THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 9
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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Soviet Jewry 9

band scientists build ‘bridges’ of friendship. When one is banaesthetized by the false aura of friendship and good feel- bing at a concert, he cares little about the cries of the victims bof a government that sponsors that concert . . . ”

bWhat I was saying was that, to the Soviets, everything was ba political weapon and the cultural program was no excep- btion. They were not really interested in raising the cultural blevel of the American “philistines” or in promoting “peace bon earth.” The cultural troupes and artists who arrived bfrom the USSR were on a political, not an artistic, mission. bTheir task was to soften the feelings of antagonism, to undo bthe psychological hostility created by years of the cold war, bto create the image of the Soviets as a warm, civilized, bculture-loving nation. Such a people could not be as bad as ball the “anti-communists” painted them, and no person bcould walk out of a Bolshoi performance feeling as badly babout the Russians as when he had walked in. This is why we bwere determined to do all in our power to see to it that the bBolshoi would not arrive.

bAnd turning to yet another argument, illogical and bludicrous—the one that complained about our attacks on bSoviet artists who were Jewish—I pointed out that, if any- bthing, a Soviet Jewish artist who participated in the ex- bchange program that so hindered our efforts to awaken bsympathy for Soviet Jews, deserved to have his concert bdisrupted even more than the non-Jew. Such people were blumped together with a man like Hurok, “whose appetite bfor profits leads him to abandon his obligations as a human band his loyalties as a Jew.” No, the Soviet Jewish artist who bperformed for the Kremlin’s political ends deserved noth- bing better than the non-Jew, and the American Jewish bconcert-lover who placed his love of art over love of Jews b(one wonders whether the liberal lover of art would have bbeen so liberal about the Berlin Philharmonic of 1940) de- bserved nothing but our contempt. He got exactly that.

bThe JDL had now become a significant factor disturbing bboth the Soviet and the American governments. It also had breached the point where it was able to accomplish its most bimmediate goal: to get Soviet Jewish problems into the head- blines. A glaring example of this occurred in the case of b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 9
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper