Sunday, December 08, 2013
Thank you, Stalin; Kudos, Uncle Joe
Thank you, Stalin; Kudos, Uncle Joe
By Steven Plaut
I would like to propose that the Jewish people of the world find a day in which to express their gratitude to Joseph Stalin for liquidating Jewish members of the bolshevik party. The Jewish people is much better off these days thanks to so many Jewish members of the bolshevik party having been removed by Stalin from the Jewish gene pool. Israel is also a better place thanks to this, for, without their liquidation, many of these communists may have found their way ultimately to Israel. And indeed the world is a better place without them.
Now none of this is to belittle the level of absolute perfidy and evil that characterized Stalin and his regime. It is simply to note that, in the midst of all that evil, there were actually a few items of long term benefit that emerged from Stalin's regime of horror. Of course, alongside these Jewish communists, Stalin murdered millions of innocents, including many innocent Jews. No one condones that. We just need to be a little bit grateful that thousands of Jewish mischievous communists did not survive Stalin's repressions to show up in Israel and help the Radical Left there undermine the state. A small communist party did operate in Mandatory Palestine starting in the 1920s, but it never amounted to much. A second Marxist party, MAPAM, played a role in the growth of the Jewish institutions in the Land of Israel. It was denounced by Moscow, and generally treated as a pariah by David Ben Gurion and the mainstream Zionist movement. What remains of it today is a splinter inside the tiny Meretz Party, a leftwing opposite group.
Sure, Stalin was a deranged anti-Semite. Just see this book about that. And we all know about the Stalinist fabrications with regard to the supposed Jewish Doctors Plot and other cases of his anti-Semitic conspiracism. I do not make light of any of that.
Joseph Stalin was one of the most truly awful persons in all of human history. He is surpassed only by Hitler on the scale of evil, and in a few areas he himself actually managed to exceed the level of evil in Nazism. Stalin mastered the intentional genocidal famine as an instrument of state policy to terrorize the Ukrainians and others. In the Holdomor in the Ukraine, many millions were intentionally starved to death. Stalin's favorite instrument of reign was state terror. He ordered untold millions shot and tortured in the Great Purge, including much of the Red Army and the Bolshevik Party. He signed the "deal" with Hitler in the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, and his people were among those who paid the price for this treachery. He launched wars of aggression against his neighbors. And Stalin was an anti-Semite. His anti-Semitism dominated his last years of life but was present well before that.
Bolshevik state terror did not begin with Stalin. Lenin was the original figure who advocated massive terror as official state policy. (And Trotsky was at least as devoted to the idea of state terror as Stalin; Trotsky just was annoyed that it was not HE who was running the state terror instead of Stalin!) To Lenin's credit, he had a generally positive attitude towards Jews (unlike Marx), even while he opposed all political expression by or organization of Jews, including in the Bund (which advocated Yiddish language-based cultural autonomy). Lenin thought Jews were more civilized and better behaved than Russian and Ukrainian peasants or urban ungenteel lowbrows with their poor tailoring. Lenin opposed all forms of Jewish nationalism, separatism and even autonomy, not just in the form of Zionism, but admired Jews as disciplined sober literate individuals, as long as they were willing to join his party and obey him.
It is also true that the early bolshevik party had more than its share of Jews. These were by and large anti-Semitic Jews and devoted communists. As it turned out, non-communist Jews were often the first victims of communist parties that acceded to power, and not just in the USSR. The bolshevik party was never a Jewish party, in contrast with the libels that the anti-Semitic putrescence always asserts, and indeed the bolshevik party was actually in many ways an anti-Jewish party. Nevertheless, for reasons best worked out by psychiatrists, quite a few Jews were attracted to early bolshevism and many rose in its ranks for a while.
On the eve of the February Revolution in 1917, the Bolshevik party had about 10,000 members, of whom 364 were Jews. Between 1917 and 1919, Jewish Bolshevik party leaders included Grigory Zinoviev, Moisei Uritsky, Lev Kamenev, Yakov Sverdlov, Grigory Sokolnikov, and Leon Trotsky. Lev Kamenev had a Jewish father. Trotsky was also a member of the ruling Council of People's Commissars. Among the 23 Narkoms between 1923 and 1930, five were Jewish.
