A Fictional Account of an American Jewess’s Romance with Communism, and Its Consequences

Dec. 21 2016

In her debut novel The Patriots, Sana Krasikov tells the story of an American Jewish woman who, under the thrall of Communism and young love, follows a Russian engineer to the Soviet Union, and of her son, who is born and grows up there. Wynn Wheldon writes in his review:

The Patriots has the weight of a classic. While its scenes are almost always intimate, conducted between two or three people (though there is a very well done tawdry embassy party), they are more often than not governed by events in the world beyond them, over which they have no control.

Krasikov shows us this trampling of the private by the public in the name of Communist pieties. Of all these pieties, the requirement to betray your friend, your country, your family, in order to serve the party, is the most psychically cruel if not the most physically disturbing. . . .

The Patriots is hung, as a narrative, on a series of true-life events, namely, the actual activities of real organizations: from the U.S.-Soviet trade deals of the late 1920s, through World War II, to Golda Meir’s visit to Moscow in 1948, to the anti-Semitic purge of 1952 (the Doctors’ Plot), and onward. Krasikov’s research has an exemplary thoroughness, whether describing a Stalin rally, or a Thai sex parlor, or listing the parts of a jet fighter. . . .

This is a book that informs as it questions. It has moral purpose. It gives us essentially the entire history of the USSR. It challenges readers to wonder what decisions they would have made in similar circumstances. And it tells us of how hope can be used [as a weapon] against a population.

 

Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewish History, Arts & Culture, Communism, Literature, Soviet Jewry, Soviet Union

The State Department Seems to Be Covering Up Palestinian Incitement

July 26 2017

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on global terrorism in the year 2016, and, for apparently the tenth consecutive year, the report defended the Palestinian Authority in language identical or nearly identical to that used in years before. For example, the 2016 report notes that “The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” That same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013. Similar repetition of language from those years and years earlier can be found across the report.

What’s going on? “Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence,” Rafael Medoff writes, quoting the former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker:

[According to Baker], State Department officials seem to be “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant,” instead of objectively assessing the PA’s most recent behavior.

Baker said that not only has the PA failed to take “significant steps” against incitement, but “the opposite is the case—their own actions, statements and publications, naming streets and squares after terrorists, formally paying fees to terrorist families, all point to a distinctive step backward in violation of Palestinian commitments pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

The result, Baker said, is that “the Palestinians see it as a license to continue and as support for their struggle. If the State Department closes a blind eye, this is tantamount to giving a green light.”

[According to a second Israeli diplomat], the State Department slants its reports about the PA because the department “fears that its own words will be used to buttress congressional efforts to cut aid to the PA. . . . ”

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, State Department