- "The Jewish Century" by Yuri Slezkine is easily
the most significant revisionist work ever to be produced by a Jewish scholar.
Although the book purports to be a study of the Jewish impress upon the
twentieth century, based on the three migrations (1) Jews to America,
(2) Jews to Palestine, and (3) Jews from the Soviet countryside to the
Soviet cities it is in reality a study of the Jewish success story
in the Soviet Union of the 1920's and 1930's, when Jews were the ruling
class of the pre-WW2 USSR.
- Slezkine begins his study by comparing Jews to other
groups in and Asia and Africa. Throughout he contrasts "Mercurians"
and "Apollonians", the former creatures of the mind, the latter
earth-bound, agrarian peoples. Jews, supposedly the ultimate Mercurians,
are at odds with "the peoples of the earth" (a Talmudic phrase)
among whom they live. This pattern, Slezkine finds, is essentially no different
than the pattern of other groups similarly situated, such as the Chinese
in Indo-China, for example. Of course, Slezkine does not discuss the peculiar
ethics of the Babylonian Talmud as a possible aggravating factor unique
to Jews, but otherwise his analysis is unobjectionable. Like Professor
Kevin MacDonald, Slezkine finds that there is a rational basis for Jewish-non-Jewish
tensions, tensions that are remarkably similar to those of other groups.
- Sociology aside, the heart and guts of Slezkine's material
appears in chapters three and four: "The Jews and the Russian Revolution"
(and) The Jews and Three Promised Lands." These chapters contain material
so shocking that it is a wonder that Slezkine dares reveal it all, particularly
in a context of Jewish "success" (the "success" of
total power and ruthless mass murder?). Essentially, Slezkine demonstrates
that the first twenty years following the Bolshevik Revolution of November
1917 allowed Jews, the former betes noirs of the hated Tsarist regime,
to become the new ruling class of Russia in every respect, including the
secret police, the Gulag camp administration, the foreign service and spy
department, the press and various news agencies, the cultural and professional
elites, intellectual leadership as the party's chief spokesmen, and a disproportionate
share of the upper level positions in every commissariat.
- It was only with the great purge of 1938-1939 that Jews
began to lose some of their influence in the upper levels. But even then,
as Slezkine demonstrates, Jews were not, contrary to popular misconception,
singled out for persecution. Their share of the victims was lower, on a
percentage basis, than that of the other groups targeted, such as Poles
or Latvians. Unlike these groups, who were tainted by foreign loyalties,
Jews were not perceived as being inherently disloyal to the Soviet regime.
Only in the post-war purges of Zionists and cosmopolitans were Jews targeted
as such. Of course, the creation of the state of Israel created a potential
and actual dual loyalty problem. Stalin, who had personally
witnessed the old pre-revolutionary struggle of the 1880's onward, was
well aware of how many Jewish comrades in the Russian Social Democratic
Labor Party had preferred their communist state in Palestine rather than
in Russia. With Israel's creation in 1948 many Jewish communists who had
spent their lives loyally serving the Bolshevik state were filled with
enthusiasm for communism ("Next year in Jerusalem"!). Slezkine
notes that the anti-Jewish purges moderated, then ceased, following Stalin's
death, but the amazing Jewish preponderance in the hierarchy of "scientific
socialism" was never totally regained. Jews did, however, remain prominent
in cultural and professional circles until the very end of the Soviet regime.
- "The Jewish Century" does an excellent job
of putting all this in proper historical context. As Slezkine notes, Russia's
Jews did not originate the revolutionary movements within the empire of
the tsars, but once they joined the revolution they became its most enthusiastic
and brutal champions. Jews provided an extremely disproportionate
number of the assassins and terrorists of the pre-1917 period. Whenever
a tsarist minister or official was blown up, shot, knifed, or splashed
with acid, the chances were one in four to one in two that the miscreant
was a Jew. It was the Jewess, Hessia Helfman, who plotted the assassination
of Tsar Alexander 2. Mordecai Bogrov, Gershuni and Vera Finger were other
well-known Jewish assassins of the 1880-1917 period. Their murderous activities
would be continued with a vengeance by the OGPU/NKVD under such worthies
as Moishe Uritsky, Henrik Yagoda, and Lavrenti Beria.
- As Yuri Slezkine notes, Jews did not just practice communism
in Russia; they practiced it in the United States as well. Whenever the
Kremlin looked for agents in the United States it first sought out children
of Russian Jews. When Senator McCarthy's hearings were at their height
the vast majority of the accused were very obviously Jewish a fact
which led to a quick attack of "synthetic patriotism" made to
order for the occasion by the Jewish defense agencies, the American Jewish
Committee in particular. However, political expediency, then and now, prevented
any direct attack on the real problem. Jewish communism in Russia was waning
about the same time that Jewish radicalism in the United States was about
to accelerate. The 1960's saw an explosion of leftist radicalism in which
the Jewish component was, as Slezkine admits, of almost the same ratio
as the Jewish involvement in communism of the 1920's and the 1930's. Without
the Jews, no 1960's. Several social scientists of the "decade which
changed everything" determined that being Jewish was the single most
important factor in predicting radical behavior.
- One cannot read "The Jewish Century" without
thinking of the image of Red Auerbach lighting up his cigar as coach of
the Boston Celtics. Were the year 1950, 1960, or even arguably 1970, Yuri
Slezkine could never have written "The Jewish Century"
and Princeton University Press would never have considered publishing it.
In scholarly, matter of fact, ever so slightly boastful language, "The
Jewish Century" is everything an erudite, closet anti-Semite could
ask for. It documents the Jewish disproportion in and arguably collective
responsibility for history's greatest crime in a fashion which none
can dispute. It does not directly raise certain untidy questions, but it
certainly implies them. One can only wonder if some day another Yuri Slezkine
will write a book arguing in favor of the infamous Protocols of the Learned
Elders of Zion, or even propose an alternative history of World War 2 and