Letter to the Editor: the Jewish Question and Russia-Bashing in the West

"You have issued a “call for bids” from the readership, and there my concern is that those writing in will not be squeamish about giving offense. ...

If they write and you publish what comes down to racial slurs, then the game changes and you may do irreparable damage to Russia Insider’s reputation as a serious and public spirited alternative news provider among the varied readership it enjoys today."

In “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo,” you have chosen your words very carefully so as to avoid giving unnecessary offense to anyone.  And, you are right, the subject you have placed on the table merits open discussion which it has not received.

The author speaking recently at the National Press Club in Washington, DC

However, that is not because of some omerta enforced by a Jewish lobby but because across the board ad hominem arguments are not allowed in American (and not only in American) polite society.  Our President crosses those red lines daily, especially when it concerns people of color, and you see where it gets him….

You have issued a “call for bids” from the readership, and there my concern is that those writing in will not be squeamish about giving offense. If they write and you publish what comes down to racial slurs, then the game changes and you may do irreparable damage to Russia Insider’s reputation as a serious and public spirited alternative news provider among the varied readership it enjoys today.

One would have to be blind not to agree with you that the leadership of the Neocons and Liberal Interventionists are heavily Jewish. In the Neocon case, Francis Fukuyama explained in considerable detail in his book After the Neocons how the movement was hatched in the dining room of City College of New York by you know who.  Then and now these political currents of the Right and Left with their heavily Jewish contingents have taken to Russophobia like ducks to water.

You speak of the Jewish controlled print and electronic media as bearing great responsibility for the anti-Russian hysteria.  Of course, the owner of one of the most egregious offenders in the hate-Russia game,The Washington Post would be surprised to discover he is Jewish.

Jeff Bezos, alias Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen.  And even the other offender you mention, The New York Times, which has been in the hands of one Jewish family for more than 100 years, does not necessarily take stands on international matters that reflect their religion. The Sulzburgers’ paper was one of the loudest condemning Jewish and other East European immigration to the United States in the xenophobic 1920s.

I mention this only to make the point that counting noses is a tricky game and quickly degenerates into racial slurs which have no foundation in fact.  

However, for the sake of argument I will concede to you the point that Jewish controlled media have been a big factor in the hate-Russia mania that sweeps America today.

The overriding point that I wish to make here is that the anti-Russian rant from Jewish politicians and media moguls are only one of several contributing factors to the Russia-bashing that is going on. It is precisely because there are so many currents operating against Russia both in the United States and in Europe that combating them is as difficult as it is today.

The depth and breadth of the problem becomes clear when you ask why exactly are there so many prominent American Jewish opinion leaders speaking and acting against Russian interests.  The causes are both historic and contemporary, and these same causes operate and motivate the other “nations” which are actively slandering Russia on the world stage and making normal relations with Russia impossible.

The historic cause for anti-Russian views by American Jewish opinion leaders is found in the late 19th century, early 20th century when anti-Semitism flourished in tsarist Russia to the extent that it became an issue in international relations.

The descendants of the Russian Jews who emigrated to the United States before and soon after the Revolution of 1917 brought with them strong feelings that have passed down through two or three generations to the present community leaders.  And this latent anti-Russian feeling has been fanned by more recent Jewish arrivals from the Soviet Union, starting with the 1970s right up to the wave that brought the likes of Masha Gessen to New York shores.

Here there is a different operative factor from fleeing anti-Semitism of yore:  it is the bitter rejection of a homeland they left in search of instant prosperity. The great majority of those who landed in America from the 1970s did not prosper at once if at all. They gave up the relative security in the Soviet Union for a risky existence in the States, and they have ever since been justifying their fateful decision by venomous attitudes to the Russia they left behind.

In the big picture, the Jews are only one of several ethnic-religious groups or nationalities who left what was the Russian Empire or the Soviet Empire, and have been making trouble for Russia ever since. Therein lies the problem.

In Europe the anti-Russian hysteria is not something imposed from abroad by the United States or imposed from within by some Jewish conspiracy.  It has European roots in the Gentile populations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and…since the beginning of this millennium, in Ukraine.

The nationalities I have named were all subjects of the Russian Empire.  Although the Russian Empire was only one of many European empires in the 19th century, it was the only one, other than Austria-Hungary, which had subjugated not some primitive tribes (French Africa) or non-Western societies (French Indochina, British India) but Europeans, some of whom (Poles, in particular) enjoyed within the Russian Empire higher living standards and educational standards than the colonizing Metropole of the Russian heartland.

The consequence of this unique nature of the Russian empire is the hatred for Russia expressed openly today in European forums by the Baltic States, by Poland and now by Ukraine.

As for the United States, it would be foolish to ignore all the immigrant arrivals from Hungary (1956), from Czechoslovakia (1967) and from Poland (forever) who brought with them the infection of anti-Russian prejudice.  

This has been a major political lever in the United States.  It is no secret that Bill Clinton’s decision against admitting Russian into NATO in 1994 was partly driven by considerations of how that would play out among the Slavic-heritage Americans come the next elections.

In the same vein, it would be a big mistake to overlook the damage to Russia’s reputation that the Ukrainian descent Americans and Canadians have wrought, especially since 2014.  U.S. university centers nominally devoted to Russian studies have been taken over by the Ukrainian activists, including my own alma maters of Harvard and Columbia.  In this regard, you can just forget about the Jews if you want to look for villains.

In closing, I stress that the issues raised in your editorial essay are serious and demand multi-disciplinary and multi-sided examination.  As always, the issue facing us is not “Who is to blame?” but “What is to be done?”

Gilbert Doctorow

Brussels


This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons