How a Russian War on Communism Became a Russian War on Jews

Beginning in 1918 and ending around 1923, the Russian Civil War was a bloody and complex conflict that did much to shape the subsequent fate of Europe. It pitted the Soviets (the “Reds”) against an assortment of anti-Communist forces (the “Whites”). At one point, the White Army issued every soldier a rifle and the anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Isaac Sligh reviews a new book on this war by Anna Reid:

In A Nasty Little War, Reid unfolds a scathing indictment of White incompetence and malfeasance: five-hour teas taken with the enemy at the gates; shipments of foreign aid whisked away to the black market; skepticism and ingratitude towards Allied help. Worst of all was a virulent anti-Semitism—Jews were indistinguishable from Bolsheviks in White propaganda—that fueled pogroms of terrifying thoroughness. Somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 Jews were massacred in Ukraine during the Civil War; Reid fingers Ukrainian warlords as the worst perpetrators, but the White Army and its Cossack vanguards as the most systematic.

In light of what Reid agrees was a “rehearsal for the Holocaust,” it is tough to stomach the tut-tutting of British officials, who summed up certain generals as “scallywags” or covered up White atrocities altogether—a proposal from none other than Chaim Weizmann to lead a monitoring mission to Ukraine was rejected.

Reid also argues convincingly that defeated White émigrés helped stoke the fires of anti-Semitism in Weimar Germany. (With such a litany, one should still bear in mind that the Bolsheviks were simultaneously waging what Lenin proudly called “Mass Terror,” including pogroms, much of it beyond the purview of Reid’s book.)

Read more at New Criterion

More about: Anti-Semitism, Russian Jewry, Soviet Union

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship