Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Academics Hit New Kichko Book As Anti-semitic, Protest to Western Communist Leaders

May 5, 1969
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A committee of 3,000 American college faculty members has reported today that a new anti-Semitic book has been published with official sanction in the Soviet Union by Ukrainian author Trofim Kichko who wrote a similar tome five years ago which touched off worldwide criticism and led to a retraction by Soviet authorities.

Dr. Nathan Glazer of Harvard University, chairman of the Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry, said that Kichko apparently had been “rehabilitated” because of the Soviet Union’s intensified anti-Israel campaign. He reported also that the committee had sent appeals to Communist leaders and editors in 11 Western countries, urging their public condemnation of the new Kichko opus, “Judaism and Zionism.” Many of the Western Communists had denounced Kichko’s “Judaism Without Embellishment” as viciously anti-Semitic.

The new work was published as a 94-page paperback last August by the Enlightenment (Znania) Society of Kiev, a Government agency for promotion of atheism, Dr. Glazer said. He added that the new book “repeats the strident anti-Semitism” of and lifts whole sections from “Judaism Without Embellishment,” published by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in 1963 and exposed in the West in 1964 when a copy was shown and its content denounced at a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The unprecedented worldwide criticism that erupted led to a special meeting of the Ideological Commission of the Soviet Communist Party, which repudiated the author and ordered the book withdrawn.

Dr. Glazer declared that the fact that Kichko “has resurfaced with official blessings as a widely published author in the Ukraine is an ominous and depressing development. This new book is an important element in a larger propaganda campaign to poison the atmosphere for Soviet Jews. “Judaism Without Embellishment” had a press run of 12,000 copies. A notation in “Judaism and Zionism” claims a first publication of 60,000 copies, Dr. Glazer said.

The committee’s appeal has been sent to such Communist leaders as Waldeck Rochet, general secretary of the French party, and Luigi Longo, head of the Communist Party in Italy. Both had severely denounced the first Kichko book. Jean Paul Sartre also has received the appeal.

The committee said, in an analysis of the new book that it was “filled with derision, contempt and disgust for the Jewish religion, the Jewish faith and practices and for its practitioners.” It accuses “ideologists of Judaism” of teaching Jews “to hate people of other faiths and even exterminate them.” Distorting biblical quotations, Kichko depicts Jews as “ruthless cosmopolitans” disloyal to the Soviet society and cites acts of “consorting” between Israeli Zionists and American “imperialists” and “neo-fascists” of West Germany as “proof.” “Cosmopolitanism” was a favored device of Stalin in his anti-Jewish purges of the late 1940s.

However, the new book does not contain the cartoons of vulgar anti-Semitic stereotypes, many of them markedly similar to those of the Nazi era, which illustrated Kichko’s first book and which were a particular target of criticism of it.

After the official repudiation of that book, little was heard from the author until he “was brought forward to play a leading role in the orchestrated propaganda campaign against Israel and Zionism,” Prof. Glazer said. A Kichko article in Komsomolskaya Znamya, the daily newspaper of the Ukrainian Young Communist leader, on Oct. 4, 1967, assailed “a conspiracy of Jewish millionaires, Western imperialists, American capitalists, Zionist ideologues and Israeli leaders, aimed at world conquest.” Dr. Glazer noted that “Judaism Without Embellishment” was recently published in Warsaw in Polish and circulated in Poland during the recent anti-Jewish purges there.

Recommended from JTA