From Soft Soap to Scouring Pads

Brass Tacks

The recent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in Russia and the satellites are not a manifestation of some new Soviet policy. Exigencies of internal party structure and foreign relations have just intensified what was already there.

Joe Stalin and company made a huge tactical blunder in assuming that European Jewry was a pushover for the People's Party. Ever since the Bolshevik Revolution the Politburo has gambled on a campaign of magnanimity towards the Jews, thinking that the lack of a homeland and Nazi decimation would wean them to Soviet allegiance. When Israel gained independence in 1948 and their scheme backfired, the Russians tried to save face by wiping out any strong Jewish influence behind the Iron Curtain.

Communist generosity towards Jewry began years ago when the Party grated religious freedom. Then Hitler's slaughter offered Stalin a perfect opportunity to show his golden heart and pull a coup on Breat Britain and the United States in the process. By offering the province of Birobijan as a Jewish national homeland, while the UN was still fighting over who would get Palestine, Stalin hoped to alienate the large remnant of Europe's Jews from the Western world. Thousands did go to Birobijan, a vast expanse of tundra whose only abundant natural resource is snow. They have not been heard from since.

Foiled by the Partition plan, Russia recognized Israel, hoping to lead the new country with enough Communists to get both Jewish allegiance and a well-fortified outpost on the Mediterranean. This was the Kremlin's biggest error in judgment. Even now the Mapai and General Zionist parties have framed a resolution to throw the Communists out of parliament along with any other party which received less than 10 percent of the vote.

But the proverbial straw came during 1948, when 10,000 Jews flocked to the square in front of Moscow's Great Synagogue to cheer the Israeli Ambassador, Russian-born Mrs. Golda Myerson. Exasperated secret police promptly put the Israeli embassy under a sort of diplomatic house arrest and prevented Russian Jewry from having any dealings with it. Beria then started to climinate all remaining Jewish institutions in Russia.


Now that Israel is lost to her as a Mediterranean stronghold, Russia's present policy is to curry favor with the Arabs. The Prague trials, the mass confiscation of Jewish property both at home and in the satellites, and the diplomatic break with Israel are obvious evidences of this new tack.

Another acceptable theory has it that the rise of Gregor Malenkov is also reflected in the Purges. Many of the convicted deviationists were old guard Party members and carried potential opposition to Malenkov's struggle for Stalin's inheritance. There is also some evidence that Malenkov, not Beria, ordered the arrest of the accused Moscow doctors. It nows seems that the Kremlin has made an irrevocable decision to finish another task that Hitler started. There are 2,500,000 Soviet Jews to go.

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