Strangers Among Us


David Ben-Gurion, the widely revered first prime minister of modern Israel, once stated that "the basis of Zionism is neither friendship nor sympathy but the love of Israel, of the state of Israel ... It must be unconditional love. There must be complete solidarity with the state and people of Israel." Such sentiments underscore a huge but unspoken problem in America -- widespread Jewish American sympathy for and loyalty to Israel, the Jewish State. A Zionist, as Ben-Gurion defined the term, clearly cannot be fully American. His primary loyalties will always lie elsewhere.

"No other ethnic group in American history has so extensive an involvement with a foreign nation [Israel]," wrote Melvyn Urofsky in 1975. "No other nation relies upon a body of private individuals who are neither residents nor citizens of their land to underwrite a major portion of their budget. American Jews buy Israeli bonds, give generously to the United Jewish Appeal, lobby government representatives to pursue pro-Israel policy, travel to Israel (where they are greeted with 'Welcome Home' signs), respond to every crisis in that part of the world, and yet maintain passionately that they are Americans first and Jews afterward" (Urofsky, 1).

In 1987, nearly a million adult American Jews (of a total man, woman, and child U.S. population of approximately six million) felt their transnational Jewish identity sufficiently important to actually register to vote in that year's World Zionist Congress elections (Goldberg, JJ). In the 1940s, 955,000 American Jews (of a total man, woman, and child population of 5 million) "formally belonged to one of dozens of Zionist organizations" (Urofsky, 126). Yet these striking figures actually underestimate the extent of American Jewry's tribal loyalties, for even those American Jews who are not formal members of such organizations often have strong Zionist attachments. As Kevin Avruch notes of American Jews who immigrated to Israel in the late 1960s and early 1970s: "Anywhere from 40 to 65 percent of all American olim [immigrants to Israel] were not members of any Zionist organization in the United States ... It is important to understand that commitment to Zionist ideology can exist quite separate from a concomitant commitment to Zionist organizations" (Avruch, K., 1981, 50).

And what conclusions should an impartial observer draw from the following Zionist volume, published every year in Israel? In English, it is entitled Who's Who in Israel and Jewish Personalities from All Over the World. More bluntly, however, in its Hebrew version this lengthy list of prominent Jews is entitled Who's Who In Israel and In the Work for Israel Abroad. The different titles reveal a consistent thread in the lives of Diaspora Jewry: on the one hand a passionate commitment to other Jews and to the Jewish State of Israel, on the other an extreme reluctance to acknowledge openly to non-Jews the depth of their transnational Jewish loyality.

Jewish "peoplehood," Zionism, and all other Jewish transnational allegiances to Israel today are, in fact, enduring abrogrations of the very conditions under which, during the European Enlightenment, equal rights were initally granted to Jews, as epitomized in the famous remarks of Clermont Tonnerre in 1791:

Everything shall be denied to the Jews as a nation; everything should be granted to them as individuals. They are obliged to become [French] citizens. Some argue that they do not want to be. Let them say this themselves and let them be expelled. It is impossible for them to be a nation within a nation.
As Jonathan Sacks, England's Chief Rabbi, noted 200 years later:
Enlightenment thought had stressed the idea of universal humanity on one hand and the abstract individual on the other, freed from the constraints of tradition to make his own world of meanings through his choices. This was a language into which traditional Jewish identity could not be translated ... The terms of emancipation liberated Jews as individuals, not as a collectivity.
The question, as always, begs to be answered yet again in our own day: As a collective group, where do primary Jewish loyalties really lie? With America, or with Israel? With their fellow citizens in the nations wherein they live, or with other Jews across the globe? Do Jewish loyalties reside primarily in their host nations, or do their real allegiances point first to Israel and the particularist demands of Jewish brotherhood? American Jewry answers the question the way it has for decades: bringing up the question of dual loyalty, they argue, is a malicious act of anti-Semitism, and their dual passports, dual allegiances, and deep emotional roots in Israel are merely an expression of American democracy.

Jonathan PollardThe most sensational expression of the dual loyalty issue in America in recent years was the 1987 case of Jonathan Pollard, an American-born Jew who worked in a sensitive position in the U.S. Navy. Pollard became a spy for the Israeli government and passed along more than 800 "top secret" documents to his "first loyalty," the Jewish State. For seventeen months he had been in daily contact with Israeli co-conspirators, two of whom were later given military promotions in Israel. The government prosecutor in the case, Joseph di Genova, has stated that Pollard's spying "was the largest physical compromise of United States classified information in the twentieth century." The Defense Secretary at the time of Pollard's arrest, Caspar Weinberger, wrote a 46-page document to the Federal Court stating that he "could not conceive of greater harm to national security" than Pollard's spying. [Image: Jonathan Pollard.]

At the first news of the Pollard case, an American Jewish Committee member in Washington DC warned that "if it was perceived in America that we had come to the defense of Pollard because he's a Jew, our credibility as a Jewish community would be down to zero overnight and Israel would be the loser." But in fact as the story about the Jewish American spy unraveled, it turned out to be not nearly as threatening to the Jewish community as some had feared. One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole Pollard affair was that so few Americans had any grasp of what was actually going on in the case, despite the severity of Pollard's treason. A New York Times/CBS poll in 1987 was undertaken one month after Pollard's sentencing. "A very surprising finding," says Hyman Bookbinder, "was the amount of general ignorance of the Pollard case. Only 18% of American non-Jews knew that it was Israel for whom Pollard had spied [and] 13% thought it had been the Soviet Union!" That same year, Bookbinder adds, saw no cut in America's economic aid to Israel "despite the Federal budget crisis that required protracted negotiations and cuts in many domestic programs. The full $3 billion for Israel in military and economic aid, the same as the preceding year, was approved -- all of it an outright grant."

Within a few years the highly implausible claim could be heard in the Jewish community that Pollard had been sentenced to prison for so long, not for his crime, but because of anti-Semitism. "Israel must become intimately involved in the Jonathan Pollard case," the (New York) Jewish Week editorialized in 1991. "Israel's founders envisioned a state that would protect any Jew, wherever, who suffered from anti-Semitism. Pollard is unquestionably such a victim." Among Jews, remarked Alan Dershowitz, Pollard's lawyer, "the mood was changing perceptibly in Pollard's favor." An indication of this changing mood was a 1990 statement supporting leniency for Pollard signed by the American Jewish Congress and the West Coast B'nai B'rith. Further support came from prominent Jewish public figures, Eli Wiesel and Arthur Hertzberg; a former President of the World Jewish Congress, Philip Klutznick; the leaders of three major rabbinical seminaries; and the Washington Board of Rabbis, who asked the President to commute Pollard's sentence. In January 1996 Israel awarded Pollard, despite his conviction and imprisonment, formal Israeli citizenship. "Pollard's lawyers," noted the Boston Globe, "hope the Israeli government will act to free him the same as it does prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action." (It wasn't until 1998 that Israel formally admitted Pollard had spied for them.)

One innovative tactic employed in Pollard's defense by the American Jewish community has been to transform their defense of a convicted spy into an assault on the legitimacy of his sentence, charging that not only was Pollard's long prison term motivated by anti-Semitism, but that Israel was entitled to whatever information he stole from the U.S. military. In a 1998 issue of the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Anne Roiphe appealed to her fellow Jews: "Maybe we haven't found the smoking gun [of anti-Semitism], but most of us believe in some way [Pollard's] unequal treatment, this odd matter of why Israel didn't have the information Pollard gave them, is related to anti-Semitism." An extremely rare voice in the Jewish community was that of Joseph Aaron:

The Jewish community's behavior has been shameful. Almost all Jews, and even more sickeningly, almost all Jewish organizations have taken up Pollard's cause. They have called for his release and have either stated or implied that anti-Semitism is keeping him in jail ... Now you have to believe that every top American official -- Democrat or Republican, civilian and military, executive branch and legislative -- is an anti-Semite or you've got to recognize that Pollard did such overwhelming harm that all agree he must be punished by staying in prison the rest of his life. Still, most American Jews call for his release ... how many Jews have I heard say, "Well, he was doing it for Israel" -- as if that made it OK or at least not so bad, as if doing it for Israel is any kind of excuse or explanation or factor.
The Pollard case is by no means unique. A few years after his conviction, a Jewish army engineer, David Tenenbaum admitted to passing along classified information to an Israeli officer at the United States Army Tank Automotive and Armament Command in the Detroit area. In fact, from the mid-1960s to mid-1980s there have been 40 formal investigations into Americans working for Israel (Findley, 125). As early as 1963, as Seymour Hersh reports, American officials warned of "extensive penetration of the United States government [by Israeli spies]" (Hersh, 162).

A 1979 CIA report noted that "Israelis devote a considerable proportion of their covert operations to obtaining scientific and technical intelligence. This has included attempts to penetrate certain classified defense projects in the United States and other Western nations" (Green, 253). In 1971, for instance, a Swiss court sentenced a Jewish-Swiss engineer, Alfred Frauenknecht, to four and a half years in prison, "but only after he had transferred to Mossad agents some 200,000 blueprints and the specifications for the precise machine tools used in the Mirage's [the French-Swiss military jet] construction" (Black, 235).

Victor Ostrovsky, a former Israeli Mossad officer and secret agent, left that organization on moral grounds. In his 1990 By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer, Ostrovsky reported that about two dozen Israeli agents are "actively spying, recruiting, organizing and carrying out covert activities, mainly in New York and Washington, which they refer to as their playground" (Ostrovsky, 269).

Throughout the world, many Jewish citizens of other nations in all walks of life function as extensions of the Mossad, Israel's CIA. They are called, in Hebrew, sayanim. ("Our greatest advantage," noted Mossad official Shmuel Toledano, in reviewing his career in the Israeli spy agency, "was always that we had people who could pass for any nationality. Arabs, Germans, whatever" (Black, 191). These sayanim, Ostrovsky writes

are a unique and important part of the Mossad's operation. Sayanim -- assistants -- must be 100 per cent Jewish. They live abroad, and though they are not Israeli citizens, many are reached through their relatives in Israel ... There are thousands of sayanim around the world. In London alone there are about 2,000 who are active, and another 5,000 on the [Mossad] list. They fulfill many different roles. A car sayan, for example, running a rental agency, could help the Mossad get a car without having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could get you money if you needed it in the middle of the night, a doctor sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to police, and so on.

The idea is to have a pool of people available when needed who can provide services but will keep quiet about them out of loyalty to the cause ... One thing you know for sure is that even if a Jewish person knows it is the Mossad, he might not agree to work with you -- but he won't turn you in. You have at your disposal a nonrisk recruitment system that actually gives you a pool of millions of Jewish people to tap from outside your own borders ... The one problem with the system is that the Mossad does not seem to care how devastating it could be to the status of the Jewish people in the diaspora if it was known" (Ostrovsky, 86-87).

In an unprecedented action, at Israel's request, an American judge in 1990 banned publication of Ostrovsky's book; the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division later rescinded the censorship. "The Israeli government," noted the Jewish Week, "claimed the book could imperil Mossad agents by blowing their cover." In 1995 Ostrowsky sued a Canadian television station that interviewed an Israeli journalist, Yosef Lapid, who proclaimed on air that he hoped "a decent Jew in Canada" would assassinate the telltale former Mossad member. Ostrovsky's home in Canada was burned down.

Dual loyalty, because it is so rarely challenged today, has invariably given rise to nakedly hostile and subversive statements by those obsessed with their Jewish identity. Consider the words of Jane Delynne, an American Jew who has reaped the benefits of life in America with three published novels, an Elizabeth Janeway Prize for Prose Writing, a Book of the Month Club Fellowship, and a New York Foundation Fellowship for the Arts. Her forum, from which the following is quoted, is not some obscure, fanatic off-the-edge cult magazine, but a 1989 book on Jewish identity by powerhouse publisher Random House, a fact that testifies to the disturbing acceptability of this kind of attitude -- as a legitimate opinion -- in the American Jewish community:

The existence of Israel is the reaffirmation of Jews as the chosen people ... Israel is suffused for me with a moral meaning absent from the existence of any other nation in the world. If there was a war between the United States and Israel, I would choose Israel. Sometimes I think I am secretly glad for its occasional brutality so that the world will know there is a monster out there -- a monster who will never forget [the Holocaust]. Although in general I believe in nuclear disarmament, I am glad Israel has the atomic bomb, and the continued existence of Israel is the only cause for which I consider it justifiable to use nuclear weapons. Let me put this in its starkest and ugliest light: I am not sure, but I believe that, if the choice were between the survival of Israel and that of the remaining 4 or 6 billion people of the world, I would choose the 4 million [Jews] (Delynn, 65).
Such a conviction merits serious attention for many reasons, among them the fact that American Jews, acting against the interests of the United States and on behalf of the Jewish State, were instrumental in helping Israel secretly develop its own arsenal of nuclear bombs, with which it now threatens its neighbors. Seymour Hersh, in his detailed study of the clandestine origin of Israel's nuclear program, notes that:
A few American nuclear physicists were known to have emigrated to Israel after World War II; one was a veteran of the Manhattan Project [America's nuclear bomb-making effort] who had worked until 1956 in the most sensitive areas of nuclear reactor design ... The CIA had even been tipped off about the fact that Israel was raising large sums of money for Dimona [the site of Israel's nuclear bomb center] from the American Jewish community (Hersh, 58).
Among the friends of Ernst David Bergmann (the "founder" of the Israeli atom bomb, whose father was one of leading rabbis in Berlin) was Lewis Strauss, the Jewish chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s. Strauss knew well of Israel's covert efforts to build nuclear weaponry. "Strauss's [Jewish] background and his strong feelings about the Holocaust," notes Seymour Hersh, "cannot be disregarded in analyzing why he did not tell anyone -- especially [his AEC chairman predecessor and eventual head of the CIA] John McCone -- about Dimona. Fair or not, the issue of 'dual loyalty' -- exemplified by Strauss's actions -- has been a very real concern to the American intelligence community since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948" (Hersh, 89).

Another American Jew sometimes mentioned as possibly influential in the development of Israel's nuclear bombs was Zalman Shapiro, who had a nuclear fuel processing business in Pennsylvania. Shapiro was an activist in the Zionist Organization of America. In 1965, the Atomic Energy Commission found that 200 pounds of enriched uranium was missing from his company's storehouses. Nothing was ever proven, but the CIA "found Shapiro's longstanding ties to Israel to be of continuing interest ... Shapiro, as the CIA and AEC never learned, did have a secret life. He had met and befriended many of Israel's senior nuclear scientists" (Hersh, 247).

"The dual loyalty question," wrote Anne Roiphe, "is one that anti-Semites use to isolate us politically in America. We're not supposed to discuss it. But the truth is that ... we are only Americans as long as America reins in its anti-Semites. We are Jews forever under all circumstances." Roiphe's comments echo the well-known statement, in the 1940s, by the prominent American rabbi Stephen Wise: "I may have been an American for sixty-four years, but I have been a Jew for four thousand years."

To understand the origins of Jewish dual loyalty, we must begin with a keystone of traditional Jewish identity: galut, a Hebrew word meaning "exile." Originally (and for many still today) grounded in religious conviction, the notion of galut has been emphatically renewed in contemporary Zionist secular ideology. The basic premise of galut is that Jews are everywhere estranged and alienated from the people and cultures around them; that they are intrinsically unfulfilled and restrained as Jews; that this condition is innately irresolvable; and that the only true remedy for Jewish dissatisfaction in galut is -- in both religious Orthodoxy and Zionist ideology -- a return to the homeland of Israel. "The golah [galut/exile]," says A.B. Yehoshua, "and our attitude to it defines the essence of the Jew." "Down through its history," according to the Encyclopedia Judaica, "the feeling of galut has been one of the most permanent and prolific incentives in Jewish thought."

Samuel Heilman describes this traditional Jewish separatist view in today's ultra-Orthodox:

Many of [the ultra-Orthodox] tried to remain strangers and sojourners in the contemporary secular world. That was the essential message they read in the promise by God in Leviticus 20:26: "And I will separate you from the nations to be for Me." One should not try to be a Frenchman, a German, an American, or even a secular Israeli or any other kind of citizen, but always a Jew. The world beyond the Jewish one was essentially evil and one must 'distance oneself from it ... so as to not learn its ways.' Jews could never forget that they were in exile (Heilman, 18).
In 1921 Jewish immigrant Maurice Samuel became an American citizen. Yet Samuel, a prolific author and a secular Zionist, only three years later wrote:
If I have long pondered this question of the Jews and gentile it is because I suspect from the first dawning of Jewish self-consciousness that Jew and gentile are two worlds, that between you gentiles and us Jews there lies an unbridgeable gulf.... I do not believe that this primal difference between gentile and Jew is reconcilable (Samuel, 9, 23).
This ancient religious self-perception of Jewish identity, equally manifest in a secular, usually Zionist form, has had a profound impact on mainstream Jewry's general sense of its communal self and its position in the United States. Shalom Carmy remarks that "one way of keeping alive a sense of Galut in America is to inculcate an instinct to snideness toward 'their' [non-Jewish] culture, from baseball to apple pie. Another is to limit, as a matter of principle, active concern for the affairs of American society, to cultivate a studied schadenfreude toward the moral adversities that rock it. The most forceful way of nursing an awareness of Galut, however, is to dwell on anti-Semitism" (Carmy, 60-61).

"My own feeling is that Galut is still very much part of the Jewish community" noted [name deleted], a faculty member at Vassar College, during an academic conference about the subject. "My self-conception of my Jewishness is always in tension with my identity as an American. And I presume that most American Jews feel the same ... The assumption that Jews should desire to 'integrate' [into American society] seems wrong to me. Why should Jews desire to give up all they have suffered over the millennia? Why should Jews attempt to be like American Christians?" "America may be a very comfortable and accommodating exile and may even be favorable to many forms of Jewish creativity," remarked Bruce Saposnik of New York University at the same gathering. "Jews will choose to live here both comfortably and Jewishly. They will, nevertheless, always be living in exile."

Spying on behalf of another nation is the most powerful expression
possible of profound ethnic alienation; a spy consciously rejects his official nationality in order to act on behalf of another. It is therefore not surprising that Jews -- living in exile among strangers -- have figured so prominently in the history of anti-American espionage. "An essential part of Jewishness," Chaim Bermant writes, "is the feeling that one is an outsider" (Bermant, 99).

Abraham FoxmanJews are numerous in important positions of power throughout American society, including the military and defense contracting firms. In 1996 a Pentagon security office issued an internal memo warning employees about Israeli efforts to steal military and intelligence secrets. Jews were singled out as an example of susceptibility, by virtue of their "strong ethnic ties" to the Jewish State. "Placing Israeli nationals in key industries," the memo said, "... is a [spying] technique utilized with great success." The warning also cited Israeli theft of optics information and radar test equipment in the past. By any measure of rational, historical, moral, and experiential examination, the memo addressed a legitimate issue of concern, but modern America was completely paralyzed in coping with it. For fear of offending American Jewry, the Pentagon had to disavow and condemn the warning after it was leaked to a Jewish magazine. "This Pentagon memo is a distressing charge," declared Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman, "which impugns American Jews and borders on anti-Semitism." [Image: Abe Foxman.]

Investigations of Jewish loyalties are, however, hardly unwarranted. The issue of dual loyalty in the context of espionage has a very long history in the American Jewish community, with many disturbing precedents during the Cold War. In recent years, with the collapse of the Soviet Union's communist regime, KGB and FBI archives have been increasingly accessible for scholarly examination and it is has become starkly clear that a remarkably large proportion of American spies for communist Russia were Jewish. They were instrumental in helping the Soviet Union secure American nuclear bomb secrets, as well as other espionage. As a simple matter of fact, the vast majority of communist spies were Jews. "What has proven most disturbing," the Jewish Exponent acknowledged in 1999, "is the picture we have of the extent of the betrayal -- truly overwhelming in sheer bulk. The fact that many Jewish radicals participated in espionage [for the Soviet Union] sticks in peoples' throats ... Spies, spies everywhere ... [Recent books about the subject] are invaluable for what they add to our knowledge of the [Cold War] period and may yet spur a bout of soul-searching among the remnants of the progressive community in America, so many of whom were -- and are -- Jewish ... [Such betrayers] allowed the Soviet Union to develop atomic weapons years before it may have been [otherwise] possible."

Of course a variety of people worked as spies during the Cold War, but among the disturbing implications of recent revelations is that the Soviet side of the Russian spy system was in large part Jewish as well; a critical examination of the Soviet transnational spy system points in no small way to Jewish networking. As high-ranking KGB officer Pavel Sudoplatev commented in 1994: "The men and women [in Russia] who were most influential in acquiring atomic bomb secrets for the Soviet Union were all later purged because they were Jewish [i.e., Soviet intelligence officers were eventually driven from the ranks because of allegations of a 'Zionist conspiracy' within it]." Or, as Jewish scholars Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter noted in 1982: "Allen Weinstein's study, Perjury, seems to indicate that Jews constituted a substantial majority of known members of the Soviet underground apparatus in the United States during the 1930s. Soviet agents whose backgrounds were probably Jewish include J. Peters, Lee Pressman, Harry Dexter White, Marian Bachrach, Hedda Gompertz, and many others" (Rothman, 100).

On the American side of the Soviet spy network, perhaps the most famous spy case in American history centered on two Jewish communists -- Ethel and Julius Rosenberg -- who were convicted and executed in 1953 for passing along secrets to the Soviet Union; Harry Gold and David Greenglass, their accomplices, were also Jewish. Until the recent intelligence disclosures, many Jews still angrily alleged that the Rosenbergs were innocent and their executions examples of anti-Semitic malice. Recent investigations, however, as the Jewish Exponent commented, have lead to the inescapable conclusion that "their subjects were guilty as charged."

Other Jewish American espionage agents for the Russians included Martin Sobell and Harry Magdoff. There was also Nathan Silvermaster, "a Russian-born economist who worked for the [American] Farm Securities Administration [and] established a network of friends in government to provide Soviets material and to aid the U.S.S.R. during World War II." Jewish-Russian Isak Akhmerov was the Soviet control officer of Yakov Golos (also Jewish), "the chief organizer of espionage activities through the American communist party." Gregory Kheifetz, Jewish too and one of the main organizers of the American Communist Party, had worldwide assignments from the Russians. Soviet agent Naum Isakovich Eitingen "used his connections in the [American] Jewish community to obtain new papers and identity." The Rosenberg's Russian case officer was also Jewish, Sam Semyonov (real name: Abe Taubman) (Sudoplatov, passim).

Controversial, prominent and fabulously wealthy Jewish entrepreneur Armand Hammer had long been under suspicion as part of the Soviet "secret regime" in the West. Among his American-based family's early holdings in Russia during early years of the communist revolution was an asbestos mine; "the conditions under which the miners worked were horrendous even by Russia's low standards," Edward Epstein reports. He was also involved, through his firm United Distillers, in the mob-linked liquor business. His lifestyle was far from proletarian: "Hammer celebrated his fifty-fifth birthday cruising around Manhattan on his yacht." Yet we now know that Hammer, though practically a stereotype of the rapacious capitalist, was in fact a Communist agent for decades, beginning as a secret courier for the Soviets delivering money from Russia to communist leaders in the United States. FBI files also indicate that Hammer "laundered funds for the Soviet Union" and "recruit[ed] Soviet spies and position[ed] them in the United States government," and that "he had been, in the 1920s, a key link in a network that provided money to espionage rings in New York and London." A lifelong atheist, in later life Hammer reverted to his Jewish roots, choosing the bar mitzvah name Avraham Ben Yehuda Maccabee (Epstein, passim).

Maurice Halperin, who while heading the research department of the Office of Strategic Services, America's main intelligence agency at the time, gave hundreds of American diplomatic cables to the KGB. Bella Gold in the U.S. Commerce Department and Sonya Gold in the U.S. Treasury Department were among those working with the aforementioned Nathan Silvermaster, a U.S. Treasury Department official who was also working as a Soviet espionage "group handler." Even Marilyn Monroe's Jewish psychoanalyst, Ralph Greenson, was secretly an agent for the communist Comintern. Monroe had a series of romantic affairs with the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and innocently shared information she gleaned from him with Greenson (Wolfe, D., 384). [Image: Ralph Greenson; for more on Greenson, see Marilyn and the Jews.]

Theodore Hall (also Jewish: original last name Holtzberg), while working on the nuclear bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, was "the only American scientist known to have given the Soviet Union details on the design of an atom bomb" (Albright, 9-17). In 1945, Philip Jaffe, editor of Amerasia magazine, was arrested by the FBI. "Jaffe," as the Jewish Exponent reported, "[was] a committed sympathizer [and had] contacts with Soviet intelligence agents and said he wanted to spy for them."

The only known U.S. Congressman to have spied (beginning in 1937) for the Russians was also Jewish, Samuel Dickstein, for fifteen years a Democratic Congressman from New York, and later a judge. The Russian NKVD (precursor to the KGB) codenamed Dickstein "the Crook" because of his "mercenary instincts." Consummate hypocrite and deceiver, Congressman Dickstein was also a founder of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) -- the organization that sought to expose Russian communist agents in American government and popular culture in the 1950s. (Ten of the nineteen people subpoenaed by HUAC were Jewish, as were six of the ten who were indicted by the committee.)

In later years, the only known Soviet spy to have penetrated the CIA (1973-77), described "in intelligence circles ... as one of the most important spies in United States history," was Karl Koecher. He was also Jewish. Koecher, notes Ronald Kessler, "gave his Czech handlers and the KGB details of dozens of 'top secret' CIA operations targeted at the Soviets and U.S. allies alike. He supplied them with classified CIA documents, lists of photographs of CIA employees in the United States and overseas and names of U.S. government officials who might be blackmailed into cooperating with the Soviets." Koecher and his wife Hana fully enjoyed their American stay; they were active in group sex orgies, nudist retreats, and wife-swapping events (Kessler, C1).

There were a significant number of Jews working on the American Los Alamos nuclear bomb project, including some from other countries like Hans Berthe, Emilio Segre, and Edward Teller. (Jewish counterparts in England included Rudolf Peierls.) Such Jewish immigrants were so important in the development of the bomb that Richard Rhodes, in his Pulitzer-prize winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb, devotes an entire chapter to their "exodus" from Europe, particularly Germany and Hungary.

The director of the atomic bomb program was also Jewish, J. Robert Oppenheimer. "I had had a continuing, smoldering fury about the treatment of the Jews in Germany," he once said (Rhodes, R., 1988, 445). The chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in that era was also Jewish, David Lilienthal. "The most vital information for developing the first atomic bomb," says former top KGB official Pavel Sudoplatov, "came from scientists designing the American atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico -- Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard." (Of the three, Fermi was not Jewish, but his wife was.) Jewish Soviet agents Gregory Kheifetz and Elizabeth Zarubin "persuaded Oppenheimer to share information with 'antifascists of German origin' ... Oppenheimer, together with Fermi and Szilard, helped [the Soviets] place moles in Tennessee, Los Alamos, and Chicago as assistants in those three [nuclear] labs." Others seminally influential with Oppenheimer included Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels and Yiddish poet Itzik Feffer (later killed in Soviet purges) -- Russian nationals on a tour of the United States with the Moscow Yiddish State Art Theatre. Soviet intelligence noted in 1944 that Oppenheimer, head of America's nuclear weapon program, was a "secret member" of the American Communist Party (Sudoplatov, passim).

On the Communist side of the Soviet-American spy rings, purges beginning in the 1950s principally targeted Jews. The purges began with the alleged confessions of Naum Shvartsmann, whose own job was to edit "falsified confessions extracted from prisoners," and centered on suspected Zionist intrigue in the Russian intelligence agencies (Sudoplatov, 300-301). Soviet dictator Josef Stalin grew suspicious of increasing Russian Jewish interest in the new nation of Israel. The principal focus of this concern was the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, an organization created to raise support for the Soviet Union from western Jewry in lobbying other governments against the threat of Hitler. But, to Stalin's chagrin, the JAC soon "brought an extraordinary stirring of Jewish consciousness in its own ranks, reflecting the prevalent mood of Soviet Jewry as a whole ... [It expressed] feelings of [Jewish] national solidarity and Jewish pride ... They were frequently so carried away by their faith and enthusiasm as to overlook the JAC dominant objective, namely, that of spreading Soviet propaganda ... JAC speakers and writers increasingly resorted to biblical imagery, Talmudic references, and Jewish historic symbols." Soviet poet Perets Markish, for example, publicly talked about "Jewish brothers" around the world, declaring that "we are one people, and now we are becoming one army" (Gilboa, 46-48). For Stalin, the JAC was turning into a anti-communist threat.

Common Jewish-enforced convention in the West holds that Stalin's anti-Zionist purge (and others in Soviet history) was rooted in baseless anti-Semitism. Whatever the case, the charge of "Zionist conspiracy" as a "fifth column" looms as an endless, terrible cycle. Those with primary allegiance to the Jewish State invariably create suspicion in others for all Jews in positions of political power. Those Jews innocent of Zionist allegiance nonetheless gravitate towards Israel as insurance against anti-Jewish hostility. Hence, the problem -- in a self-fulfilling loop -- grows like the nature of anti-Semitism itself: Gentile suspicion of, and outrage at, Jewish alienation and intrigue, followed in consequence by further Jewish alienation, followed by further Gentile alienation, and so forth. Prominent Jewish Russian Zionist Natan Sharansky, famous among international Jewry for his fight to emigrate to Israel and now a hawkish member of the Israeli cabinent, stated the problem succinctly: "I loved Russian culture ... but I was a Jew because of anti-Semitism." When Sharansky was interrogated by the KGB for his Zionist activities, he writes that "I was eager to show the agent that I was a loyal citizen just like him, although I already knew in my heart that wasn't true" (Sharansky, p. xiv).

With the Soviet purge of Jews in its intelligence ranks, 50 colonels and generals were arrested, including the Deputy Minister of Security, Andrej Sverdlov, son of the first president of the Soviet Union -- Yakov Sverdlov, who had ordered the murder of the Russian Royal Family in the early days of the Revolution. Such Jewish characters as Grigori Maironovsky, head of the "top secret toxicological laboratory" who had "personally liquidated a number of the most important enemies of the Communist Party and the Soviet government" also met their ends (Sudoplatov, 279). Jews, notes Sudoplatov, were deeply entrenched in the communist elite everywhere: "Key members of the Politburo like Voroshilov and Molotov had Jewish wives; Kaganovich was Jewish" (Sudoplatov, 300). (Even in America, Earl Browder, for many years the head of the American Communist Party, had a Jewish wife, Raissa Berkman. Polish communist strongman Wladeslaw Gomulka also had a Jewish wife [Checinski, M., 1982, 82]).

Further along in the Soviet spy world, other Jewish Soviet intelligence operators in America included George Gamo, who provided Moscow with "the names of left wing [American] students who might be recruited to supply secret information" (Sudoplatov, 192); Lev Vasilevsky, who from Mexico City headed efforts to get information from nuclear bomb director Oppenheimer; and Leonid Eitingon, who set up two Polish Jewish agents on America's west coast. The early lead scientist in Moscow's intelligence agency who studied stolen atomic spy secrets was also Jewish, Yakov Petrovich Terletsky.

Fleeing Stalinism, the most prominent Soviet spy ever to defect to America, General Alexander Orlov (originally Leiba Lazarevich Feldbin) was also Jewish. In the 1930s Orlov set up a Soviet spy school outside of Barcelona. An American Jew, Morris Cohen, "became one of the elitist of the elite at the special school," and Cohen's first Russian spy controller in New York was also Jewish, the aforementioned Semyon Semyonov. "Why [defector] Orlov never told American authorities about Cohen after the general received asylum in the United States in mid-1938 remains Orlov's secret" (Albright, 31-33). Senator James O. Eastland once called Orlov "the highest ranking officer of the Soviet State Security [later KGB] ever to come to the side of the free world." Yet, with access these days to KGB archives, in an entire 1993 volume about Orlov, John Costello and Oleg Tsarev assert that "Orlov had played a subtle game of wits, first with the FBI and then with CIA interrogators. This enabled the Soviet agents he recruited and former colleagues he could have identified to continue clandestine operations against the West. Orlov's case was therefore a classic: it was the record of a man squeezed between divided loyalties with little room to maneuver" (Costello, pp. 10-11, xi- xii). Other prominent Soviet Jews who defected to the U.S. were Valter Krivitsky (Samuel Ginzburg) and Ignati Reis (Natan Poretsky.)

Elsewhere, the "most senior Soviet intelligence officer ever convicted in America," Colonel Rudolf Abel, (Albright, 245) was also Jewish. He was  later freed in 1962 in exchange for American spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers. Likewise, the director of all Soviet spy networks in France between World Wars I and II was Jewish, Ignace Reiss.

In Britain, shockingly, the fifth Soviet spy known to have penetrated British intelligence was an heir to the fabulously wealthy capitalist Rothschild fortune, Nathaniel Meyer Victor Rothschild. An entire volume, entitled The Fifth Man, about his betrayal was published in 1994. Rothschild "supplied espionage material to the Russians on work in everything from nuclear weaponry and radar to germ warfare developments at the biological center" (Perry, p. xxii). Roland Perry observes that Rothschild "was camouflaged as the Fifth Man by virtue of his powerful position in the [British] Establishment. The vast wealth of his banking dynasty embedded him in the power elite more than the other members of the [spy] Ring of Five. It was a perfect cover and served to shield him. He seemed the epitome of the ruling class in twentieth century Britain, and therefore the least likely to be a traitor ... Rothschild was more loyal to his Jewish heritage than anything English ... Rothschild assisted in the creation of a homeland [Israel] for the Jews who had been dispossessed [in Europe]" (Perry, xl).

Another of the preeminent five Soviet spies in Great Britain was (non-Jew) Kim Philby. Alice Kohlman, the Jerusalem Post reports, was "the Jewish woman who had been Kim Philby's first wife, and by some accounts, instrumental in leading the young Philby to work as a Soviet agent." Klaus Fuchs is another non-Jewish spy who served ten years in a British prison. A Jewish espionage associate, Ruth Werner (born Kuczynski), was never caught.

Canada? Erna Paris reports that "the highest ranking Jew in the Canada Communist Party was Sam Carr [born Shloime Kogan] ... Carr's crucial role as principal recruiter of Soviet spies was revealed in the 1946 Royal Commission on Espionage." Canada also had its own Jewish Congressman-traitor: "The man who actually transmitted Canadian atomic information to Russia was Fred Rose (born Rosenberg), the only communist MP [Member of Parliament] ... The effects of Rose's conviction ricocheted through the Jewish community of Montreal ... The primarily Jewish voters of Cartier [an area in Montreal] ... found themselves represented in Parliament by a convicted spy." Upon release from prison in 1951, Rose moved to communist Poland (Paris, passim).

Communist East Germany? "Markus Wolf, the ruthless mastermind of former East Germany's spy network" was in 1993 "charged with treason, espionage, and bribery." In recent years, notes the Associated Press, Wolf "has had more appreciation of his Jewish roots."

Works Cited

Albright, Joseph and Kunsted, Marcia. Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy. Times Books, Random House, New York, 1997.

Avruch, Kevin. American Immigrants in Israel: Social Identity and Change. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1981.

Bermant, Chaim. The Jews. Times Books, 1977.

Black, Ian and Morris, Benny. Israel's Secret Wars. A History of Israel's Intelligence Service. Grove Weidenfeld, New York, 1991.

Blumay, Carl. The Dark Side of Power: The Real Armand Hammer. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1992 .

Carmy, Shalom. "Religious Zionism Revisited: A Symposium." Tradition, 28:4, 1994, pp. 18-22.

Checinski, Michael. Poland: Communism, Nationalism, Anti-Semitism. [translated in part by Tadeusz Szafar] Karz-Cohl Publishing, New York, 1982.

Costello, John and Tsarev, Oleg. Deadly Illusions. Crown Publishers, New York, 1993.

Delynne, Jane. "Hitler's World." In Rosenberg, David. Testimony: Contemporary Writers Make the Holocaust Personal. Times Books, Random House, 1989, p. 58-79.

Findley, Paul. Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the U.S.-Israel Relationship. Lawrence Hill Books, New York, 1993, 1995.

Findley, Paul. They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby. Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago, IL, 1985, 1989.

Green, Stephen. Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel. William Morrow and Co., New York, 1984.

Heilman, Samuel. Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry. Schocken Books, New York, 1992.

Hersh, Seymour M. The Dark Side of Camelot. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, New York, Toronto, London, 1997.

Hersh, Seymour M. The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy. Random House, New York, 1991.

Gilboa, Yehoshua A. The Black Years of Soviet Jewry, 1939-1953. Little, Brown, and Co., Boston, Toronto, 1971.

Goldberg, J. J. "Different Approaches to Zionism." The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, September 12, 1997.

Kessler, Ronald. "Moscow's Mole in the CIA." Washington Post, April 17, 1998, p. C1.

Ostrovsky, Victor and Hoy, Claire. By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1990.

Paris, Erna. An Account of the Jewish Experience in Canada. MacMillan, Toronto, Canada, 1980.

Perry, Roland. The Fifth Man. Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1994.

Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988.

Rothman, Stanley and Lichter, S. Robert. Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians, and the New Left. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 1982.

Samuel, Maurice. You Gentiles. Harcourt, Brace, and Co., New York, 1924.

Sharansky, Natan. Fear No Evil.

Sudoplatov, Pavel and Sudoplatov, Anatoli. Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness. Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1994.

Urofsky, Melvin I. We Are One! American Jewry and Israel. Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1978.

Wolfe, Donald H. The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe. William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1998.

The preceding text is excerpted and edited from When Victims Rule,
online at Jewish Tribal Review. The title is editorial.


Return to Main Index

Return to Real History