Russians hold up a flag emblazoned with Communist leader Vladimir Lenin.
(photo credit: EDUARD KORNIYENKO)
At this time of centennials and other commemorations, a cataclysmic historic event a century ago that still impacts the Jewish people has passed largely unnoticed. Israel still suffers the direct effects of the Bolshevik Revolution that began with the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg on October 25, 1917.
It is notably curious, first of all, that in Russia of all places this centennial event is not being marked by massive state observances, but relegated to provincial events organized locally. At this era of Russian ascendancy, especially in the Middle East, one wonders whether President Vladimir Putin’s playing down of the Bolshevik centennial has to do with guilt over Russia bringing the devastation of communism upon the world.
Revolutionary violence unleashed decades of catastrophic suffering for millions of that country’s population, particularly Ukrainians and Jews. Incredible violence was perpetrated by the regimes of Lenin and Stalin against their own people, let alone countries that yielded to communist domination.
The antisemitism of the Soviet Union was nothing new to the Jews, whom communism deprived of their heritage and eventually denied the right to emigrate to Israel. The historic antisemitic motif of czarist Russia was “Beat the Yids, save Russia.” Today, this might be phrased by Hamas as “Beat the Yids, save Palestine.”
The Middle East inheritors of historic Russian antisemitism were at first the Arab terrorists lauded by Lenin for perpetrating the Hebron massacre of 1929. This became the terrorist legacy of Yasser Arafat, who would seek to destroy the state of the Jews.
The world should remember the Bolshevik Revolution, for it changed history. As Prof. Ruth Wisse wrote in a recent Tablet article on the impact of the revolution upon the world and the Jewish people: “This is Soviet Communism we are talking about – that killed an estimated 30 million of its own citizens, including through a government-enforced famine in Ukraine, the details of which even people hardened by Holocaust literature have trouble reading. Hitler killed a million Jewish children; Stalin killed more than twice as many children of the Ukraine alone.
“This is the movement that struck a pact with Hitler precipitating the war against Poland, and built the Gulag, which far surpassed Hitler’s concentration-camp network in the number of victims.”
The Soviets pursued their impossible goal of enslaving the entire world to their doomed system of government utilizing propaganda that introduced an updated version of 1984.
According to Wisse, “This was the totalitarian regime that perfected Orwellian language in a culture of lying that not only camouflaged its evil through innocuous terminology – as the Nazis did with terms like resettlement for extermination and cleansing for murder – but justified a culture of spying, expropriation, mass murder, and tyrannical rule in the name of ‘egalitarianism’ and ‘international peace.’” The Soviet heirs of their murdered czar amplified the worst of traditional Russian, East Orthodox antisemitism, which grew to monstrous proportions from Lenin through Brezhnev. At least czarist-era Jews knew they were Jews by virtue of their historic heritage, the practice of which was denied by the champions of socialist equality.
Russia today is deeply involved with the jihadist Iranian regime that daily threatens the Jewish state with annihilation.
In terms of our daily reality, this same hatred is seen in the mindless support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement by US college students who should know better. The failure of the alt-Left to condemn such hatred is another indication of the effectiveness of brainwashing and spin.
As Wisse concludes, “The Soviets hailed the 1929 Arab massacres of Jews in Palestine as the start of the Arab Communist Revolution and formulated the slogans of anti-Zionism that are the basis of antisemitism in America today. Soviet propaganda accused Jews of imperialism in the 1930s and (with the Arabs) of racism in the 1970s.”
Sounding the alarm about today’s ongoing Arab racism toward Israel is a fitting way for Jews to observe the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution.