Biography Describes Trotsky's
His Role in History of USSR
David Ben-Gurion's 'Talks With Arabs': Jewish
Appeasers Exposed, Zionist Firmness Acclaimed
A documentary, "Trotsky," White Russian poster depict-
"I first encountered Arab ates. Primarily, Moshe Sher- sidered necessary for those
I s r a e l's representatives
authored by Francis Wynd- ing Trotsky as "the ogre of
political opposition to Jewish tok (Sharett) was the emis- conducting negotiations in be-
ham and David King, pub- the Kremlin."
talks with Arabs in the near- settlement in spring 1915, af- sary for the Jewish Agency, half of the Yishuv include:
lished by Praeger, is inval-
There is this additional ly-impossible effort to reach ter Turkey had entered the for the Yishuv, for Zionism.
"Someone who has a deep
uable for historians because comment by the authors re-
war on the side of Germany. Dr. Chaim Weizmann ap-
of the extensive studies in- garding Trotsky's Jewish- accord and attain co-exist- At that time, Yitzhak Ben- pears on the scene very fre- faith in Zionism; someone of
ence in the Middle East.
whom adherence to the fund-
cluded in the book regarding ness:
In pre - statehood days, Zvi and I were law students quently, and at one point amentals of Zionism (such
the Russian history that in-
"Although the White Guards Chaim Weizmann conferred at the Turkish University in even had made a concession, as Jewish labor, national
volved Leon Trotsky and his
Constantinople. I had friends of a temporary reduction in immigration, land) is an in-
exploited the Jewishness of with Arab chieftains.
and acquaintances among the the number of Jewish settlers dispensable condition; son'-
Trotsky in their propaganda,
Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) he found that Lenin had been
Turkish and Arab students, in Palestine, which was chal- one who regards maxima -
unquestionably was one of right about its unimportance
but we never discussed Jew- lenged and rejected.
Zionism as the essential m.--
the most influential figures in an extreme revolutionary numerous occasions.
ish affairs. As we were on
The virtual expose of the imum for the Jewish people;
in Russian revolutionary his- situation. Where anti-Semi-
the way back to Palestine at Brit Shalom, its leaders, their someone who sees the realiz-
tory. He was an active leader tism existed among the peo- Jordan in the disguise of an the beginning of August 1914, impatient search for peace in ation of Zionism as the life
in the 1905 revolutionary ple, it did so in a muddled, Arab woman to confer with during the university recess, an atmosphere of hatred, and death question of the
activities. He was a top ignorant way, reflecting the King Abdullah.
the war broke out, and Jamal their concessions—these and Jewish people."
leader in the Communist general confusion of the
It is an established fact Pasha, who headed the other related factors empha-
Into the picture also en-
ranks, alongside Vladimir time. This is recorded in that Moshe and Ruth Dayan Southern Command of the size the significance of this
tered Albert Hyamson, an
Ilyich Lenin, in 1917 and in contemporary fiction. Isaac made their efforts for good Ottoman Empire, arrived in most valuable collection of
English-Jewish official who
the early and formative Babel's story 'Sall' describes relations with Arabs the pre- Syria and Palestine. He be- facts regarding the search for
was a member of the British
years of the Soviet regime.
a peasant woman accusing a ferred items in their daily gan to suppress the Arab na- amity in an atmosphere that administration in Palestine,
tionalist movement, and in spelled doom for the Jewish together with Col. C. F.
Dramatic in every detail, Red soldier: 'You don't activities.
David Ben-Gurion certainly Beirut he had a number of minority. The firmness of
this biography of Trotsky is bother your heads about
Newcombe, a British officer
replete with illustrations Russia. You just go about played an important role in Arab leaders hanged. In Pal- Ben-Gurion, Shertok, Mena- serving in the Middle East
about every phase of Trot- saving the dirty Jews, Lenin efforts to achieve good will estine he struck at the Zion- hem Ussishkin and their as- who represented Arab inter-
ist movement, and when our sociates prevented the col- ests. The two men, both in
sky's life. His exile, his as- and Trotsky.' To which he with Arabs.
sassination in Mexico, his replies: 'I won't say nothing
"My Talks With Arab names — Yitzhak Ben-Zvi's lapse that was imminent—if the British service, also ne-
-family's roles — all are part about Lenin, but Trotsky Leaders" is the record of the and , mine— were discovered the Jewish group that pan- gotiated on their own; also
of this impressive work.
was the desperate son of a first Israel prime minister's in a list of delegates to the icked had been permitted to issued memoranda; also of-
Activities of the Jewish governor of Tambov who serious approaches to Arab Zionist Congress we were in- dominate and to pursue a fered "peace." Their memos
Socialist Bund are referred went over to the working spokesmen. Under this title, terrogated by a Turkish offi- policy of such extreme ap- indicate the destructiveness
to as part of Trotsky's in- classes . . . ' And in 'Arch- the volume just published by cer, following which Jamal peasement that it could only of their undertakings — at-
volvements and the Jewish ives of the Russian Revolu- the Third Press of the Joseph Pasha ordered us banished have led to the destruction tempts which included de-
nuding the Jewish position
attitudes toward this famed tion' by V. Seyfulina we Okpaku Publishing Co. was from the Ottoman Empire, of the Zionist aims.
find a Cossack saying: edited by Misha Louvish. The `never to return.' We were
Moshe Smilansky was and granting Jews a minority
translations from the He- imprisoned until we could be among those who negotiated status. That's what Ben-Gur-
There are interesting refer- `Trotsky is not a Jew. Trot-
brew, of the recorded talks, deported, but since we were with the Arabs, and Ben- ion, Sharett (Shertok), Ussi-
ences to Jewish personalities sky is a fighter. Lenin is a
are by Aryeh Rubinstein and students at a Turkish univer- Gurion reveals that he had shkin and their fellow Zion-
who played important roles
the book's editor.
sity, we were treated with learned 30 years after the ists fought against; that's
in the revolutionary anti- Trotsky is Russian, one of
Louvish's introductory com- civility and during the day Palestinian Jewish leader what is being exposed so ef-
Czarist and anti-Menshevik us.' As a Marxist and enemy
actions. In the abortive re- of all forms of religion, ments are valuable for an were permitted to stroll about had •conducted deals with fectively now in the Ben-Gu-
volt of 1905, Trotsky already Trotsky had no feeling for appreciation 'of Ben-Gurion's in the compound of the ad- Arabs for what B-G terms a rion book.
These are this immense
acquired fame. It is record- the Jewish faith; in fact, hopes and aspirations. It is ministrative complex in "bridge of silver." It was
ed, for example, that in 1905 while the Ukraine was occu- pointed out that Ben-Gurion which the jail was located. sort of a payoff. There was work's major qualities: that
he visited Victor Adler, one pied by the Germans in 1918, sought to reach an under- There I met an Arab student, what Smilansky termed a they reveal the appease-
of the noted Jewish Social- the rabbis of Odessa pro- standing with Arabs for 30 Yihya Effendi, with whom I "formulation" that involved ments that were proposed
ists, in his home in Vienna: nounced anathema on both years, from 1930 when he was had been friendly back in high sums to be given Arab which could have destroyed
a member of the Jewish Constantinople. When he emissaries for their assist- the Jewish state.
"There he shaved off his Trotsky and Zinoviev."
Gregory Yevseyevich Zino- Agency executive until the asked me what I was doing ance in reaching the higher-
The volume contains rec-
mustache and beard. Events
ords of many talks with im-
at St. Petersburg had de- viev was one of the pioneer end of his premiership in there, I told him I was im- ups.
