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Judaism without embellishment
The following are translated excerpts from the 1963 book Judaism Without Embellishment by Trofim Korneyevich Kichko. The text and the caricatures in the book were strongly anti-Semitic. Strong pressure and protests from abroad finally forced the Soviet government to announce that the book would be banned and copies destroyed.
As Soviet Communism supported race denialism, or even genetics denialism (see Lysenkoism), the book presumably did not attack Jews as a race, but rather the religion Judaism, Zionism, and Jewish capitalists. It was published at a time when the Soviet relationship with Israel was becoming increasingly hostile and there may have been concerns that some Jews would switch from supporting Communism to supporting Zionism. See also Jews and Communism.
The publication by the "Ukrainian Academy of Sciences" is often seen as an attempt to cause conflict between Jews and Ukrainians, another group viewed as potentially having nationalist, anti-Communist sentiments. See also the article on the Einsatzgruppen on other argued Soviet attempts to cause conflicts between Jews and other minority groups during this time period, by claiming participation in mass killings by the Einsatzgruppen.
- Among the other religions which obscure the consciousness of the workers, not the least is Judaism. As is known from history, it always served the interests of the wealthy classes, using them to distract the attention of poverty-stricken Jews from struggling against social injustice. In recent times Judaism has acquired particularly reactionary coloration after the establishment of the State of Israel, where it was proclaimed the official religion. Deceived by the enticing promises of bourgeois agitators, people from seventy-four countries assembled there. Although all are Jewish by descent,they have nothing in common except the Jewish religion. . . . Therefore, the Israeli government, more than any other, is assisting the flowering of religious obscurantism in every possible way, in the hope that it will aid in uniting the different groups of immigrants into “one” nation. On this plat-form, Judaism is not only closely tied to Zionism, but is, so to speak, the trump card in the dirty game being played by the Israeli bourgeois politicians who are trying to ensnare the greatest possible number of faithful common people: after all, the new capitalistic state needs cheap labor; it needs soldiers to accomplish its aggressive military plans.
- The Mishna consists of six chapters according to thematic principles. . . .The most important part of the Mishna is the Avot (Sayings of the Fathers)—a treatise “concerning principles.” The texts here, just as in other treatises,are written in a religio-nationalistic spirit…. Quite characteristic is the interpretation of the Decalogue—the Ten Commandments of the Bible: You may not steal from or cause any other damage to your khavers (neighbors) only— i.e., the Jews. As to how this applies to “goyim,” to those of different religions, the Jews are free to take from them, because, as Judaism teaches: “Jehovah delivered all of the wealth of non-Jews to the use of the Jews. If the Jews did not take everything into their hands, it was because in doing so they would have been deprived of many productive forces with the help of which the Jews profit from non-Jewish peoples without exerting any particular effort.
- The Jews like to talk a great deal about the Commandment which forbids them to bear false witness. However, when the welfare of a Jew is in question, false witnessing and even false oaths are permissible. . . . While giving a false oath, it is only necessary, the “Holy Scripture” teaches, to negate the oath in the heart and soul, and therefore the oath is meaning less. But this must be done in such a manner that “the glory of the name of the God of Israel, the honor and worth of the Jewish religion and the people of Israel do not suffer.”One of the Commandments of Judaism is “do not steal.” However, as the Khoshen Mishpat interprets it, it is only from khavers (i.e., from your Jewish neighbors) that you must not steal. But you may steal everything from others—because, as it is written in the “Holy Scriptures,” Jehovah handed over to the Hebrews all the wealth of the non-Jews. If the Jews did not take everything into their own hands, it was because they did not want to lose the labor power of non-Jewish workers. Moreover, Judaism teaches the believer that his exclusive purpose is to study the Torah, and if the Jews always engaged themselves only in studying the laws of Moses, then God would force other people to work for them.Although the commandments of Judaism teach not to steal, nevertheless in many places of the Old Testament recommendations are made for the people to resort to common theft.
- In humiliating working people, the Talmud at the same time glorifies persons of wealth; in downgrading agriculture, it praises trade and usury. According to the Talmud, even the prophet Moses made a fortune through trade machinations which he practiced by speculating with community property. “Moses grew rich by selling pieces of sapphire which broke off during the cutting of the stones for the Ten Commandments,” says the Talmud.The Talmud morally corrupts people, instilling in them the spirit of commerce and extortion. An example of practitioners of extortion are the priests themselves, the teachers of the law—the rabbis, who supervise adherence to the religious prescriptions which permit common people ‘to be cleaned like fish.’
- The Talmud is saturated with contempt for work and for workers, for the common people. . . . The Talmud takes an especially negative position toward the work of peasants. . . .
- The ethics of Judaism do not condemn such disgraceful actions as hypocrisy and bribery. The well-known commentator on the Talmud, Rashi, teaches: “Based on Biblical teachings, the Jew at the very outset must work with bribery in order to tempt his enemy, and in other cases he must resort to a variety of artifices.