According to the 1922 party census, there were 19,564 Jewish Bolsheviks, comprising 5.21% of the total. Jews made up 7.1% of members who had joined before October 1917. Among members of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets in 1929, there were 402 ethnic Russians, 95 Ukrainians, 55 Jews, 26 Latvians, 13 Poles, and 12 Germans. Liquidation of these bolshevik Jews began with the assassination of Moisei Uritsky in August 1918. Then Yakov Sverdlov died supposedly of disease in March 1919 and Sokolnikov was eliminated. In 1922, Jewish members in the Central Committee, the Politburo's new name, had shrunk to three: Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Eventually they were all liquidated by Stalin: Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1936 and Trotsky in 1940.
Stalin renewed the killing of Jewish bolsheviks after World War II, including members of the wartime "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee." Solomon Mikhoels was assassinated on Stalin's personal orders in Minsk. His murder was disguised as a hit-and-run car accident. Other leading members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were arrested, charged with treason, bourgeois nationalism and planning to set up a Jewish republic in Crimea to serve American interests. In all, some 110 JAFC members were arrested or killed. During Stalin's purge of the Red Army, when 40,000 officers were executed, 169 Jewish generals were among those killed.
Jewish communists active outside of the USSR were also murdered by Stalin. Notable among them was the malicious Bela Kun (Kun is like Cohen), who ran a brutal short-lived bolshevik coup in Hungary before being toppled and later arrested by Stalin for being a supposed Trotskyite. Actually the killing of ultra-evil Kun is all by itself more than enough reason for Jews to salute Stalin's elimination of communist Jews from the bolshevik parties.
What is interesting in all this is that nearly every Jewish member of the Soviet Union's bolshevik party was murdered by Stalin. Certainly the senior party members were, but so also were many rank-and-file communists. Among those murdered were Jewish communists who decided to migrate to the Soviet Union from other countries to help build "socialism" there. These even included Jewish communists from the parties operating in Mandatory Palestine. (Jews were not the only bolshevik pilgrims to the USSR; others, notably Finns and Armenians, were similar dupes.) At least one "kibbutz" was built in the Crimea in the USSR by Jewish communists from the yishuv in "Palestine." Again, with very few exceptions, these were all killed by Stalin.
Even Stalin could not eliminate all the Jewish communists. Some survived. Alas, one finds them today at the fringes of Israeli politics, and a couple of departments at Tel Aviv University consist entirely of Jewish communists. Notable TAU Stalinists include the fanatically anti-Israel Yoav Peled, Shlomo Sand, and Yehouda Shenhav. Tel Aviv University regularly holds Stalin Days and the University officially collaborates with the communist party. See this and this. A communist party leader ran recently for mayor of Tel Aviv and was trounced.
But the presence of such fringe political rubbish in Israel is not Stalin's fault. After all, Stalin certainly tried his best to eliminate all Jewish bolsheviks, and the fact that he fell short should not detract from the worthiness of his efforts in this regard. Without Stalin's purges of Jewish communists, Israel might have ended up with thousands of Tamar Goszinkies and Dov Khenins (leading Jewish Stalinists in Israel's predominantly-Arab Communist Party today).
Stalin was born on December 18, which usually falls around Hanukka time. [Interestingly, Stalin died on Purim. Think about Haman when you ponder that!] Yes, I agree that it behooves us all to denounce Stalin's countless crimes and unfathomable evil. But I guess December 18 is as good a day as any for Jews to remember that, thanks to good ole Uncle Joe, Israel and the rest of the Jewish world were spared the need to cope with thousands of demonic Jewish communists. If people prefer to hold the celebrations in better weather, August 20 is also an appropriate date. That is the date on which a Stalinist agent introduced Leon Trotsky to mountain climbing equipment.