Bourgeois Nationalism and the <em>Morning Freiheit</em>?

Morris Rapaport

Communication: Bourgeois Nationalism and the Morning Freiheit

First Published: Jewish Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 12-Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1972-January 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Carl Bloice’s letter to the editor of the Morning Freiheit, Paul Novick, hit the nail on the head. Novick is parading as the “leading Marxist-Leninist” in the U.S. Jewish community. He preaches “secure and recognized borders” for Israel, a “balanced approach,” distinctions between “good and bad Zionists, “Lenin’s socialism” and many other phrases to chocolate-coat his bourgeois nationalism.

Since World War II and especially since the birth of Israel, he has gone further and further in the direction of bourgeois nationalism. With the June 1967 war of aggression by Israel he put the finishing touches on it, lining up with the “Maki” renegades from the Communist Party of Israel, saying: “We agree with Maki, or they agree with us, that Israel defended itself in the six-day war; this is fundamental.” (Morning Freiheit, January 1, 1971.) The leading Israeli military spokesmen are gradually admitting to the world that the 1967 war was planned, organized and executed by the Israeli army against the Arab peoples, but such admissions fall on deaf ears in Novick’s case.

Combined with this is his ever increasing “friendly criticism” of the USSR in the Morning Freiheit. This has contributed heavily toward undermining the strong attachment traditionally held by progressive Jewish workers for the USSR and proletarian internationalism.

Those who oppose the aggressive war of the Israeli Zionist leaders are called “dogmatists,” but in 1932 Novick wrote in his pamphlet Palestine, the Arabs and Zionism:

“Zionism, which was from its very inception devised as a tool in the struggle against the working class, continues to play this role .... The Jewish bourgeoisie in the U.S. plays a predominant role in the Zionist adventures, seeking to mobilize the Jewish masses for its own ends and the aims of American imperialism. . . . Communists have the same approach to the Arabs as they have to all nations. . . . We are witnessing in Palestine a class struggle, and by emphasizing this class struggle we will lessen the opportunity of the Jewish bourgeoisie or the Jewish intellectuals to mislead the Jewish masses and to foster the class interests of the bourgeoisie.

So spoke Paul Novick when he believed in the working class. Now he retreats from the class position on every occasion. His letters to Carl Bloice and Pearl Kimel are a restatement of his present views – bankrupt with racist trimmings.

His denial of a fascist possibility in Israel can only help to enhance the danger of fascism. Such an anti-Leninist approach rejects the classic definition of fascism of Georgi Dimitroff, which Novick used to quote ever so often. It puts a brake on the mobilization of a united front led by the working class and the Party to halt this beast before it brings disaster to the Israeli people.

The Morning Freiheit conducted a vigorous campaign for Nixon’s defeat which is good. But at the same time they uncritically endorsed McGovern while the campaign of the Communist Party for its candidates Gus Hall and Jarvis Tyner received little if any attention. The Party’s campaign brought class clarity and raised the banner of socialism and proletarian internationalism before the working and oppressed masses. Nearly 400, 000 signatures were collected. Millions of pieces of literature were distributed. Millions of people heard the candidates on radio and television and in mass meetings. Yet the Morning Freiheit did not discuss or analyze this campaign or suggest to its readers that they do so, much less endorse the Communist Party ticket. (Maimudes did, however, give some space to it in his weekly column from Los Angeles.) Even after the elections the Morning Freiheit’s evaluation of the campaign (November 9, 1972) contained not a word about the Communist Party’s role, and the next day a six-column article by Novick entitled “Lessons from the Elections” again ignored the Party’s existence. In the past the Morning Freiheit traditionally supported Communist Party candidates. One must ask: what has happened?

We, the readers and supporters of the Morning Freiheit, must demand an explanation from Paul Novick and his editorial staff. Opportunistic bourgeois nationalism has taken its toll. It is a heavy price that the progressive Jewish movement has paid. A 180-degree turn is necessary, back on the road to proletarian internationalism. The situation demands it.