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Lenin, Revolution, and the Jewish People

Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution
by Brendan McGeever
Reviewed by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

According to Brendan McGeever’s Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019), armed supporters of the Bolsheviks, in the Red Army in particular, were permeated with antisemitism which manifested itself in anti-Jewish propaganda and violence. Simply put, the rank-and-file and middle rung red revolutionaries unleashed themselves against the Jewish people carrying out Marxist class struggle to its logical conclusion.

The Bolshevik leadership, including Lenin, sympathized with the Jewish plight, but it was too busy with other priorities, namely defending the revolution and fighting the Civil War against the Whites, to pay too much attention to the Jewish predicament. Since the Communist leadership failed to make the fight against pogroms its priority, it was Jewish socialists who stepped in.