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A Fictional Account of an American Jewess’s Romance with Communism, and Its Consequences

Dec. 21 2016

In her debut novel The Patriots, Sana Krasikov tells the story of an American Jewish woman who, under the thrall of Communism and young love, follows a Russian engineer to the Soviet Union, and of her son, who is born and grows up there. Wynn Wheldon writes in his review:

The Patriots has the weight of a classic. While its scenes are almost always intimate, conducted between two or three people (though there is a very well done tawdry embassy party), they are more often than not governed by events in the world beyond them, over which they have no control.

Krasikov shows us this trampling of the private by the public in the name of Communist pieties. Of all these pieties, the requirement to betray your friend, your country, your family, in order to serve the party, is the most psychically cruel if not the most physically disturbing. . . .

The Patriots is hung, as a narrative, on a series of true-life events, namely, the actual activities of real organizations: from the U.S.-Soviet trade deals of the late 1920s, through World War II, to Golda Meir’s visit to Moscow in 1948, to the anti-Semitic purge of 1952 (the Doctors’ Plot), and onward. Krasikov’s research has an exemplary thoroughness, whether describing a Stalin rally, or a Thai sex parlor, or listing the parts of a jet fighter. . . .

This is a book that informs as it questions. It has moral purpose. It gives us essentially the entire history of the USSR. It challenges readers to wonder what decisions they would have made in similar circumstances. And it tells us of how hope can be used [as a weapon] against a population.

 

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More about: American Jewish History, Arts & Culture, Communism, Literature, Soviet Jewry, Soviet Union

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations