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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

Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 23 2018

In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Free registration may be required.)

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, US-Israel relations