Don’t Simplify Soviet Jewry Movement
A recent letter tries to connect the solidarity marches by the American Jewish community on behalf of the Soviet Jews with current events in several Middle Eastern countries (“Another Freedom Sunday,” Jan. 11). It poses a question regarding what the reaction would be “if 250,000 Muslims had their Freedom Sunday demanding free emigration from the totally fractured Middle Eastern countries.”
For those too young to remember, let me explain. The Jews were the “whipping boy” of the Soviet empire, trapped in an impossible situation where they were called a fifth column and blamed for all the misfortunes that occurred in the country. They were discriminated against simply for being born to Jewish parents, never mind that they were not allowed to even know what it means to be Jewish.
After the Six-Day War, Soviet Jews had an awakening: They threw caution to the wind and began to demand exit visas in order to emigrate from the unholy country. It was their freedom to leave that Soviet Jews and their American coreligionists were demanding. Their visas, by and large, were denied and some of them were prosecuted. This is where American Jews got together and demanded the freedom to emigrate for Soviet Jewry.
Returning to the letter, I am rather confused by his statement that Muslims should demand free emigration from their Muslim-majority countries. Who exactly is denying their exit? If what is actually meant is not emigration but immigration, like allowing them to come to the United States, this is completely different from what American Jews years ago were demanding.
The Jewish banner was “let my people go,” not let my people enter. When Soviet Jews were eventually allowed to leave, the majority went to Israel. Some came to the United States. The decision whom to admit or exclude was made by the State Department after long and careful vetting.
Luba Anton | Philadelphia
Hitler’s Man in the Middle East
Sean Durns is right to recall the recently celebrated 70th anniversary of the Nov. 29, 1947 U.N. General Assembly partition resolution and the virulent opposition to Jewish statehood that was led by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini (“An Overlooked Legacy of Arab Rejectionism,” Dec. 27).
Indeed, Husseini was not only a wartime Nazi ally, but already in 1937 had issued a seething, anti-Semitic declaration, calling upon Muslims everywhere to fight and kill the Jews, whom he described as the arch-enemies of Muslims and mankind.
During the war, Husseini’s declaration was published by the Nazis as “Islam und Judentum” (Islam and Jewry). It was distributed to the mostly Muslim members of the SS Handschar Division he was involved in forming, and which participated in war crimes against Jews, Serbs and other opponents of the Third Reich.
Thus, what is often simply called Palestinian nationalism was in fact a form of jihadist warfare upon the Jews created by a murderous Muslim supremacist — who could not accept the sovereign existence of Jews anywhere in the Middle East and who collaborated with Hitler to see that most European Jews were murdered.
Morton A. Klein | National President, Zionist Organization of America