" makes a good follow-up, explaining why the "Internationalists" have moved into the "Neo-Con" camp.

As the chauvinist Jews vacated the Communist domain, the non-chauvinist ones like Israel Shamir and Bobby Fischer have become isolated, and willing to liase with other Socialists who had opposed Communism because, in its early days, it had been Jewish-dominated.

The possibility of a rapproachement between Left and Right types of socialists has thus opened up.

(1) Vladimir Pozner on Jewish emigration from the USSR (2) The Fraud of Neoconservative "Anti-Communism", by Max Shpak (3) Pavel Sudoplatov on Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union (4) How the Six-Day War in June 1967 changed Jewish identity

(1) Vladimir Pozner on Jewish emigration from the USSR

Vladimir Pozner, Parting With Illusions (Grafton Books, London, 1990).

"The extraordinary life and controversial views of the Soviet Union's leading commentator" - front cover

{p. 2} My mother was French ...

{p. 3} My father's ancestors, Spanish Jews, had fled the Inquisition and wound up in the Polish city of Poznan. Centuries later, when that country found itself incorporated into the Russian Empire, one of the more enterprising Pozners must have come to the conclusion that in a country of centralized power and authority, the action was at the center, in the capital city of St. Petersburg. And so there he went. One of his no less enterprising, but certainly less principled, descendants ... converted from Judaism to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby bestowing upon that particular strain of Pozners the privileges of being Russian and, even more specifically, freeing them from the discrimination practiced against the Jews.

My father and his two sisters attended one of St. Petersburg's finest gymnasiums, never having to think about the 5 percent quota for Jews - just as their father had been able to enroll at and graduate from the Institute of Road Engineers, the doors of which were closed to Jews ... Somehow I feel that my paternal ancestors were glad to be relieved of their Jewishness. I know my father never expressed any sense of kinship with the Jewish community ... The Pozners were atheists ... but that did not stop them from dyeing eggs, baking kulich and making paskha on Russian Easter, or from enjoying geflite fish at the appropriate time. This readiness to celebrate religious feasts in form but not in content is, it seems to me, quite characteristic of the Russian intelligensia.

{p. 19} When I finished City and Country, at age twelve, I went to Stuyvesant High School. It was and still is considered one of the top academic schools in New York City.

... So I knew I wasn't American. But I also knew I wasn't Russian. How could I be Russian if I didn't speak a word of that language? I knew what I was: French. My mother was French, I was born in Paris, and that was it.

{p. 25} The feeling toward the Soviets was very positive, warm. One of the Soviet marshals during the war was a man by the name of Timoshenko, and the joke going around was that the guy was not really Russian, he was Irish, and his real name was Tim O'Shenko. In those days, everyone knew it was the Russians who were in a life-and-death struggle with Hitler and that it was the Red Army and the Russian people who broke the Nazi beast's back. That was openly acknowledged in those days by people like Roosevelt, Churchill, and many more. Today, that has all conveniently been forgotten. It's not even in the textbooks. It's a distortion of history as crude as many for which the Soviets have rightly been condemned. As a result, many, if not most, Americans don't know who actually won the war against fascist Germany. In saying that, it is certainly not my intention to denigrate in any way the American wartime effort, of lend-lease, or anything else. But when it comes to what country actually bore the brunt of the Nazi onslaught and dealt the Nazi war machine the most devastating blow, there is no question about it. And in those days the American people knew that, they appreciated that, and it showed in their attitude toward the Soviet Union.

And yet, it took little more than one year to turn that spirit completely around. By 1947, I was getting beaten up at Stuyvesant High for being pro-Soviet. That's how quickly and how radically it changed. There was a deep, but dormant, anticommunism in people, dating from the late twenties or the thirties, and once aroused, it came roaring back. It was, in the main, irrational, based on the Red scares of earlier times. Today, when you talk about the Palmer Raids, 99 percent of Americans don't have the foggiest notion about what you mean. That reservoir of fear from the twenties and thirties had a great deal to do with how quickly and easily they turned the situation around, "they" being people who had a vested interest in fanning the embers of anticommunism, those who wanted to assume the imperial mantle of the British Empire, to justify the projection of U.S. economic and military power around the globe. And it worked beautifully. Stalin played right into their hands. Some of his actions - from his concealing the extent of Soviet wartime devastation to his crude and brutal repression - made it oh so much easier to generate the image of the Red Menace.

Ironically, much of the international left-wing movement contributed

{p. 26} to this. After the war, the moral authority of the Soviet Union in general and of Joseph Stalin in particular was extremely high. The Soviets had won the war against Hitler, and Stalin, it would seem, had almost single-handedly overcome stupendous odds and destroyed the mightiest war machine the world had ever known. The truth about his blunders that cost millions of Soviet lives, such as his refusal to acknowledge the information sent to him by both Soviet agents and people like Winston Churchill informing him of the exact date of Plan Barbarossa, his refusal to put the Red Army on the alert, was as yet unknown. As was the scope of the terrible crimes committed under his leadership in the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1938. True, much of this was anything but secret; however, to left-wingers who had had to stand up to years of Red-baiting, who had been persecuted, to them the Soviet victory over Hitler was akin to a personal vindication and triumph. It meant that they had been right to stand firm in their belief and turn a deaf ear to anything that might contradict it. One of these people, among so many others, was my father. But he was not a member of the Communist party. As for the western communist parties, U.S., French, Italian, British, or whatever, they just followed the Soviet line, no matter what Stalin said or did. This certainly reinforced the global-conspiracy image generated in the United States.

By 1947, the anti-Soviet atmosphere was such that I began to feel uncomfortable, and I started to want to leave America. It was not so emotionally troubling to me because I felt I was not an American. This, in a way, was brought into sharp focus by my friendship with a Soviet boy of my age, Yura, the son of a Soviet diplomat working at the United Nations. In those days, Soviet diplomats stationed in the United States were paid very low salaries. Consequently, they rented apartments in the less attractive neighborhoods of New York and led austere lives. My father made a special effort to befriend as many of these people as possible and invited them regularly over to our home on Tenth Street, a place that, even by New York standards, was considered posh. That was how I met Yura. To me he stood for all the wonderful things I knew about the Soviet Union, the things my father had told me. I was completely infatuated with him. Through Yura, I was able to visit the Soviet school, where I could compare the respect the Soviet kids showed for their teachers with the "up yours" attitude of my Stuyvesant classmates. As the U.S.-Soviet relationship rapidly deteriorated, gangs of local American kids began to assemble in front of the Soviet school waiting for the kids to come out so they could beat them up. On two or three such occasions, I found myself fighting on

{p. 27} the Russian side, screaming every four-letter word I knew (a lot), seeing the expression of surprise in the eyes of the American kids ("What da fuck are you fighting on their side for?") change to one of disgust and hatred ("Fuckin' commie traitor"), this driving me crazy with a hatred of my on and alienating me even more. Yes, I was ready to leave America.

Life might have become even more difficult for me had we not left when we did, at the end of 1948. The worst was still to come for the United States. McCarthyism had not quite arrived, the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings were still something most Americans could not imagine. Of course, the FBI kept its watchful eye on us, and our phone was tapped. Nothing out of the ordinary, you understand.

My father was forced to leave his job. As he later told the story, his boss, who liked him very much and appreciated his expertise, informed him that he could no longer afford to employ a Soviet citizen. "Drop that Russian passport, apply for U.S. citizenship, and I'll double your salary. Otherwise, I can't keep you." My dad turned down $50,000 a year. He would have turned down $5 million. He didn't sell his principles - ever. For any amount of money. So he gave up his job. ...

We left the United States because we could no longer live there. My father had neither a job nor a future to look forward to; he was concerned

{p. 136} In 1988, I was invited to participate in a Ted Koppel special. In forty seconds, I was asked to explain why I do not support religion. Here is what I said (this is not a quote, but it's very close): "I do not support religion because it demands that we give up our most important human asset, the ability to question. It demands that we simply believe."

Isn't that true of any dictator, of any totalitarian society?

Insofar as social development is concerned, nothing is of greater importance than the human function of questioning. It is the prime expression of thought. Thought means to question. Whether you are looking for an answer, analyzing an event, thinking about a book you've read or a movie you've seen, examining your own relationship with your wife, your kids, the world around you, you are qestioning. There simply is no greater, no more important function of our minds. Questioning led to the development of civilization. The greater the abiliry to ask the most penetrating questions, the greater the intellect, a point illustrated by people like Einstein, Darwin, Hegel, and Marx.

