The Western Front

Plus ça Change . . .

In the December 27, 2002, issue of the English edition of Forward, self-described Orthodox Jew David Klinghoffer attacks Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for his recent book Two Hundred Years Together.  In this historical work, Solzhenitsyn deals with Jews and Russians living side by side from 1775, when Russia came to occupy the heavily Jewish regions of Eastern Poland and Lithuania, until after the fall of communism in 1995.  Although the book does not attack collectively all Eastern European Jews and praises the filial pietism and customary life associated with the Orthodox, Klinghoffer accuses Solzhenitsyn of “cast[ing] Jewish socialists in the role of demonic villains, seeking to overturn Russian society in the years before and after the 1917 Revolution.”  He notes that Russian historian Richard Pipes (himself Jewish), writing in the New Republic, agrees that Jews played a pivotal role in the Russian Revolution and that Pipes does not impute to Solzhenitsyn any sinister purpose.  Klinghoffer, however, remains unconvinced.  He accuses the Russian author of “invidious age-old distinctions,” and, though he does not treat him as harshly as he does Jesus (Who abetted Christian antisemitism “by constantly fussing with the rabbinic sages”), he considers Solzhenitsyn a troublemaker.  Solzhenitsyn’s “tendency to split us into good and bad Jews is very...

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