First Published: Morning Freiheit, June 29, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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(Morning Freiheit Editorial of June 18)
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On Tuesday, June 17, the Daily World printed a letter from a reader sharply attacking the Morning Freiheit for criticizing an anti-Semitic article that appeared in the Soviet magazine, Ogonyok on October 14, 1974. The writer of the letter praised the Daily World for the two articles it published on this subject on May 10 and 13, 1975. This material, published as an official statement of the Jewish Commission of the Communist Party, USA, bitterly attacked the Morning Freiheit for its criticism of the anti-Semitic articles and pamphlets that have been appearing in the Soviet Union during the past few years.
If this letter had appeared in the regular “Our Readers Say” column in the Daily World we would probably have ignored it, but it was prominently displayed in another part of the paper under the headline, “Answering the Freiheit’s Lies.”
The prominence given to the letter and the headline that accompanied it indicated that the Daily World agrees with what it says.
The writer of the letter believes that it was not enough to publish the Jewish Commission statement, and suggests that it be made available in pamphlet form in both Yiddish and English for mass distribution, so as to repel the “anti-Soviet slanders” of the Morning Freiheit. The letter-writer reminds his readers that “anti-Semitism is a sensitive issue in the minds of the Jewish workers, and therefore it must be made clear constantly that anti-Semitism is a crime in the USSR.”
It is true that, according to the Soviet Constitution, all expressions of prejudice against ethnic groups is a crime. Unfortunately, not one of the many Soviet writers who have written anti-Semitic articles and pamphlets has yet been punished for his crimes. Nor has any punishment been meted out to the editors of the periodicals in which this anti-Semitism has appeared.
The Daily World speaks of the “lies” in the Morning Freiheit, but the statement of the Communist Party’s Jewish Commission admits that the Ogonyok article by Dimitri Zhukov was anti-Semitic. The first part of the statement in the Daily World on May 10 said:
“To be sure in condemning it [the Morning Freiheit], we cannot defend the Zhukov article itself; it contains a number of gross inaccuracies and statements with distinct anti-Semitic implications. He (Zhukov) tends to identify Zionism not as a political movement, however reactionary and pro-imperialist, but as a secret conspiracy of Jewish capitalists. He (Zhukov) cites as an authority for the alleged affluence of Jews, the nazi ideologue Werner Sombart, and he adds the astounding statement that in tsarist Russia less than 1 percent of the Jews were proletarians – a complete perversion of reality. He also repeats uncritically a statement in the book under review that three-fourths of the profits extracted from Latin America since World War II have gone to the monopolies led by the Zionist elite. Clearly the article propagates anti-Semitic stereotypes and it violates the precepts of Soviet socialism and Leninist principles. It is unquestionably deserving of the severest criticism.”
From the above quotations in the Daily World it is clear that the Morning Freiheit did not lie; the Morning Freiheit did exactly what the statement of the party’s Jewish Commission said should have been done, that is, “to severely criticize” the Ogonyok article. The question is: Do the editors of the Daily World read their own paper, which on May 10 published the statement of the Jewish Commission which branded the Ogonyok article as “anti-Semitic”? Or was this statement also a “lie?”
And here’s another question: Why should one only “severely criticize” the Zhukov article? What is wrong in calling upon the Soviet government to severely punish those who violate the Constitution by committing crimes against Leninist principles? And why is it that the writer of the above letter and also the Jewish Commission’s statement fail to mention that other anti-Semitic articles have appeared in the Soviet press in recent years. We will not at this time go into the substance of the many anti-Semitic articles by such writers as Bolshakov, Begun, Yevseyev, Mayatsky, Ivanov, Kolesnikov and others. If the readers of the Daily World have never heard about them, perhaps it is because their writings are hidden from them by their newspaper.
We on the Morning Freiheit view the attacks against us that have been appearing in the Daily World as aimed at destroying the Morning Freiheit and the progressive Jewish movement and bringing disunity to the entire progressive movement. Such attacks help no one but the real anti-Sovieteers and the enemies of detente and peace in the Middle East. They help all those Jewish publications in Yiddish and English that daily conduct campaigns for war, chauvinism and racism and against which only the Morning Freiheit constantly struggles.
We repudiate the charge that the Morning Freiheit is anti-Soviet because it opposes anti-Semitic manifestations in the Soviet Union. To the contrary, our paper, through its criticism, helps to eliminate those harmful manifestations and thus bolsters belief in socialism which is incompatible with anti-Semitism.
“Friends” of the Soviet Union who try to cover up the facts do enormous harm in the struggle against the haters of the Soviet Union and of socialism generally.
The only ones to gain by this are the racists, anti-Semites and reactionaries in the USA.
We strongly urge the editors of the Daily World to halt their attacks before any further damage is done to the progressive movement.
(Transl. by I.K.)