1970s Soviet Antisemitism

The antisemitism of Stalin’s Doctors’ Plot —  and to a lesser extent the Polish, Czech and other pseudo-antizionist antisemitic purges of the 1950s and ’60s — are remembered today. However, much less attention is paid to the Soviet Union’s conspiracy theory turn starting in the 1960s, where the previous hegemony of Orthodox Marxism was rivaled by various pro-Soviet conspiracy theories, often anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist in character. As part of this a vicious antisemitism – usually cloaked in anti-zionist terms – returned as well, and was exported to Soviet-allied groups in the Arab world, including the PLO. With the revival of antisemitism in Russia after the Soviet collapse, this period of Soviet antizionism can be seen as part of an unbroken link in the history of Russian antisemitism.

Roland Evans and Robert Novak, “Moscow vs Zionism”

“For one thing, the official state newspapers [of the Soviet Union]—Pravda and Izvestia—have been preaching fearsome anti-zionism for years. Following the first Brussels Conference On Soviet Jewry in 1971, Pravda labeled Zionism “an enemy of the people”—a phrase echoing the great purge of the 1930s. After a brief respite, the new, more virulent anti-Zionist campaign was triggered by the second Brussels conference.

The new state-supported campaign is manifested by an official Communist Party lecturer named Valery Yemelyanov, a candidate of economic sciences and a professor in the prestigious Institute of Foreign Languages. What makes Yemelyanov’s anti-Zionist campaign so insidious is that his harshest rhetoric came in a Moscow interview with a newspaper closely connected to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Yemelyanov delivered opinions that must have startled even anti-Israel PLO activists who are trying to establish a mini-state of their own on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “World Zionism has become a great power in the world,” he said, elaborating as follows in a breathtaking spiral of charges:

Eighty-percent of the economy of non-Communist nations is concentrated in the hands of “Zionist capitalists.” 95% of the propaganda efforts undertaken in the capitalist world are concentrated in the hands of the Zionists, 99% in the United States.

In words reminiscent of the notorious “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” Yemelyanov told his PLO interviewers that the world Zionist organization “works in a strictly secret framework” which includes “all the presidents and parliaments of the developed capitalist countries.” The only way to fight this “world” Zionist movement is to establish a world countermovement with the Arabs themselves should lead “because they are the prime objective of the Zionist movement and the leaders of the world struggle against one of its agents—the state of Israel.”

Such nonsense would not be worth a second glance were it not for the likelihood….that behind it is the weight of the Soviet state and its multiple propaganda apparatus.

Yemelyanov’s appeal directly to militant PLO members is obviously designed to thwart American efforts to find a political solution to the Arab-Israeli wares. As such, it plays on… anti-Israeli Arab passions (Deeply felt by all Palestinians) in a way calculated to arouse them to the highest pitch.”

from “Moscow vs Zionism,” Roland Evans and Robert Novak
“World Front” syndicated column, November 14-15, 1976.

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More on Yemelyanov

“Evidence that the Soviet new right wants a “final solution of the Jewish problem” is found… in the secret memorandum presented to the 25th Soviet Communist Party congress in 1975, a partial text of which reached Israel early this year.

Its author is Yemelyanov, a well-known ideological lecturer. The memorandum claims “that the Jewish Masonic order, B’nai B’rith, is the visible top of the invisible international Judaeo-Masonic pyramid ruling the non-Communist world and influencing Soviet policies through its agents inside the USSR.’

To deal with the Jewish menace, Yemelyanov proposes: ‘The creation of a world-wide anti-Zionist and anti-Masonic front on the model of the anti-fascist fronts of the 1930s and 1940s because the threat of Zionist rule over the world planned for the year 2000 threatens all the gentiles on our earth irrespective of their race, religion and party affiliation.’

Like Hitler, “Yemelyanov does not spell out in detail how he proposes to eliminate the Jewish menace. But he argues throughout his memorandum that Soviet Jews must not be expelled or allowed to leave, for those who go to Israel reinforce the potential of a fascist state, while the others who emigrate to the United States or other Western countries reinforce the Judaeo-Masonic pyramid.”

from “Behind the Headlines Anti-semitism May Replace Marxism-leninism As Official Soviet Creed,” JTA, December 27, 1978, http://www.jta.org/1978/12/27/archive/behind-the-headlines-anti-semitism-may-replace-marxism-leninism-as-official-soviet-creed

(See also “B’nai B’rith Accuses Soviet Lecturer of Rampant Anti-Semitism,” JTA, August 24, 1976, http://www.jta.org/1976/08/24/archive/bnai-brith-accuses-soviet-lecturer-of-rampant-anti-semitism)

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Ruth Okuneva, “Anti-Semitic Notions: Strange Analogies”

Excerpts from various works of Soviet propaganda, compiled by Russian historian Ruth Okuneva.

* “The chief strategic aim of the Zionist movement is the establishment of its domination of the world.”

* “Their obsession with the idea of world domination is the primary cause of the crimes which humanity has witnessed.”

* “… [A] group of people who profess a doctrine which alleges that they have been chosen by God to dominate the world.”

* “To sow poison and demonization,” i.e., to corrupt and destroy society, to deceive the peoples… the Zionists could not do this without having control of the most powerful propaganda apparatus—the mass media. That is why their first objective is to always take control of the newspapers and magazines, telegraph agencies, publishing houses, radios and television, the entire history of the world. In this pursuit they have already achieved a great deal.

* “Zionism is fascism… The basic content of Zionism is anticommunism, implacable hostility to the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, to the international revolutionary movement, and to all the anti-imperialist forces today.”

* “If we review the Torah form the standpoint of modern civilization and progressive Communist morality, it proves to be an unsurpassed textbook of blood-thirstiness and hypocrisy, treachery, perfidy, and licentiousness—of every vile human quality.”

* “The peculiarities of Jewish religion are hatred of mankind, preaching genocide, cultivating a love for power, and glorifying criminal means of achieving power.”

* “The chauvinistic idea of world domination has been particularly repulsive; formulated in the ‘Holy Scriptures,’ it has been reflected in their prayers.”

* “[I]n official abstracts of the prescripts of Judaism, repeated emphasis is given to the ‘exclusiveness’ of the Jews, their innate superiority to the goyim, their right to world domination.”

* “‘God’s chosen people’ have their own laws, their own sphere, their own destiny, whereas the despised goyim are suited only to be ‘tools with the power of speech,’ slaves.”

* “The Jews want to have slaves, but the slaves must not be Jews.”* “The teachings of Judaism are pervaded with hatred for the work and contempt for the man who spends his day in toil. The entire ideology of Judaism is not imbued with the idea of work, but with a narrow practicality, the means for making a profit, a mania for silver, the spirit of egoism, and the craving for money.”

* “The Talmud teaches that one is forbidden to steal only from a khaver (a fellow man). One is permitted to take everything from anyone else (goyim), because God has reserved all non-Jewish wealth for the Jews.”

From Ruth Okuneva, “Anti-Semitic Notions: Strange Analogies, 1980s” in Marvin Perry and Frederick M. Schweitzer, eds., Antisemitic Myths: A Historical and Contemporary Anthology (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 251–53. Taken in turn from Theodore Freedman, ed, Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union (NY: ADL, 1984).

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