Israel and Soviet Russia
To the Editor:
In the June issue of COMMENTARY, Walter Laqueur (“Israel Back to ‘Normal’”) attempts to analyze the “naive and ineffectual” dealings of Israel with Soviet Russia. Few of the reasons he enumerates seem to me to have validity; but it is his sin of omission that I find most glaring. How can any serious student of Soviet-Israeli relations fail to mention what is undoubtedly the core of Israel’s policy toward the Soviet Union, namely, the concern for the fate of the Jews behind the Iron Curtain, and the increasing efforts—now crowned with some measure of success—to have the curtain lifted to permit emigration to Israel?
It is the existence of two and a half million Jews in Eastern Europe which is the determining factor in Israel’s policy toward the Soviet Union—not the reasons listed by Mr. Laqueur.
M. Y. S.
Washington, D. C.
Mr. Laqueur writes:
The existence of two and a half million Jews in Eastern Europe and the concern for them, is, obviously, the determining factor, as I myself have stressed in my articles in COMMENTARY (see also “Soviet Policy and Jewish Fate” April); it is a factor indeed so self-evident that it hardly needs page-by-page repetition. But the decisive question still remains: what should he done about it? M. Y. S. seems to justify the old approach, which has proved so singularly ineffectual. The “some measure of success” mentioned by him is unfortunately mythical: if there has been a change in the Soviet attitude in recent months, it has been for the worse; and as for the emigration from Poland—this has come, not as the result of “increasing efforts,” but as a consequence of internal developments in Poland itself.