- Judaism considers a person to be moral if, not working for the good of society, he devotes all of his free time to prayer and to the performance of religious rites. For Judaism, not work but prayer is the highest manifestation of morality. Furthermore, all of Judaic ideology is impregnated with narrow practicality, with greed, the love of money, and the spirit of egoism.”What is the temporal basis of Judaism?”—wrote K. Marx. “Practical necessity, self-interest. What is the temporal cult of the Jew? Commerce.Who is his temporal God? Money. What was the actual basis of the Jewish religion? Practical need, egoism. The God of practical need and self-interest —is money. Money—is the jealous god of Israel before whose face there must not be any other god.”The entire Judaic cult—is the translation of trade and commerce into religious language. The sale of matzah, the auction of chapter-readings of the Torah (“Aliye”), burial rites, circumcision, marriage and divorce—in all of these money is of prime importance, as is contempt for productive work.
- Speculation in matzah, pigs, thievery, deception, debauchery—these are the real characteristics of many synagogue leaders. Shrewd operators convert the synagogues from religion into their own personal feeding-grounds; they make free with the contributions of the believers, and become wealthy from them.
- The Talmud sanctified and continues to sanctify dividing people into masters and slaves: it developed legislation for the caste system; it divided people into distinguished persons and common people who were limited in their rights. The Talmud implants the thought that poverty is supposedly a method of obtaining a better fate in heaven, in the other world,and to cast off poverty—is a sin. In the hands of the rabbis, these ideas are the chief spiritual weapon with whose help even today reactionary ideas are propagated, nationalistic illusions are implanted about the exclusiveness and God-like image of the Jewish people—which in essence supports an ideology inimical to our people.
- The cruel rite of circumcision has been filled with a reactionary meaning by the Jewish religion. It proclaimed circumcision as a unique mark of Jewish nationalism itself; in other words, it endowed it with a clearly expressed religious-nationalistic character. It is not difficult to substantiate the latter again by texts from the Bible. Acquiring a mark of belonging to”their own people,” to the Jews, a mark which would simultaneously inoculate them with contempt and even hatred toward those who do not possess this rite—this is the basic meaning of the rite.
- Under modern conditions the Passover holiday harms us in a great number of ways, through engendering disrespect for work and fostering elements of nationalism among the Jewish workers. In celebrating the Passover, the believers do not go to work for several days; thus they hinder production plans and violate work discipline.The celebration of the Passover is especially harmful because the entire Passover legend, all the prayers, orient the believing Jews toward returning to Israel, which is now the center of Judaism and Zionism. The Passover prayers urge the believing Jews: “May God grant that we meet in Jerusalem next year.” Invitations summon the Jews to move to Israel, where they—free workers of our country—will become slaves, will become cannon fodder for Ben-Gurion’s clique and for his imperialistic masters.
- Foreign Judaists, together with Zionists, are attempting in every possible way to activate nationalistic propaganda among the believers in our country….The Israeli Zionists are openly striving to use Judaism for the activization of Zionism, are trying to incline believing Jews toward a useless expectation of a fictional Messiah, toward cosmopolitanism and anti-patriotism,and are trying to divert the believing Jews of our country from the cause of building communism.
- Taking advantage of the legends of the Old Testament, the Jewish capitalists and their ideological parasites—the Zionists—together with the rabbis in Israel, kindle religious-nationalistic passions, and incite the Jews against other peoples who inhabit Palestine.. . .A union between the financial oligarchy of the West and Zionism has been in existence for several decades. As is known, the English and American monopolists subjugated Zionism when it first appeared, when it only dreamed of creating a bourgeois Jewish state in Palestine. Long before the Second World War, after the reorganization in 1929 of the executive committee of the International Organization of Zionists which began to call itself the “Jewish Agency,” the Rothschilds, Jewish bankers, backed the Zionist organization in England. They also financed the French Zionists. Oskar Wasserman became the supporter of the “Jewish Agency” in Ger-many; he was the director of the German bank which at one time con-trolled the concession for constructing the Baghdad railroad. All of these Zionist businessmen invested their capital in Palestine with the aim of obtaining colonial gains at the expense of the Jewish as well as Arab population.
- American bankers, just like their English, German and French partners, viewed Zionism as a convenient colonial business. Founding in 1926 the syndicate, “Palestine Economic Corporation” (PEC), the American-Zionist colonizers engaged in creating a modern state of Israel.The history of relations between American capital and Zionism cannot be understood if one does not consider the affairs of the billionaire Rothschilds, who for several decades had been attempting to grab a part of Palestine—the Negev desert and its oil deposits. In 1919, immediately after the First World War, an agent of the American Petroleum Combine, “Standard Oil,” and a technical employee of the commission for developing American policy for Palestine, declared that although England would obtain a mandate in Palestine, with the help of the Zionists the U.S.A. would actually rule there. And that is what happened. After World War II, the Zionists in Palestine discontinued recognizing the supremacy of English imperialism, while the Rockefellers became strongly entrenched….