The Son of Jewish Immigrants Who Made $10 Million While a Soviet Mole

July 30 2019

“In the 1930s and ’40s,” David Evanier writes, “there were any number of American Communists so enamored of Joseph Stalin and the shining tomorrows he promised that they would do anything for the Soviet Union, disdaining payment of any kind.” David Karr wasn’t one of them. Yes, born in 1918, he was raised in the Jewish immigrant Brooklyn from which emerged many American Jewish Communists, and yes, he spent the early years of his adult life as a true believer, and yes, he may have been a Soviet mole—but he certainly didn’t disdain payment for his efforts.

Karr went on to amass a $10 million-dollar fortune from careers as varied as muckraking columnist to corporate raider. All the while, the one constant in his life seems to have been his involvement with the USSR. But what he wanted from the Soviet Union is hard to say. Reviewing a new biography of Karr by the historian Harvey Klehr, Evanier summarizes the matter:

Throughout it all, writes Klehr, “Karr cooperated with Soviet intelligence agencies, tried to act as a middleman between the USSR and the U.S. on several issues, and attempted to get close to American officials and politicians at the behest of the KGB.”

Was he a double agent? Whose side was he really on? Klehr would seem to have answered that question definitively with his title, “The Millionaire Was a Soviet Mole.” But no: The author’s final verdict is that while Karr began as a Communist true believer, he ended, at age sixty, as an amoral monster, an “unscrupulous and driven” man who in all his business dealings—especially those between Russian and Western parties—played both ends against the middle, using his connections mainly to enrich himself, no matter who got hurt.

Karr wasn’t entirely unusual, though. As Evanier’s own recent essay in Mosaic shows, that kind of cynicism turns out to have been normal for aging American Communists.

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Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Communism, History & Ideas, Soviet Union

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror