To the letters editor: I would like to submit this for your consideration.

Yehuda Lev who has been writing for the Jewish Journal for years has on many occasions caused me to squirm in my seat. Yes, I often disagree with Mr. Lev and his view on things. However, I have enjoyed reading him so as to get a bead on the responsible Jewish left. He is so good it is often difficult to discern when he slants something to make his point.

Take for example his commentary on the 50th anniversary of the U.N. passing of the partition plan this past week. “Since the Partition” Nov. 28 -Dec. 4th. He describes in typical Yehuda Lev articulate style the events that surrounded Nov. 29, 1997. I have a particular problem with the way he presents the Soviet Union’s role in the matter. This is the first time I have ever read that the Soviets motives to vote for partition were driven by the future scenario that they could step in and support  the Arabs to gain their foothold in the Middle East.

It is true that they were looking to establish themselves in that area as they did with every region on Earth. But there support for partition came out of Socialist alliances that existed in Palestine at the time. Not as Mr. Lev insinuates that their intent was  to vote for partition and then support Arab action against it. Within months of the establishment of the government it became clear to Stalin that Ben Gurion’s administration was trying to camp itself in the sphere of the West. With in a very short time they flip flopped their position on Palestine and regretted their  vote for partition ever since. Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet delegate to the U.N. at the time said years later that the Soviet Union rued the day that they ever helped the “Zionist imperialists” to reach their decadent capitalist goals.

The reason why the Soviets agreed to support the Jewish entity lied in the fact that they had many allies in Palestine. They were hoping that the harder socialist elements in the Yishuv,and there were many at the time, would be able to take control and thus give Stalin the real foothold that he wanted in the Middle East. A Full blown Soviet client state. But this was not to be. Ben Gurion, who over the years grew very impressed with American democracy easily won out over the Stalinist influence in the gov’t.  We must remember our history. The Jews that built Palestine were mostly left wing and students in the fullest sense of Karl Marx. After all, the kibbutz as pure a democratic form as it is, is a Marxian concept.

Stalin had many spies in that country. The Soviets were able to place people way up in the gov’t. For many years after the creation of the state, Israel was plagued with spying not from the west but from the Soviet Union. They were able to move very easily through Israeli society, mainly because of being of Jewish extraction and the overall sympathy that Israeli socialism lent itself towards Marx.

There is a famous case that is well known in Israeli circles, of a Soviet Spy that was very close to Ben Gurion and was not caught until 1958. He did a lot of damage. I remember reading about it years ago when I was living there. His apprehension drew much speculation that if a Soviet spy could rise that high in the Israeli gov’t how many others were there and never caught. What’s more what kind of intelligence were they privy to and what did they pass on to their superiors in the Kremlin. An awesome thought to those of us who hold freedom and democracy so dear.

The other thing in Mr. Lev’s article that caught my eye is this. He wrote “Great Britain, no longer in need of Palestine to protect the Suez Canal and maintain its lifeline to the East, held out until the Suez War of 1956, when Gen. Nasser of Egypt defeated a combined British-French attempt to keep the canal.” Maybe this is misprinted or just overlooked but  Egypt lost that war. The British  and the French were involved in the victory but even a first year “yeshiva boocha” knows that it was Israel that did the dirty work of going to war with the Egyptians and defeating them soundly in short order. The British and the French only came in for the mopping up stage. But this is a discussion for another time.

Photo at top courtesy of Zionism-Israel.com

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