It all comes down to one simple word: Why? Banish it from the human vocabulary and you will have succeeded in changing the human animal into an animal. I am thankful that no one has succeeded - nor will they ever. But a nation can be decapitated effectively and for generationS by the destruction of its intellectual elite. I agree with what Carlos Fuentes said to Bill Moyers: "In the name of certainty, the greatest crimes have been committed against humanity." Those who insisted they had all the

{p. 137} answers to all the questions that might ever be asked, those who said they had a lock on the truth, they are the ones who committed the most atrocious crimes. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin are just twentieth-century examples. Go back in time, look at all the kings, the emperors, the religious fanatics, look at the Crusades, look at the millions of human lives, the tens of thousands of cities, the civilizations destroyed over the ages because Some group or some person had ALL THE ANSWERS, or THE ANSWER. We must never accept anyone's word for anything - not if we hope to live happily ever after.

In that respect, Marxist theory must be scrutinized carefully, as must Lenin's ideas. The only constant thing, according to dialectics, is change. Nothing remains static for fear of dying. Dialectics, as a method of social analysis, demands constant questioning as the only possible means of evaluating complex and ever-changing relationships. As such, it is truly an intellectual doctrine and concept. Yet there is a profound contradiction between the openness and thought-provoking character of Marxist philosophy and its practical implementation. In virtually every case, this philosophy has led to the destruction of the intellectual community, the ending of all discussion, and the emergence of a so-called Marxist state that was in effect the antithesis of Marxist thought: the replacement of debate and questioning by one point of view.

This was true of the Soviet Union. It was true of China. It applies to virtually every country where a socialist revolution triumphed or where a socialist government was established by other means. From Cuba to the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, from Romania to Vietnam, from Albania to Mongolia, the rule applies. True, all of these countries started out as underdeveloped, backward countries, including Russia. Contrary to what Marx predicted, we have not seen a socialist revolution in any of the industrially developed countries. Why not? And if there were to be such a revolution in such a country, would we see the same pattern emerge? Is this shutting down of intellectual freedom an intrinsic, inevitable feature of socialism?

When a new social order is struggling for its very existence, when it is under attack from without and within, as was the case with Soviet Russia between 1918 and 1921, the situation is the equivalent of war. This is not the best venue for democratic debate, to say the least. Had Soviet society evolved in a less hostile international environment that supported internal hostility on the part of those who had lost power, it may well have taken a dramatically different course. Then again, it may not have.

{p. 138} Once Marxism has become the state philosophy, does it retain its central and truly unique element of consistent questioning? That is not a moot issue, especially keeping in mind that, historically, institutions do not encourage probing thought and critical analysis.

We know that Lenin made debate central to his concept of the Party. We also know, however, that he limited debate through what he called "democratic centralism." Democratic in that open debate was essential for the production of new ideas. Centralized in that once a vote had been taken, the debate was over and all members of the Party, whether they agreed or not, were duty-bound to support the majority opinion and act accordingly.

I joined the Party in 1967, at the age of thirty-three, unlike most Soviets, who almost automatically went the entire route from member of the Pioneer Organization (from age nine to about thirteen), to member of the Young Communist League, or Komsomol (from fourteen to twenty-eight), to member of the Party. Naturally, I was never a Pioneer. I joined the Komsomol in the winter of 1954-5, during my second year as a biology student. Two things stand out about that experience. My candidacy was discussed at a general meeting of all second-year biology students, about three hundred people - that was standard procedure. Anyone had the right to ask me whatever they wanted and hear me talk before deciding whether to vote yea or nay. At one point, a girl stood up and asked me, "Tell us, did you fight against capitalism when you lived in the United States?" Caught totally unaware, I thought she was joking. However, no one laughed, so I asked her what she had in mind. "Were you in the underground movement against capitalist exploitation?" she asked. At that point, I began to realize that any explanation was hopeless. She had been brought up to believe certain things about the United States, and no matter what I said, it was not going to change her mind. So I simply said that I had not been the member of any clandestine resistance movement. "Comrades," she said, "my father is the Soviet ambassador to the People's Republic of China, he knows such things very well, and he told me never to trust people who were brought up in the West, such as Pozner."

I have never forgotten that moment, even though the overwhelming majority of the students voted for me.

The second item has to do with the Biology Department's Komsomol Committee, the ruling body, a kind of local mini-Politburo at the Komsomol departmental level. Its members have to endorse the decision of the general meeting. They ask you a few questions, some of which can be very unexpected, such as, "What did Marx say at Engels's funeral?" Most

{p. 139} would-be Komsomolers break into a cold sweat because they cannot remember, or they stammer out some absurdity. Very few have the sangfroid to recall the simple fact that Marx died well before Engels and could, therefore, have said nothing at his funeral.

I was not asked anything so insidious. Had I recently read the papers? What international events of importance had occurred over the past week? Now it just so happened that during that week we had been in the process of moving into the new apartment my parents had finally been given. Because of that, I had had no time to read any newspapers whatsoever, a failure I candidly admitted. My statement produced shocked silence. Then one of the committee members cleared his throat and solemnly said, "We cannot endorse your application. A Komsomol belongs to the politically most active, most well-informed youth. We give you one week to catch up on your reading." With that I was dismissed. A few days later, I bumped into that same person. "What the hell is the matter with you?" he asked. "Couldn't you say you read the papers every day? Even if you didn't know much about current events, we would have let you off the hook. Who gives a shit about your moving and all that? Use your head!" Sure enough, a week later, after confirming that I had read the papers all week, I was accepted by the committee. The vote was unanimous. And I got my first inkling of what a formality being a Komsomol member really was - although I could hardly imagine what a laughing matter it would become.

Joining the Party was anything but a formality as far as I was concerned. On the one hand, there was so much about its leadership ( this was in 1967 - Khrushchev had been replaced by Brezhnev three years earlier) that I did not like, so much about Soviet society that I found oppressive and unacceptable. But, on the other hand, how was I to be an active participant how, if at all, could I influence things without joining the Party? It was a maddening puzzle.

{p. 156} All the different nationalities and ethnic groups that live in America came from somewhere else (with the exception of the native American), but the vast majority of those living in the Soviet Union (with the exception of a small number of Germans, Greeks, Koreans, Bulgarians, and a smattering of others) are indigenous. It is one thing to deal with racial, religious, and cultural prejudices in a country of newcomers, people who have torn up their roots and turned a new page, but quite a different matter to deal with these issues among people who have lived side by side for centuries, fought with one another, people whose cultural stereotypes are set in the cement of history. But even with that advantage, plus over two hundred years to realize it, has the oldest existing democracy on the face of the earth solved the problem and created a family-nation?

That is what the so-called melting pot was supposed to be about: the immigrant came to the United States, was thrown bodily into the melting pot, and came out ... American. That cozy bit of mythology became one of the tenets of the American way of life. It was put to bed for good by the civil-rights struggles of the sixties and replaced by the salad theory: the American nation isn't a homogeneous entity of the Homo amerianus species, it's a fruit salad, a cocktail, a wonderful mix of ingredients, each one complementing the other. It is an attractive picture much more so than the reality it supposedly portrays. ...

{p. 157} The Soviet Union has had about seventy years to deal with the nationalities problem - roughly one-third as much time as the United States. But the roots go back to Russia's early history.

As the grand dukes of Muscovy gradually subjugated the other principalities of Russia, as Moscow took the lead in throwing off the Tartar yoke, the Russian state was born. It came together under its first czar, Ivan IV (the Terrible) in the mid-sixteenth century and began to grow, incorporating other nations into what became the Russian Empire. Typically, the Russian Empire competed with others, spreading its influence and presence in virtually all directions. Smaller nations faced with the unhappy choice of being engulfed by larger ones often turned to Russia for what they hoped would be a better deal. Georgia and Armenia, for example, as Christian countries, felt far less threatened by Russia than by the Ottoman Empire. Christian Orthodox Ukraine saw her independence threatened by the Muslim Crimean Tartars to her south and, more immediately, by Catholic Poland to her west. The decision to join Russia in 1648 was, first and foremost, an act of self-preservation. But such choice between the lesser of two evils was not always the case. As Russia became a major military power under Peter the Great, it expanded south and north as well as west, engulfing ethnic groups that had never wanted to be under the Russian two-headed eagle. That process continued throughout the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth centuries.

Like all empires, Russia exploited her subject nations both politically and spiritually. While the local nobility was allowed to exercise power, real authority was concentrated in the hands of the Russian viceroy. Also, since Russian Orthodoxy was the official state religion, one had to be a member of that church to qualify as Russian. The consequences of being a non-Russian were officially sanctioned discrimination in education, in holding office, in job opportunities, and so on. The dominant view was succinctly formulated by professor N. M. Korshunov in 1910: "Regaress of the scope of any subservient area's autonomy, the legislative power of the Russian monarch is superior to that autonomy, and that is what guarantees the sufficient predominance of Russian interests over any and all local, particular aspirations."

This view eventually led to a situation where the ethnic minorities of the Russian Empire, especially those living east of the Urals, in the far north, and in central Asia, found their cultures, their sense of national

{p. 158} identity (no matter how limited) and their way of life being destroyed.

{p. 171} The third wave of emigration came as the result of detente ... But emigration policies were based on the concept of homeland ... most importantly in this case, there were the Jews. They were the focal figure in this third wave of emigration, both in numbers and in their visibility. As they began to depart, a new equation took hold: emigrant=traitor=Jew.

The reaction to Jewish emigration was extremely emotional. It focused all the anti-Semitic prejudices and created a hostile atmosphere that convinced many Soviet Jews to emigrate who had never entertained the thought of leaving the country and finalized the decision of those who had been undecided. But as the flow of Jewish emigration increased in the early and mid-seventies {a consequence of the 67 Mideast war, in which they sided with Israel against the USSR? - Peter M}, the hostile atmosphere turned into concrete expression. Universities closed their doors to Jewish applicants, regardless

{p. 172} of their qualifications. Job opportunities became more and more limited. Anti-Semites who had previously refrained from openly practicing their prejudice now had a field day.

I witnessed this at my place of work, Gosteleradio (the USSR State Committee for Television and Radio), where the chairman of the board instructed the personnel department not to hire Jews. When the Gosteleradio Symphony Orchestra came up for review - like most symphony orchestras around the world, it had a disproportionately high number of Jewish musicians - the chairman personally crossed out the names of virtually all the Jews. Others, working in the many departments of television and radio, found themselves under pressure to leave.

When I write "I witnessed," I am not being precise. The head of personnel (whom I knew) never told me in as many words about having been instructed not to hire Jews. Nor did I see the chairman crossing out names. But this was information that became known, not just rumors. Those of us who heard about it did not doubt its truth. But we did not verify it. Why? I can only speak for myself, but had I been provided with factual, visible evidence, I would have had to react. ...

Perhaps this is the time to state unequivocally that the official United States position concerning Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union had little, if anything, to do with concern for human rights, passionate statements to the contrary notwithstanding. When in the late seventies the gates of emigration from the Soviet Union began to close, it affected not only the Jews, but the Germans, the Greeks, and others as well. Had the

{p. 173} United States really cared about the plight of those whose rights to travel had been abrogated, it would have protested no less vehemently about those other ethnic minorities. Or, for that matter, about the Russians and all the others who have never qualified for emigration because they didn't have roots elsewhere, a diaspora, or a newly founded homeland. The American Jewish community never lifted a finger or its voice in support of any group except Soviet Jewry. The American press never brought anything but that subject to the attention of its readers. The American government never made a case for any other nationality or religious community. The U.S. Congress passed the Jackson-Vanick Act only with the understanding that a refusenik was a Soviet Jew who had been refused the right to emigrate.

I remember being invited to meet with a group of extremely influential Jewish leaders from the United States who had come to the Soviet Union to speak to government and party officials. The thrust of their message was that if the Soviet Union did not change its Jewish emigration policy, they would see to it that the Soviet government would regret the consequences. When I expressed my feeling that such pressure could only worsen the situation, that no country would stand for any kind of blackmail, that, personally, I was appalled by their lack of compassion for non-Jewish Soviets whose chances to emigrate were nil, I was made to understand they did not give a tinker's damn about them.

{p. 177} One evening, in 1956, when I was living with Iosif and Nina Gordon, I received a phone call from a man who said he had just arrived from Berlin and had brought me a letter and a parcel from my father. Could I come by and pick up the stuff at five on the following day? ...

After climbing two flights of stairs (there was no elevator) and walking down what seemed like endless winding corridors, I found the room I was looking for and knocked. "Come in," called a voice. I opened the door and stepped inside, where two men were sitting at a table. One valked toward me, shook my hand, then dropped it and locked the door behind me. The second man stood up as I approached, whipped a red leather ID wallet out of his breast pocket, stuck it in my face, and said, "KGB. Sit down."

What followed had a nightmarish quality. On the one hand, it was like a B-movie about the KGB. On the other hand, it could not be happening precisely because I knew that B-movies were never true to life. On the third hand (which is impossible, but not for a nightmare), this was for real.

For four hours they questioned me about my life. Every time I forgot or omitted a detail, they supplied it. They knew more about me than I did. It gradually dawned upon me that I had been watched since the first day we arrived, that people I had become friends with had reported every-

{p. 178} thing I had ever said, everything I had done, including very private and personal affairs.

{p. 179} In 1963 or 1964, he called me for what turned out to be our last meeting. This time he was not alone. There was another man, a person he clearly deferred to. The conversation, throughout which Nikolai Antonovich never said a word, was short and to the point.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich, would you consider taking a vacation abroad? For instance, to an international resort like Varna in Bulgaria. You would go under a different name with a Swiss passport. Of course we will provide you with the necessary training. What do you say?"

For an instant, I wasn't sure I had understood him correctly, but almost simultaneously I knew that I had. They were recruiting me, and the enormity of what they were asking me to do led me to lose my cool for the first time ever when dealing with those people.

{p. 180} In a strange way, the discussion concerning my attempts to come to terms with my being, or not being, Jewish led me into the story of my dealings with the KGB. Therefore, I take this opportunity to conclude both issues.

Just as all Arabs are not Egyptians, or Algerians, or Syrians, neither are all Jews Israelis. To be Jewish, as I see it, is the same thing as being French, or Russian, or Norwegian, a matter of what is unscientifically referred to as "blood." Yes, I am partly Jewish. And French. And German. And probably a great many other things, as are most people. As differing from citizenship, it is something neither to take pride in nor be ashamed of. But far more importantly, one is what one feels. Most people have no trouble determining that. My case is more complicated. As far as I know, I have neither Russian nor American blood. Yet I feel Russian (up to a point) and I feel American (but not completely) more than any other nationality. I feel French - sometimes. But I have never felt Jewish (I do not speak Yiddish or Hebrew, have had no contact with Jewish culture, and am not a religious person) except when I have encountered anti-Semitism.

{p. 181} I broke into journalism at the height of de-Stalinization, during the Thaw. The area was new to me, a kind of terra incognita for me to conquer. I had, until then, not given much thought to what the function of journalism was, to the relationship between freedom of the press and responsibility to the reader. I was naive enough to believe that a journalist could write anything and have it printed, provided he had integrity and honesty. I embarked on my journalistic career with gusto, focusing on subjects that, by their very nature, protected me from facing any of the "to be or not to be" questions of journalism.

{p. 189} I recall an article on the subject of inflation in the Soviet Union written for U.S. News and World Report. The topic was inspired by the high rate of inflation in the United States (this kind of thinking has been typical for both U.S. and Soviet media and is based on the view that if we show that they have the same problem as we do, somehow that makes ours less of a problem). In this particular case, the story featured a price index for a number of goods and services pertaining to two different years - I don't remember which two periods were compared (which is irrelevant anyway), but let's say it was 1978 and 1980. All prices were given in U.S. dollars and cents. Thus, the metro fare for 1978 was indicated as five cents. For 1980 it was six cents - an increase of twenty percent. That same increase, or even more, was apparent for all the other items as well - a loaf of bread, a pound of butter, a car, and so on. At face value, inflation in the Soviet Union was a walloping 10 percent annually. What the reader didn't realize was that Soviet citizens didn't pay for goods or services in dollars and cents; that they paid in roubles and kopecks; that in Soviet eurreney, metro fare, the price of a pound of butter, of meat, etc., was exactly the same in 1980 as in 1978. What had changed was the official exhange rate of the dollar vis-a-vis the rouble. The dollar had gone down. Hence it was worth less in 1980, in Soviet currency, than in 1978. Objective reporting.

