Sunday, September 18, 2011
Here is something unusually thoughtful about Jews, Judaism, and Communism; with special reference to Poland, but also to east-central Europe and Russia generally.
If one can feel pride because of an accomplishment of a Jew, even of a non-Jewish Jew who did not act as a Jew, then by the same token one can feel shame because of crimes committed by Jews. If someone ever felt pride because of Freud’s accomplishments he should be ready to feel ashamed because of Kaganovich in Russia, or Berman in Poland. One either has the justification for both feelings or neither.
Jewish communists have left a disturbing legacy that needs to be confronted by the re-emerging Jewish communities in East Central Europe. This is not to say that Jews are guilty and non-Jews are not. That is an antisemitic opinion and I have nothing to do with it. Accepting a Jewish share of moral responsibility does not make non-Jews less responsible or less morally involved. The problem of communist crimes remains a challenge for the political left (obviously, I do not propose to ignore the crimes committed by the political right) and for many groups and nations.
It should be evident that I do not try to free anyone from blame; but my theses on Jews and communism sometimes give the impression that I speak about the Jewish moral responsibility in order to absolve Christians, Poles, and everyone else. This is not the case. Communism was the trouble, not the Jews.
That is an excerpt from the author's concluding "thesis". There is much more.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE Response to Comments: It seems to me that chiliastic leftism had (and in diluted form may still have) an appeal to important segments of secularised Jewry that is worrisome; and that Krajewski is right - and not just politic - to suggest that Jews ought to be concerned about it, for reasons of moral probity and not just to appease the anti-semites. Too many Jews, it seems to me, stuck with utopian leftism even when it morphed into totalitarian Communism (not much of a morph, actually - utopian leftism had most if not all the seeds of totalitarianism about it from the outset.) It wasn't just the occasional Tariq Aziz that stuck with Communism-in-power in the USSR, until (in short order of course) the regime turned on the Jews and killed off huge numbers of them (as it killed off essentially all the Old Bolsheviks and untold millions of others). The CPUSA, too, throughout its history, was disproportionately populated with Jews, and that's actually putting it mildly. There is more to worry about here, I think, and to work at building up antibodies against, than a case of taking "a bit of pride" in Mark Spitz but not feeling any responsibility for Buggsy Siegel.
Marx as "international rabbi" is, I fear, a tired trope, and savours strongly (to me at least) of anti-semitic boilerplate. Marx's ancestry was Jewish; Marx himself was an anti-semite. (Read "On The Jewish Question", if you have a strong stomach.) Unfortunately Jewish anti-semites - today as in the past - are not as rare as one might wish.