New York Times:

The Jews Who Dreamed of Utopia

by Jason Farago

An exhibition in Vienna explores the role that Jewish philosophers, politicians and artists played in building communism and international socialism.

The Jewish Museum  has this exhibition.It is true that Jews were disproportionately represented among Communists. The words The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, pogrom, Cossack, Czarist secret police tend to explain this.

As Farrago admits, “This is hot stuff:” “that many communists were Jews has, with horrible frequency, been twisted to imply that all Jews were communists. The Nazis cast Jewish Bolshevism as a single scourge.”

But the Jewish museum blithely displays materials that could fuel this insanity.

Modris Ekstein, in his memoir Walking toward Dawn, mentions the presence of Jewish commissars  in the Soviet takeover and torture of the Baltic states in 1939-1941, and thinks that this explains, although it does not justify, the collaboration of the Baltic ethnic groups with the Nazis in the persecution of Jews.

Therefore the Jewish presence in Communism needs to be explored with the greatest caution. Farago sees the danger in the alt-right revival of anti-Semitic tropes; but of course the physical attacks on Jews have all been committed by Muslims, not right wingers. Muslims have little use for Communism, and anything that tends to cement the identification of Jews and Communism is, as Farago admits, hot stuff.

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