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

How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy