Friday, November 23, 2007

Attack of the Rehabilitated Pogromists, Part Two- The Revenge

A reader takes issue with my characterization of Ukranian nationalism as willfully ignorant or outright revisionist when it comes to some of their greatest heroes:
On Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, next to the Theodore Herzl's tomb there is another one, a great Jew is buried here - Zeev Jabotinsky.

"Nobody will persuade me, or another Zionist of South Russia able to think, that Petlyura was a pogrom-maker." Zeev Jabotinsky, 1926.

Read your history ! - a good advise.

Read your history is indeed good advice- so that's exactly what I did. First of all, there were plenty of Jews and Zionists, then and now, who were less than affectionate towards Jabotinsky. The fact that he was a brilliant orator and talented statesman does not mean that every political theory (or alliance) that he supported was a good idea, whether on a nationalist scale or otherwise.

Jabotinsky actually tried to create an alliance with Petlyura in 1921- he would raise Jewish divisions who would accompany Petylura's troops and protect Jewish civilians from any attacks that might occur. This already suggests that Jabo's view of Petly's men wasn't very charitable. At best, this was an alliance of necessity, to protect Jews from Petlyura's men- so either Petlyura was encouraging pogroms, or he was generally indifferent to what his men were doing, or he couldn't control his forces. Which is better?

Of course, the agreement turned out to be moot since it never actually materialized- the agreement fell through and Pety's men were quickly repulsed by the Red Army , leading to several more years of back-and-forth semi-guerrilla fighting.

What was the reaction of other Zionists to Jabo's support of Petly? Most sources make a direct connection between the discovery of Jabo's attempted alliance with Petly to his forced resignation from the World Zionist Organization:

the courtship between Jabotinsky and Petlyura provoked a condemnation of revisionists by the main body of Zionism and exacerbated the bitter rivalry between Jabotinsky and David Ben Gurion. Jabotinsky was soon pushed out of the leadership of the world Zionist movement and his revisionist Zionism existed on the right margin of the movement up until the 1970's.

the ties between Petlyura and Jabotinsky are used by the Ukrainian nationalists today to rehabilitate Petlyura: after all, here is one of the founders of Zionism, Vladimir Jabotinsky supporting and discussing with Petlyura, concluding military agreements with him, condemning his killing in 1926, etc. The readers might, without much difficulty, find today writings of Ukrainian “historians”, who proclaim Symon Petlyura to be a defender of Jews.

The above source gives the Reds too much credit, in my opinion. Read Babel's Red Cavalry and you'll see that, regardless of what the lawmakers were doing in Moscow, troops on the front line weren't very charitable to Jews (compare to Ansky's Enemy at His Pleasure, during WWI- you'll notice there isn't much difference between White Russians and Reds). But yeah, showing me one quote by the Zionist most identified as Petlyura's shill doesn't impress me much. Jabo liked rightwingers, period. He was also a fan of the Italian Fascists, and the Lehi tried to facilitate a deal with the Nazis to set up a totalitarian Palestine. Having one Court Jew doesn't rubber stamp everything you do.

P.S. About Shukhevych - no evidence of his implication in anti Jewish actions were found - up to now. Only soviet propaganda.

Yeah, Yad Vashem's totally controlled by the Kremlin. Especially now, 15 years after the Soviets have ceased to exist. Look, I don't think that Yad Vashem's beyond any problems itself- but you can't deny that it is an independent organization, who's been doing this research for 50-plus years.

Yad Vashem's job is to dig. The Ukrainian government's job is to cover its own ass. Guess who I trust more.

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