For decades, Americans didn't get any positive stories from their reporters in the Soviet Union. I have met only one U.S. correspondent, whose name I will omit (I don't reveal my sources), who had the honesty to admit, albeit in a very private conversation, "Sure, I know there are positive things to write about. But I know what the editor wants. Look, we are judged by how often we get on television or on page one. And we know what it takes to make that happen. The dissident story, the refusenik story, alcoholism, drugs, corruption. We get good vibes or bad vibes, and we act accordingly. And so do you."

{p. 209} But there was another factor in this equation, a factor far more powerful and yet far less tangible than anything Khrushchev could have said or done. It was, I believe, that he was too of a mzhik - that is, too much of a peasant. He did not have anything like the intellect or the erudition of Lenin, nor did he have the dignified bearing of Stalin. He did not stand out; he was too common. Because of that, the majority of the people had no respect for him. ...

But for all of his shortcomings, Khrushchev had a few feathers in his green fedora. He had de-Stalinized the country. He had nipped Beria's attempt to seize power in the bud. He had unleashed the great potential of his country's genius, which had burst out in the form of Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin and the TU-104. He had demonstrated compassion for the

{p. 210} downtrodden of the gulag, he had personally intervened to have Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in Novy Mir magazine. He had chased away the clouds and brought in the sun that gave us the Thaw. Might not his ouster bring the cold back?

Those were just some of the questions that were being asked and discussed in October 1964.

It is sobering to look back on those times and to recall that no one predicted Khrushchev's downfall. No one had the foresight, the understanding to realize beyond an iota of doubt that Khrushchev had to go, that there was no way he could remain. It was either him or the apparatus. The two were incompatible, and in those days no one could destroy the apparatus, not even Stalin, the man who created it.

Stalin needed a machine of subservient men and women who had voluntarily sacrificed their right to think in exchange for a belief in something called communism. Most of these people knew as much about communism, as a philosophy and a theory, as Christian fundamentalists know about Christianity. They beleved in this idea and, especially; in its high priest. The party apparatus was faceless and emotionless, capable of registering even the smallest blip of individuality and dissent with the sensitivity of a super-radar installation.

Stalin, the evil genius, created this Frankenstein's monster. It was utterly predictable, completely under his command. The machine ran on fear, the most perfect of all energy sources, the source that fuels itself. I think Stalin, that genius of evil, realized that the only way to keep the fuel from burning out was to keep changing the machine's parts. But what he could not foresee was that even mass-produced, identical spare parts are not limitless and that a machine created to search out and destroy whatever does not fit would one day turn on its creator. Stalin most definitely did not fit. As such, the apparatus had to see him as a threat to its existence. It would have destroyed Stalin and, considering how little is known about the details of his death, it is not totally absurd to consider that as more than a theoretical possibility.

Khrushchev didn't fit, either. What's more, he didn't inspire fear. Far from being the machine's creator, he was one of the parts shaped by the machine - or rather misshaped. Thus, the apparatus rejected him and selected its own ideal creation to replace him. That creation was Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.

{p. 223} It is my belief that the power-behind-the-power in the capitalist world, such as the members of the Trilateral Commission, cannot afford to admit the existence of human socialism, for it pulls the rug out from under them, it brings their entire ideological structure tumbling down around their ears. In a way, their refusal to even harbor the thought of human socialism is as dogmatic as the most dogmatic Marxism. ...

But I was not prepared to act that way in the summer of 1968. The dilemma was too much for me, just as it was and has been for countless people who supported the Bolshevik revolution, supported the ideas and ideals of socialism and the ultimate goal of creating a communist society, who supported the Soviet Union, and who, because of those reasons, could not and cannot bring themselves to admit any faults with that country.

{p. 272} I remember Mark Taimanov, an International Grand Master and, at one time, a contender for the world chess crown, talking about losing his match with Bobby Fischer by the implausible score of six to zero. For those of you whose knowledge of chess is limited, I should make it clear that Grand Masters never lose matches by a score of whatever to nothing, especially considering that a draw counts for half a point and more games are drawn during a match than are won or lost. So when Taimanov fell to Fischer six-zip, it was a sensation that rocked the chess world. It was, in fact, such an unbelievable affront that the Soviet Chess Federation stripped Taimanov of his title as Grand Master of the USSR. Later, when several other Grand Masters were blitzed by Fischer, the Soviet Chess Federation realized its mistake, but refused to acknowledge it. To this day, Mark Taimanov retains the rank of International Grand Master but has not had his Soviet ranking restored.

Describing his famous defeat at the hands of the future world champion, Taimanov said, "When Grand Masters play, they see the logic of their opponent's moves. One's moves may be so powerful that the other may not be able to stop him, but the plan behind the moves will be clear. Not so with Fischer. His moves did not make sense - at least to all the rest of us they didn't. We were playing chess, Fischer was playing something else, call it what you will. Naturally, there would come a time when we finally would understand what those moves had been about. But by then it was too late. We were dead."

Gorbachev is that kind of a political player. No one understands his moves. Not until it is too late. And that is why, in my opinion, he was able to rise through the echelons of power, through the Young Communist League, through the party ranks, up and up, all the way to the Politburo, and even be elected to the post of general secretary. If anyone had been able to read his mind before that, Gorbachev would be dead.

That statement hardly answers the question skeptics have kept asking: "If Gorbachev was and is determined to push through radical reforms, how come he was appointed to the Politburo at the height of Brezhnev's rule?"

There is still no conclusive answer to that question or to the others that flow from it. Still, certain things are clear.

Contrary to western thinking, a reformist element had existed in the Soviet Communist party ever since the Khrushchev years and probably before. Certainly, it was fragmented and its influence hard to see. But it was there, composed of people who profoundly believed in socialism's potential, people who had decided to work for change from within. Their decision had mixed results. By observing party discipline, by not talking out of school, they greatly limited their visibility; in many ways, they seemed ineffective - nothing appeared to change. Still, they achieved some results in stimulating local economic experiments, in sustaining at least some measure of political dialogue within the Party, but most critically, they remained in positions of potential influence.

It is one of the striking ironies of Soviet history that, during the Brezhnev years, there were two groups pushing for radical reform: the hidden, reformist communists and the very visible, vocal dissidents. If one had claimed at that time that there was significant common ground between them, people would have said he was crazy, and both groups would have agreed. I feel that even today many, if not most, would ridicule the idea. Yet I maintain that it is true. Certainly, a faction of the dissidents were completely anti-socialist. Solzhenitsyn, for example, believes socialism and communism to be unmitigated evils and has always advocated the restoration of a theocratic, Russian-nationalist authoritarian state. But others, like Sakharov, were seriously advocating human rights and calling for an end to the abuses of our own constitution.

In my opinion, it fulfilled the needs and desires of cold warriors, East and West, to lump all dissidents together as being anti-Soviet. The West lionized them as heroes in the anticommunist battle for freedom. Moscow attacked them all as traitors who were selling their country to the imperialists for a paltry thirty pieces of silver.

Watching all this were the reformist communists, Mikhail Gorbachev among them. During most of the Brezhnev years, he and almost all those now closest to him had extensive experience away from Mosow. Although they too enjoyed the special privileges of the party elite in the form of special stores and hospitals, limos and dachas, these people saw firsthand the hard realities and spiraling problems of Soviet life. By the mid-seventies, economic problems were apparent even to the Moscow hierarchy, and some experimentation in industry and agriculture was authorized. The reform-minded party types had ample opportunity to ponder the results - to see the connection between local control, profit sharing, worker participation, initiative, and high morale on the one hand and bureaucracy apathy, and corruption on the other. These were good,

{p. 274} honest men and women who traced the chain of cause and effect back to the source, who came to understand that a healthy, vigorous economy is the product of physically and spiritually healthy human beings.

{p. 275} When King John was forced to issue the Magna Carta in 1215, a document that is one of the roots of American democracy, Russia was being overrun by the Tartars - not the most democratically inclined people in the world - and she remained under that yoke for three centuries. By the time Russia finally won her independence, she found herself a backward country. She had experienced no renaissance, no flowering of the arts, no development of the artisan and the merchant. Politically, culturally, and economically, Russia was already retarded. One of the ways by which her rulers attempted to achieve economic parity was through the introduction of serfdom - no, they did not import slaves like some countries did, they turned their own people into slaves - another great act of democracy. By the end of the fifteenth century, serfdom had become legal at the state level. It was abolished only some three hundred years later, in 1861. Three hundred years of Tartar rule, plus three hundred years of serfdom and czarist autocracy. Could this not but affect the national psyche?

But even after 1861, czarist rule continued. And while certain elements of bourgeois democracy began to creep into the social fabric, they were hardly of a scope to radically change outlooks. After the Romanovs were finally overthrown in February 1917 and before the Bolsheviks came to power in November of that same year, democracy had its first chance - but a chance badly hindered by World War I, which had sent millions of Russian peasants as cannon fodder to the front lines, millions who wanted out. {end}

(2) The Fraud of Neoconservative "Anti-Communism", by Max Shpak

[Original Dissent]

The Fraud of Neoconservative "Anti-Communism"

by Max Shpak

May 15, 2002

No longer at http://www.originaldissent.com/shpak051502.html

but is at http://thattimehascome.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/fraud-of-neoconservative-anti-communism.html

.. It is a well-established fact that many of the early luminaries of neoconservatism (most famously Irving Kristol in the 1940's, a more recent famous example being David Horowitz) came from Marxist backgrounds, and that neoconservatism (like Marxism itself) began and continues to be a largely a phenomenon of Jewish intellectualism. In the early part of the 20th century, Marxism attracted a disproportionate pool of Jewish recruits for a number of obvious reasons. There are a number of complex psychological and social reasons for the attraction, all of which largely stem from the fact that Marxist internationalism is an ideology which by its very nature finds disciples among a rootless, anti-religious urban intelligentsia.

More important for the purposes of this analysis, however, are the practical reasons for Jewish sympathy with Bolshevism. European and American Jews alike carried deep-seated hatreds for the traditional regimes and religions of the European continent, particularly Czarist Russia and various Eastern European nations due to (real and imagined) "persecution" and "pogroms" that occurred there. Thus, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar, destroyed the hated Orthodox Church, rendered powerless the landed religious peasantry, and replaced traditional Russian authority with a largely Jewish Commissariate, world Jewry (including alleged "capitalists" like the Schiffs and Rothschilds) embraced the Revolution and Marxist ideology alike.

With Russia becoming an effective Jewish colony where "anti-Semitism" was an offense punishable by death and the native gentile culture was effectively stamped out (thanks to a leadership consisting mainly of Jews such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Severdlov, held together under the stewardship of the obsequious philosemite Lenin), Jews throughout the world put their hopes in the possibility of similar revolutions elsewhere. Indeed, their comrades in arms were hard at work affecting similar changes in Hungary (Kuhn), Austria (Adler) and Germany (Eisner). The rise of Fascist and Nazi movements only served to further polarize Jewish support in favor of international communism.

This near unanimity would change as a result of two developments: a shift in the character of Soviet Communism on the one hand and the foundation of the State of Israel on the other. Stalin's purges of many of his former Bolshevik colleagues (including Trotsky, who was assassinated while in exile), his 1939 pact with Hitler, and rumors of Stalin's own anti-Jewish prejudices gave many would-be supporters pause. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, it became clear the Russian masses would not fight for the sake of Bolshevism, an ideology that brought them so much misery, but rather for the sake of Russian blood and soil. From then on, the Soviet leadership had to court the very Russian nationalist elements that the early Bolsheviks had worked so hard to stamp out. This lead to an increasing tolerance towards the Russian Orthodox Church and a decreased Jewish presence in the Soviet politburo and KGB. Thus, the USSR was "betraying" the very elements that made it attractive to the Jewish establishment to begin with.

Perhaps even more significant a factor in the origins of neoconservatism was the emergence of an independent Israeli state. While many Jewish Marxists eagerly supported the Zionist state, the more intellectually consistent Left opposed Zionism on the grounds that all nationalisms, including Jewish ones, are enemies of global proletarian revolution. Thus, Jewish leftists who once advocated internationalism for gentile nations were forced to come to terms with the implications of this ideology for their own nationalist sentiments. Thus, they needed an ideology which would let them have their cake (opposing gentile nationalism) and eat it too (by supporting Israel), and they found just such a worldview with neoconservatism.

At the same time, although the Soviet Union initially courted Israel during the 1948 wars of independence, it became clear to the Israeli government that in world polarized between the United States and the Soviet Union the former would be wealthier and more pliant cash cow to milk. By the 1950's and the coming of the Suez Wars, regardless of residual Jewish loyalties to Communism, the battle lines were already drawn, with Israel in the US/Western camp and the Arab nations forced to make alliances of convenience with the Soviet Union.

It is hardly a coincidence that the changing character of Soviet Communism and the status of Israel as a US ally came at the same time that neoconservatism was becoming an influential political movement. For all of their talk about "capitalism," "democracy," "freedom," and "free markets," the fact that so many Jewish leftists turned on a dime to back the US in the Cold War because America could serve as a life support system for Israel and a bulwark against resurgent Russian "anti-Semitism" makes their real agenda entirely transparent. One can witness an identical phenomenon taking place today, as many Jewish liberal Democrats switch party ranks and join the GOP because of the latter's stronger support for Israel and harder line with the Arab nations. All of the window dressing about their newfound "patriotism" and "Americanism" is a sham designed to mask the fact that the question for the neocons has always been and will always be "is it good for the Jews?"

The different agendas driving neocon Cold Warriors as opposed to their erstwhile Old Right allies could be seen on any number of fronts. The most obvious one has been the different reactions in the two camps to Russia after the end of the Cold War. While paleoconservative leaning Cold Warriors such as Pat Buchanan have pushed for normalized relations with Russia, the neocons continue to fight on the Cold War, enthusiastically supporting Chechen separatists as "freedom fighters" and advocating NATO expansion. The reasons for this difference are entirely obvious: the Old Right's enemy was Communist ideology, while neoconservative Jews nurtured a hatred for Russian nationalism. Thus post-Communist Russia is still very much a threat to the latter, particularly with resurgent Russian "ultra-nationalism" and "anti-Semitism," while in the absence of Communist rule the above are of little concern to the Old Right.

For all their talk about "anti-Communism," the real engine driving neocon Cold Warrior instincts was punishing the hated Russian goyim for the sin of "anti-Semitism," not any opposition to residual or latent Marxism. As further evidence that this is the case, one need only consider the fact that while the Old Right championed Christian dissidents such as Solzhenitsyn, to the neocons the only legimate "dissidents" were Zionists like Natan Sharansky, just as the only "refugees" championed by the neos were invariably Jewish (including today's shady Odessa Mafiosi). Solzhenitsyn represented the Russian nationalism and Orthodox Church that made so many of the neocons' predecessors embrace Bolshevism, thus Solzhenitsyn and the plight of Christian dissidents were relegated to obscurity in neocon publications, while Zionist noise-makers in the USSR were given a hero's welcome.

In this regard, the neocons are the true heirs to Leon Trotsky, who condemned Stalin and his followers not so much for their brutality (as commander of the Red Army and overseer of Lenin's terrorist CHEKA, Trotsky was no stranger to brutality and sadism) but for their "anti-Semitism" and "betrayal of the Revolution." Trotsky's main critique of Stalinism seemed to be that Stalin was moving Russia in a nationalist direction rather than working towards the establishment of an international "proletarian" vanguard. The fact that the intellectual ancestors of neoconservatism had not an unkind word to say about Bolshevism while Leninist-Trotskyite goals were being fulfilled suggests that it was not so much ideological reconsideration as tribal self-interest that drove these most unlikely conversos. ...

May 15, 2002

Contact the author. [burbot65@hotmail.com] Copyright © 2002. OriginalDissent.com All rights reserved.


(3) Pavel Sudoplatov on Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union

SPECIAL TASKS: THE MEMOIRS OF AN UNWANTED WITNESS - A SOVIET SPYMASTER, by Pavel Sudoplatov and Anatoli Sudoplatov, with Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter, Foreword by Robert Conquest (LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY, London, 1994).

{p. 4} During World War II, more than ninety percent of the lonely soldiers spread throughout Western Europe who sent us crucial information that enabled us to beat back the German invasion were Jews whose hatred of Hitler spurred them to risk their lives and families. Yet when the Western tide of sentiment turned against the Soviet Union after World War II and our own internal conflicts within the leadership weakened us, we turned against the Jews who had served us loyally.

{p. 5} My wife, Emma, a lieutenant colonel in the KGB, who was a Jew, had served proudly. She retired in 1949, just in time to avoid the new purge of Jews from the security forces that was a result not of any disloyalty, but merely of their identification as Jews in intelligence work.

{p. 285; Chapter 10} THE JEWS: CAllFORNlA IN THE CRIMEA

From where I sat on the seventh floor of Lubyanka, many sensitive issues crossed my desk demanding action. Perhaps the most politically charged were those dealing with the Jewish question. Not only was my wife Jewish, but many of my most trusted colleagues were of Jewish origin, including my deputy, Leonid Eitingon. He was among the principal figures accused in the 1952-1953 Doctors' Plot and the so-called Zionist conspiracy. Contrary to widespread reports that anti-Semitism was Stalin's main reason for the persecution of Jews, I regard anti-Semitism as Stalin's weapon but not his determining strategy.

In 1944 and the first half of 1945, Stalin's strategic motivation was to use the Jewish issue as a bargaining chip to bring in international Jewish capital to rebuild the war-torn Soviet Union and to influence the postwar realignment of power in the Middle East. Stalin planned to use Jewish aspirations for a homeland to attract Western credits.

Intentions to form a Jewish republic really existed, based on a letter addressed to Stalin from the Jewish Antifascist Committee. The letter, which was to prove a fateful milestone in Jewish life in the Soviet Union, was written by Solomon Mikhoels, a beloved actor of the Yiddish State

{p. 286} Art Theater and a leading member of the committee; Shakhne Epshtein, the executive secretary of the committee; and Itzik Feffer, a popular poet and a member of the committee who accompanied Mikhoels on a speaking tour of the United States from June to December 1943. ...

{p. 287} Coordination and execution of Stalin's plans to lure foreign Jewish capital was entrusted to Kheifetz, who orchestrated Mikhoels's trip to America in 1943, while Kheifetz was serving as vice consul in San Francisco. At the time, we were trying desperately to obtain as much aid as possible from America. Before his departure to the United States, Mikhoels was summoned to Beria's office in the Lubyanka and instructed to establish broad contacts in the American Jewish community. Our plan was for him to lay the groundwork for American investment in the metal and coal mining industries in the Soviet Union. It was rumored that Mikhoels might be offered the post of chairman of the Supreme Soviet in the proposed new Jewish republic. Apart from Molotov, Lozovsky, and other high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikhoels was the only one aware of Stalin's plans to establish another puppet state in Palestine or the Crimea. Stalin hoped to receive $10 billion in credits for the restoration of the economy after the war.

I did not know the detailed contents of the Jewish Antifascist Committee letter to Stalin. I was informed by Beria that the initiative came from the American side, from American Jewish organizations. I regarded the discussions about an autonomous Jewish republic within the Soviet Union as a probe of Western intentions to give us substantial economic aid after the war. The letter remained in the file for four years, its contents the subject of rumors. Then, in 1948, Malenkov used it as a weapon in Stalin's purge of the Jewish Antifascist Committee and later the old guard in the leadership. Molotov, Mikoyan, Voroshilov, Voznesensky, and finally Beria - because of their Jewish relatives or ...

{p. 288} their involvement in the discussions of a separate autonomous Jewish republic in the Crimea - were tainted with what had become an outrageous affront to Stalin's control.4

In the early 1920s, when the Bolshevik regime was first establishing itself, there was a preponderance of Jewish names in administrative positions at all levels because they had the education to fill these jobs. At this time there were no internal passports in Russia, so people were not officially identified as Jews or other nationalities. In 1922 and 1923 there was a rapid roundup of the leaders of all Jewish and other nationalist underground groups. The Police of Zion organization (Politzi Tzion) was extremely active, for example, and outmaneuvered GPU surveillance teams in Odessa; the Zionists led the secret service officers to a remote cemetery and then turned on them and beat them. Haganah had its origins in Zhitomir in the Ukraine, but the irony is that the Jews who worked in the Ukrainian GPU were put in charge of the operations against the Zionist underground groups. The crackdown included the Jewish Bund, a socialist organization that was a member of the Socialist International.

The Jewish Communist party, a splinter group from the Jewish Bund, was also dissolved. This was the Bolshevik policy, to eliminate any political national splinter group in or out of the Communist party. The separatist Ukrainian Communist party was also dissolved. The Communist Party of the Ukraine (Bolsheviks) was the established and approved political party. It was the only party with its own politburo. The Jewish leadership was either exiled or permitted to emigrate. Before 1928, there was no barrier to emigrating; the procedure for leaving the country was simpler than now. The effect of the loss of these leaders was that Jews no longer had any political organizations and lost their Jewish identity. The Jewish intelligentsia lost its political roots. In 1933 the internal passport system was introduced, and Jews were identified as a national group, even though they had no republic to be their homeland. In every major ministry at this time, Jews held top positions. I scarcely remember the directive of the Central Committee in 1939, after the Great Purge, to look into how many people of any one nation-

4. Molotov and Voroshilov had Jewish wives. Mikoyan and Voznesensky were involved in the discussions of establishing a Jewish homeland in the Crimea. Beria was instrumental in the establishment of the Jewish Antifascist Committee during the war and arranged for Mikhoels's trip to America in 1943.

{p. 289} ality were occupying key positions in sensitive ministries, but it was more potent than I perceived it to be. For the first time, an effective quota system came into being. Fortunately, most of my comrades-in-arms {Jewish?}, men and women who became distinguished fighters, agents, and officers during the war, were already in place and were not affected by this directive. ...

{p. 293} It was in the second half of 1946, when Stalin had become disenchanted with Jewish alliances abroad and Jewish demands at home and was feeling isolated by the British-American joint stand in Palestine, that he began to stimulate an anti-Semitic campaign, which culminated in a purge of Jews from the party machinery, diplomatic service, military

{could the Baruch-Lilienthal Plan for World Government have been a factor? The Lilienthal report of March 16, 1946, updated as the Baruch Plan of June 14, 1946, were put to Stalin, on behalf of the American Government; both authors were Jewish: baruch-plan.html}

{p. 294} apparatus, and intelligence services. It developed into the infamous Doctors' Plot and Zionist conspiracy charges, in which every Jewish doctor was suspect. The anti-Semitic campaign was a repeat of the purges of the 1930s, another maneuver by Stalin to sweep out all established power centers in the bureaucracy in order to replace them with weaker men and women who would not threaten his supreme hold on the country's leadership.

In October 1946, for the first time, the specter of Jewish bourgeois nationalism as a threat to Communist ideology was raised, in a letter from Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov, newly appointed minister of state security, to Stalin. In the letter he accused leaders of the Jewish Antifascist Committee of engaging in nationalist propaganda, meaning they were putting Jewish concerns above Soviet interests. This was a heavy warning sign. Kheifetz, who had performed so brilliantly in obtaining atomic information for us and establishing high-level contacts in the American Jewish community, was suddenly out of favor. He continued to serve the Jewish Antifascist Committee as its secretary for foreign affairs, but he was forced to sever its contacts with the American Jewish community. ...

{p. 295} Mikhoels had tried to intervene on behalf of the Jews, acting as the head of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Abakumov's letter of complaint was meant to show that efforts to protect the rights of Jews to resettle in their former homes were a sign of Jewish bourgeois nationalism; it reflected the annoyance of party officials who were overwhelmed with problems of resettlement. Mikhoels's actions on behalf of displaced Jews not only annoyed Stalin, they made him deeply suspicious of Mikhoels. Imagine, in the Soviet system of discipline, suddenly a man with international reputation and authority begins to act on his own initiative. Mikhoels was doomed.

The situation deteriorated in 1947. I remember the oral instruction from A. Obruchnikov, the deputy minister of state security in charge of personnel, not to enlist Jews as officers in the organs of state security. I could not imagine that this direct anti-Semitic order came from Stalin. I thought it must be Abakumov's initiative. It became clear to me that the grand plan of using our Jewish intellectuals for international cooperation with the world Jewish community had been abandoned. Eitingon, who kept complaining about an anti-Semitic campaign against his relatives in the university and medical services, was convinced that anti-Semitism was an essential element of the government's policy. In hindsight I realize that he understood the situation better than I did.

Beria and Kobulov frequently told me that Stalin enjoyed anti-Muslim and anti-Azerbaijani jokes and anecdotes told to him in the presence of Bagirov, the first secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist party, who was disheartened by Kobulov's imitation of Azerbaijani pronunciation of Russian words. This makes me believe that humor directed at any nationalist group was pleasing to Stalin, and that he was neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Muslim, only opposed to any nationalist enclave of power.

Stalin and his close aides were interested in the Jewish issue mainly to exploit it politically, either for use in a power struggle or for consolidating their power. That's how the flirtation with anti-Semitism started in high party echelons. After Stalin opened an "anticosmopolitan" drive in 1946 and 1947, middle-level personnel and rank-and-file party bureaucracy took anti-Semitism for granted as the official party line. "Rootless cosmopolitans" became synonymous with Jews; it meant that Soviets of Jewish origin shared cultural values with Western Jews and therefore were less than completely loyal to the Soviet Union.

{p. 296} This anticosmopolitan drive coincided with a shift in the power balance around Stalin. Malenkov was demoted and Beria stripped of his position to supervise any activities in the sphere of state security. Rumors began to spread that he and Molotov surrounded themselves with Jews. Stalin's efforts after the war were focused on extending Soviet hegemony, first over the countries of Eastern Europe bordering the Soviet Union, and then everywhere he was in competition with British interests. He foresaw that the Arab states would turn to the Soviet Union when they were frustrated by British and American support for Israel. The Arabs would appreciate the anti-Zionist trends in Soviet foreign policy. I was told by Vetrov, Molotov's assistant, later ambassador to Denmark, what Stalin said: "Let's agree to the establishment of Israel. This will be a pain in the ass for the Arab states and will make them turn their backs on the British. In the long run it will totally undermine British influence in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq."

The Cold War began in earnest in 1946 and 1947, when the illusion of postwar cooperation with the West ended. ...

Mikhoels was murdered in January 1948, under the direct order of Stalin. Probably because Emma was Jewish, the assignment, fortunately, was not given to me. ...

{p. 298} An internal power struggle from 1948 to 1952 developed into the public anti-Semitic campaign known as the Doctors' Plot. Although it was known as an anti-Semitic campaign, the Doctors' Plot was not restricted to Jews. Rather it was part of a struggle to settle old scores in the leadership. On one side Stalin, with the help of Malenkov and Khrushchev, was trying to purge his own old guard and Beria. The scapegoats in the alleged Jewish "conspiracy" were to be Molotov, Voroshilov, and Mikoyan, the last of Stalin's Politburo old guard. The truth about the initiation of the Doctors' Plot has never been revealed, even during Gorbachev's glasnost, because it was a vicious power struggle in the Kremlin on the eve of Stalin's death that drew in the entire leadership. ...

{see death-of-stalin.html}

{p. 300} Jewish doctors treated Stalin and had their own intimate and direct access to Politburo members by virtue of their professional doctor-patient relationships. Thus Abakumov was not enthusiastic about transforming the Jewish Antifascist Committee into a grand conspiracy that would cause tremors at the top and affect key members of the Politburo such as Voroshilov and Molotov, who had Jewish wives, and Kaganovich, who was Jewish. ...

{p. 301} Stalin ordered the arrest of all Jewish colonels and generals in the Ministry of Security. ...

{p. 308} Even with this anti-Semitic atmosphere, started by Stalin and continued by Khrushchev, there remained the "selective" approach in which a closed group of Jewish intellectuals and highly qualified professionals were allowed to make their careers in the Soviet establishment; but the Zionist plot and the fall of Beria put an end to the employment of Jews in influential posts of the intelligence service or in the Central Committee. As far as I knew, the Committee for State Security (KGB) in the 1960s and 1970s employed only two Jewish rank-and-file case operators, for use against Zionist organizations. The presence of large numbers of Jews in the intelligence services, which had been the case from the Revolution to 1948, came to an end. ...

{p. 309} The tragedy was that in a closed society like the Soviet Union, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 made the Jews appear to be the only significant national group with a foreign-based homeland. This automatically placed the whole national group under suspicion of potential divided loyalties, especially after Israel defeated the Arabs in the 1948 war of independence. The pride that followed the Jewish military victory revitalized the cultural consciousness of Soviet Jews, which had been destroyed in the twenties.

... The acceptance within the leadership of anti-Semitic policies finally stripped the government of an entire population of public servants who had supported the Revolution and worked for the establishment of Soviet power. When the country came upon hard times and disintegrated, the flower of this educated leadership and their children had emigrated to Israel and the West.

{end} More at sudoplat.html.

(4) How the Six-Day War in June 1967 changed Jewish identity

The following book documents the return to religion and orthodoxy among the 1960s Cultural Revolutionaries.

This is the beginning of their development into Neo-Cons - Internationalists coming out as Nationalists, or, Having their Cake and Eating it Too.

Robert Ellwood, The Sixties Spiritual Awakening: American Religion Moving from Modern to Postmodern (Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick NJ, 1994.

{p. 95} H. Richard Niebuhr brought out Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (1960), a much-cited work that, amid the rising incense clods of mysticism, reasserted the fundamental premise of Western religion: a single transcendent center of value that is more than merely subjective and beside which everything without exception must be weighed and judged".

{a secular variant of monotheism might be defined in the same way;
the notion of a single standard is frequent in Marxist critiques}

{p. 234} Judaism in the Later Sixties

{p. 235} To begin with, Jews participated in disproportionate numbers  in the civil rights movement, in the counter culture, and in antiwar activity. Although percentages obviously unvolve subjective assessments of how participation in such fluctuating causes is defined, 30% or so, as compared to just 5% of the population then jewish, would probably not be misleading. Not a few prominent voices in all these activities, from Allen Ginsberg to the Yippies Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were of Jewish background. This participation certainly had roots in longstanding Jewish commitment to social justice, based in turn on Jewish experience of pogroms and persecutions. Even after arriving in the United States, Jews knew firsthand the lot of unempowered immigrants, and what discrimination from the Anglo-Protestant establishment could mean. Theirs was a proud heritage of activity in the labor movement and in the campaigns for reform and civil liberties of the Old Left.

But the deepest roots of Jewish activism undoubtedly lay in the long Jewish traditions of being a people set apart, always a little different, and so able to appreciate and flourish in the role of the marginalized, the cheerful iconoclast, or the outsider with a message. Over against formal universalisms, whether of church or state, Judaism has a way of saying, "Yes, but ..." If anyone is a stranger in some grand human scheme, the Jewish experience says, it is not truly complete or truly human. If it is a religion of mystical oneness or of a particular plan for salvation, or a social order based on a particular monolithic ideology or ethnic identity, and it leaves out jews as such, jews rightly say, "Yes, but ..." we Jews are here, Judaism seems to say, as perennial outsiders to show that human reality is always larger than any map can make, and the last word has not been said.

{what about Palestinians?

{p. 236} Uneasy rumblings arose from Judaism in response to the secular and Death of God theology of the mid-Sixties. that Christian phenomenon permitted much opportunity for Jews to say, "Yes, but ..." A great deal of the new terrain, new to Christians, was familiar to jews; the this-worldly emphasis on salvation in and through history, the secular city apotheosis of urban life, for liberal jews the downplaying of the personal God, were congenial themes up to a point. But secularism as a religious system evoked anew an edgy sense that we've seen it all before, and it leaves us out.

{p. 237} For Jewish experience in the Sixties, as well as for the American Sixties generally, 1967 was a hinge year. But it was so in a very special sense for Jews. The Six-Day War in June {1967} indelibly marked American Jewish experience and sense of identity from then on in a degree comparable to, but different from, the searing of American copnsciousness generally by Vietnam.

Thus Vietnam was not the only conflict to stir American feelings in 1967. This was also the year when, with lightning speed and apparent ease, Israel defeated a coalition of much more populous Arab neighbours to secure its safety and acquired occupied territories that troubled its existence ever since. In Israel a wild euphoria prevailed.

{p. 238} "I can't believe it, I can't believe it" was reportedly on everyone's lips. The Old City of Jerusalem was now Israeli forever, it seemed, as was the Golan Heights, from which Syrian guns had shelled Jewish settlements in the valleys below for years. The Six-Day War lasted from June 5 through June 10 and stood in painful contrast to America's ponderous and apparently interminable effort in Southeast Asia.

