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Soviet Anti-Semitism

In response to:

Soviet Anti-Semitism from the November 29, 1973 issue

To the Editors:

I am surprised that there is such an irresponsible polemicist among American scholars in the humanities as Mrs. Dunn (NYR, Letter, November 29).

I firmly insist on my thesis that the word “Zionist” is now a substitute for the word “Jew” in modern anti-Semitic vocabulary. My confidence on this point derives from the experience of life which I and millions of other people have had.

Mrs. Dunn discusses Yury Ivanov’s charges against Zionism. All these charges are aimed at hiding the real facts about Soviet politics. Mrs. Dunn claims that she is an expert on Soviet religious affairs. Let her take the Soviet press of 1939-1941 and see who was the real friend of Nazi Germany, who was the enemy of freedom, and, last but not least, who was responsible for the outbreak of the world war. Stalin’s aim was to share the world with Hitler.

By the way, it is quite remarkable that Mrs. Dunn considers Stalin a Marxist theoretician. This suggests very clearly where her sympathies lie.

I was a child before the war, but I remember very well the map in my geography textbook where Poland and Czechoslovakia were outlined as a “zone of the state interest of Germany.” I remember very well the banning at that time of all anti-fascist literature, including children’s fiction.

If Mrs. Dunn is an expert on Soviet religious affairs let her also take the Soviet atheist newspaper Bezbozhnik (The Godless One) of early 1941 and read there the attacks on the German Christian antifascists which charged them with being war mongers. It was not Zionists but the Moscow “communist” leaders who embraced Hitler and Ribbentrop, and because of this Ivanov’s charges against the Jews are just monstrous lies.

Moreover, it is not the Israelis but the present Soviet politicians who are racialist. I do not agree with the modern Israeli definition of a Jew, but this definition is stated openly. Meanwhile the Soviet authorities are secretly practicing the definition of a Jew borrowed from Nazi Germany. It is well known that a person is not admitted to certain high positions in the Soviet system if he or she possesses even one Jewish grandparent in his family-tree. Such an abominable practice is aggravated because of the fact that it is being implemented without any written law and only on the base of oral instructions. Everyone knows it in the Soviet Union, but official propaganda angrily denies this practice.

These and other charges against Zionism have as their purpose to conceal the real face of modern anti-Semitism.

Unfortunately Mrs. Dunn has also revealed her ignorance of Marxism by calling a “rather interesting” point Ivanov’s idea that “the roots of anti-Semitism are economic.” Whether or not it is true, this is an old dogma of Marxism.

I am very obliged to Mr. Reddaway for his reply, but he has made a mistake in thinking that I am not able to answer Mrs. Dunn just now from Moscow. I am doing so even in the face of possible troubles.

M. Agursky

Moscow, USSR

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