Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Jews and Communism: A Middle View. Should Jews Apologize?
This work avoids each extreme: 1) Anti-Semitic fantasy, and 2) A manifestation of the Jewish attempt to rule the world. Space limitations limit my discussion.
In the USSR (where Jews constituted 1-2% of the population): “Nonetheless, it was during the years 1918-1920 that the full implications of the association of Jews with the revolution, and specifically with the Communist revolution, first became apparent. With a striking number of Jewish-born individuals in the Bolshevik leadership—Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Sverdlov, and Uritsky to name just the most conspicuous—it was inevitable that the new regime should find itself branded as being dominated by Jews.” (Diner and Frankel, p. 5).
What about the western nations? “Throughout the era of Communism, Jews were both influential and disproportionately represented in Communist parties. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CP) was no exception to this. By the 1960’s two out of the three most important positions in the party were held by Jews…In the 1940’s, nearly a third of all district party secretaries were Jewish. By the early 1950’s, between 7 and 10 percent of the Communist party’s activists (its cadres) were Jewish, even though Jews accounted for less than 1 percent of Britain’s national population…Almost all Jewish Communists came from an Eastern European immigrant background.” (Heppell, p, 148, 151).
Now consider the USA: “Reliable statistics are difficult to obtain, but my own research on the party rank and file as well as secondary leaders of the Communist-led literary movements in the mid-century indicates that nearly half of those who published persistently in party-affiliated venues or who joined party-led organizations such as the John Reed clubs…were of Jewish origin. This is a remarkable aggregate, considering that Jews constituted a mere 2-3 percent of the U.S. population at the time.” (Wald, p. 136).
Here’s more on American Jews: “The substantial Jewish presence on the Left was, of course, nothing new—Jews had been prominent in the European and American socialist movements before the First World War, and in the wake of the Russian Revolution, many had joined the Communist movement…Much more surprising is the large number of Jewish artists.” (Mendelsohn, pp. 99-100). Obviously, this long preceded the appearance of fascism and Nazism, refuting the premise that Jews were supporting Communism as “the lesser of two evils.”
Contentions about Jews being drawn to Communism out of idealism, or as a reaction to anti-Semitism, injustice, and poverty, all beg the question about other groups (e. g., the Poles) in a comparable situation yet supporting Communism at negligible levels. Also, heavy Jewish support for Communism was hardly limited to Jews who faced “dark times/dire decisions”. (see Diner and Frankel, p. 9).
We sometimes hear that Communist Jews were “not true Jews”. That’s like saying that Russian Communists were “schismatic Russians”, not “real Russians”, a notion criticized by Solzhenitsyn. (Diner and Frankel, p. 12).
Actually, Communist Jews (like all Jews) can be unambiguously defined as those born to a Jewish mother or father, as done by Heppell (p. 165). Moreover, many Communist Jews actively identified with their Judaism. In fact, the very term Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism), which is misrepresented by some (including Schatz, p. 20,32) as a pejorative term implying Judeo-conspiracy, was actually coined and used by Polish Communist Jews (including Adam Michnik-Schechter) in reference to themselves.
Britain’s Jewish Communists, notwithstanding parental attitudes, hardly came from Jewish-marginal backgrounds: “Very few of them came from the ultra-Orthodox community, but not many grew up in assimilated or atheist homes either.” (Heppell, p. 155). In Poland, prewar Jewish Communism was very much part of Judaism, albeit as a secularized mutation of the same. (see the Peczkis review of THE OLD COUNTRY [link]). Cardinal Hlond’s much-maligned 1936 Jews-as-freethinkers statement did have a Jewish-mainstream factual basis: “This rejection of religion was not exclusively Communist. The Bundists and a significant part of the Zionist movement were also against ‘Jewish clericalism’.” (Schatz, p. 36).
Jan T. Gross has a pathetically-bad chapter that is essentially a synopsis of his FEAR. For example, his obsession with Polish acquisitions of post-Jewish properties ignores such things as the fact that millions of Russians and Ukrainians acquired post-Polish properties.
The main chapter on Poland’s interwar Jewish Communists (Jeff Schatz) has a defensive and apologetic tone, and contains the same shortcomings as his book. (see the Peczkis review of GENERATION [link]). In particular, most Jewish support for Communism was nonpolitical and latent, becoming openly manifested only during USSR actions against Poland. (e. g., 1920, 1939, 1944).
The hypocrisy of Communist claims of fighting fascism, yet collaborating with Hitler, is mentioned by Mendelsohn (p. 119): “The Soviet-Nazi nonaggression pact of the summer of 1939, whose secret protocol called for the division of independent Poland in the event of war, was supported by Communist parties throughout the world, including the American party and its Jewish affiliates.”
Should modern Jews apologize for past Jewish support for Communism? Schatz (p. 13, 33) scoffs at it. Diner and Frankel are more thoughtful, seeing the logic behind it as they ask: “If, for example, the entire Polish people is to be held in some way responsible for the Jedwabne massacre carried out by Polish villagers, does it follow that the Jewish people should share in the guilt incurred by the murderous acts of Jewish NKVD/MVD operatives?” (p. 10).