All this had a remarkable effect on American Jewish consciousness. Pride in being Jewish soared; posters of the dashing commander Moshe Dayan garbed as Superman sold in the tens of thousands. For American Jews this conflict involving Israel had quite a different aura from Vietnam. According to an article by arthur Hettzberg in Commentary, "The mood of the American Jewish community in general underwent an abrupt, radical, and possibly permanent change. In general, the immediate reaction of American Jewry to the crisis was far more intense and widespread than anyone could have forseeen." Many Jews found themselves surprised at how deeply they felt Israel's crisis and triumph as they lived through it. Hertzberg wryly noted that "it is ingrained in the American Jewish soul that the correct response to a danger is to give money," and in the period between the closing of the Gulf of Aqaba by the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser on May 25 and the Israeli victory of June 10, more than $100 million was realized by the Israeli Emergency Fund of the United Jewish Israel Appeal.

More than money was involved, however. Lucy Dawidowicz observed that the impact of the war on young Jews was intense. Accustomed to the atmosphere and ideology of the anti-Vietnam War movement otherwise so pervasive in mid-1967, many "were perplexed and dismayed that the events did not conform to their political notions . ... Views on pacifism, civil disobedience, resistance to government, and the inherent evil of military might were suddenly questioned. Unlike the confrontation in Vietnam, this was a just war, a war of self-defense against the threat of military genocide."

{p. 239} Many pacifistic Jews like Nancy Weber, although appalled by Vietnam, could not help but see their spiritual homeland's relatively "clean" desert triumphs in a very different light from the dirty jungle war on the other side of Asia. Although Jews were disproportionately represented in that antiwar movement (there was even a button that said, "You Don't Have To Be Jewish To Oppose the Vietnam War"), polls found that 99% of American Jews supported Israel's position in its war.

{p. 244} Indeed, after the pivotal year 1967 came a period of Jewish revival: of pride in Jewish ethnicity and interest in study of it. The Holocaust inself recovered as a field of enquiry, for reasons already suggested, and Orthodoxy underwent something of a renaissance. There was fresh inquiry into connections between Judaism and the new spirituality of the counterculture, showcased in an upsurge of interest in Jewish mysticiam, kabbala, ads such Jewish communiarian ways of life as in the Israeli kibbutzim.

These concerns may have had roots in the considerable Jewish participation in the counterculture, but they embraced the discovery that Judaism itself was a counterculture of very long standing, with its own mystical and magical strands as potent as any imported from Tibet or conjured up in Haigh-Ashbury. Judaism, because of things that strarted around 1967, emerged from the Sixties more spiritual (for

{p. 245} some), more confident, and yet also more traditionalist and wary of complete assimilation, than before.

None of this was without pain and conflict. I recall that one in those years I was asked to speak at a conference of Reform rabbis as a last-minute replacement for a distinguished philosopher of Jewish background who had become ill. The topic was the appeal of Eastern and esoteric spirituality for the young and was certainly related to the concern of those rabbis over the number of young people who were leaving their temples to explore other pastures.


Israel started the 1967 war. It attacked and sank the USS Liberty, a spy ship, to destroy the evidence that it started the war. James Bamford's book Body of Secrets reveals that the NSA (National Security Agency) had a plane in the air which obtained recordings of the whole event, including transcripts from the Israeli pilots showing that they knew exactly what they were doing.

Salon.com has two reviews of Bamford's book Body of Secrets:

(a) by Suzy Hansen:


(b) by Bruce Schneier:


Here is the Baltimore Sun's review:

The Baltimore Sun http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.md.nsa24apr24.story

Roland Perry wrote of the 1967 war in his book The Fifth Man:

{p. 293} ... Israel's Signals Corps cracked enemy army codes, intercepted messages and transmitted false ones, in much the same way that British Intelligence did against the Nazis in the Second World War. Israeli and Egyptian troops massed on either side of the border. Nasser delivered an ultimatum demanding the removal of the UN buffer force in Sinai. The force left. Nasser's troops occupied the

{p. 294} region of Sharm-el-Sheikh, which threatened to blockade the sea route to the Israeli port of Eilat. The move made war inevitable.

Israel's Intelligence readiness was now to be tested. The large amount of data gathered indicated how vulnerable and unprepared the Arab armies and airforces were. Once the Egyptians made their anticipated moves in Sinai, the Israeli air force mobilized and carried out pre-emptive air strikes. The Israelis boldly sent false messages about Egypt's success in Sinai to Jordan in order to draw that country into the conflict.


Why draw Jordan into the war? Had Egypt been drawn in too? Why sink the Liberty?

For more of Perry see perry.html.

Professor Israel Shahak, recently deceased, wrote in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion:

{p. 8} In 1956 I eagerly swallowed all of Ben-Gurion's political and military reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War, until he (in spite of being an atheist, proud of his disregard of the commandments of Jewish religion) pronounced in the Knesset on the third day of that war, that the real reason for it is 'the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon' to its Biblical borders. At this point in his speech, almost every Knesset

{p. 9} member spontaneously rose and sang the Israeli national anthem.

For more of Shahak see shahak1.html.

The Biblical statement about Solomon's borders is at 1 Kings 4:21. Archaeologists have not been able to find evidence that it ever existed (see The Bible Unearthed, by Israeli archaeologists Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman): archaeology-bible.html. Yet it is the basis of promises that Jews will rule those lands again - at Genesis 15: 18, Exodus 23: 30-31, Deut 11: 24, and Josh 1:4.

In the Soviet Union, the 1967 War led to the wave of Jewish emigration: jewish-emigration-ussr.html.

The 1967 War led Jews to leave Poland too, as Jaff Schatz documents in his book The Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland: schatz.html.

Kevin MacDonald's review of The Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland: poland.html.

The Jew in the Lotus: A POET'S REDISCOVERY OF JEWISH IDENTITY IN BUDDHIST INDIA (about dialogue between Jews and Tibetan Buddhists): lotus.html.

The Jewish identities of Lenin and Trotsky: lenin-trotsky.html.

The early Soviet Union - after Lenin and Trotsky, but before Stalin's ascendancy: soviet-union-early.html.

Isaac Deutscher wrote that the Bolshevik Government, in its first years, was run by "emigres had lived many years in the West", who looked down on Russian "backwardness" and pursued "internationalist" politics:

"... they were Marxists in partibus infidelium, West European revolutionaries acting against a non-congenial Oriental background, which ... tried to impose its tyranny upon them. Only revolution in the West could relieve them from that tyranny ... "

"No sooner had Bolshevism mentally withdrawn into its national shell than this attitude became untenable. The party of the revolution had to stoop to its semi-Asiatic environment. It had to cut itself loose from the specifically Western tradition of Marxism ... ".

Beria and Gorbachev attempted to return to this "Western" Marxism: each emphatically rejected Stalin. But Deutscher was a Jewish Trotskytist, and this "Western" Marxism is Trotskyism by another name: beria.html.

Isaac Deutscher on Trotsky vs. Stalin: deutscher.html.

Making Sense of Stalin: stalin.html.

Beria's role in the murder of Stalin: death-of-stalin.html.

The CIA infiltrating the Left: cia-infiltrating-left.html.

Making sense of Gorbachev: convergence.html.

The 1967 War led Jews to leave Poland too, as Jaff Schatz documents in his book The Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland: schatz.html.

Kevin MacDonald's review of The Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland: poland.html.

The effect of the 1973 Middle-East war on Jewish consciousness: new-left.html.

Communism has "fallen", yet it seems to reign in our universities and courts. Open Borders, Gay Marriage, Political Correctness ... these are the signs. The secret: what has fallen is Stalinism; that's all. In its place, the New Left largely dominates our culture. Its perceptions have been largely shaped by Isaac Deutscher: new-left.html.

Richard Kostelanetz traces the rise of "Marxist Anti-Communism" - the Marxist-Freudian movement in the West - which is anti-Stalin and pro-Trotsky. He says that Jewish-American writers have rerouted the Western intellectual tradition: kostel.html.

The Communist movement was irretrievably split by the Trotsky/Stalin divide. Jewish communists, over time, moved increasingly to the Trotsky camp, with its ambivalence about the Soviet Union. At first they were inclined to preserve the USSR - hopefully with Trotsky back at the helm. Later they turned against it. Some co-operated with the CIA, and the CIA used them to drive a fatal wedge into the Communist camp: cia-infiltrating-left.html.

Back to the Zionism/Communism index: zioncom.html.

Write to me at contact.html.