In addition to Magnes and portant Arabs and with non-
cided him to return to Russia Jewish Communist leaders 1963. Together with Moshe prisoned and that there was
— and it was necessary to who himself later was Sharett, Ben-Gurion conduct- an order banishing me from Smilansky, three others were Arabs like H. St. John, B.
disguise himself from recog- purged. It is interesting, ed many talks with promin- the country. My friend Yihya involved in such deals with Philby, George Antonius and
therefore, to note in the ent leaders from several Effendi responded with these Arabs, contrary to Jewish many others.
nition by the police."
words: 'As your friend, I am Agency and Yishuv approv-
Leon Deutsch was another Wyndham-King biography of Arab countries.
Louvish states that a year sorry to hear it; as an Arab, als: Pinhas Rutenberg, found- American personalities who
of the leading figures with Trotsky that, describing the
whom he was associated in campaign that developed after the Balfour Declaration I am glad.' This was the first er of the Palestine Electric were involved in the Zionist
revolutionary acts at that against Trotsky, they state: (1917) Ben-G-urion "declared occasion on which I encount- Corporation; Judge Gad struggles are represented in
"Stalin and Zinoviev be- that under no circumstances ered an expression of poli- Frumkin; and Moshe Novo- various roles. Jewish leader-
tween them tried to put
meysky, founder of the Dead ship has its representation
In the early 1917 develop- Lenin against Trotsky, ap- must the riEhts of the Arabs tical hostility on the part of Sea Potash Works.
ments, there was an inter- parently with some success—
There are two faults in this
Magnes, severely attacked
This is a long quotation for
incident involving although Maxim Gorki quotes aim of Zionism was 'not to
Lenin's desire to give leader- Lenin as saying: 'Too many conquer what has already a comparatively brief review and accused of what could be volume which should be cor-
ship to Trotsky. The authors lies are being told, and been conquered, but to settle of a very important political- interpreted as irresponsible rected: not all the people re-
of this important biography especially about me and in those places where the historical review of vital is- submission to defeat, wrote a corded here are identified,
present inhabitants have not sues involving Arab-Jewish lengthy explanation in his and a work as valuable as
established themselves and relations, but it needs to be own defense. It appears in this one should have a com-
"Lrn'n r.roposed that Trot-
are unable to do so.' He had recorded in an account of the this book for the first time, plete index for researchers.
sky should be elected chair-
no doubt that the national difficulties that faced and and it adds to the historic
It must be rated among the
man of the Soviet of People's to Trotsky's father:
aims of both Arabs and Jews
most valuable works dealing
Commissars—in other words,
"David Bronstein had had could be reconciled within continue to face Israel and merits of Ben-Gurion's "My
Talks With Arab Leaders." with the Zionist struggle, and
head of the new government. a difficult time throughout the wider framework of the the Jewish people.
In his denunciation of the as such this reviewer recom-
`Why not? You were at the the civil war, persecuted Middle East. Despite all set-
Many attempts have been
head of the Petrograd Soviet both by , the Whites because backs and disappointments, made to meet with Arabs, to dealings conducted by "the mends David Ben-Gurion's
that seized the power.' When he was Trotsky's father and he held fast to the faith that deal with them, to seek ac- five," Ben-Gurion declares _"My Talks With Arab Lead-
Trotsky refused, Lenin sug- by the Reds because he was not only peace, but an alli- cord. All have failed. The that qualities that were con- ers."
gested that he should be a 'kulak' — that is, a rich, ance of friendship between Judah Magnes group —Brit
appointed Commissar of land-owning peasant. At the the two peoples, would be Shalom—and other efforts in-
Home Affairs. Trotsky feared age of 70, having lost all his achieved one day, because it spired by Jews were insti-
that his Jewish origin might money, he decided to seek was a necessity for both and tuted to bring an under-
be a handicap in this posi- out his son: he traveled the key to the progress and standing. In earlier years
tion. Lenin impatiently re- several hundred miles on prosperity of the entire re- there were concessions. There
plied: 'We are having a foot, through battle-ridden
was even the serious error
great international revolu- territory, from his home in
That's the hope and the as- by Jews of yielding to an of-
tion. Of what importance are Odessa, finally reaching Mos- piration, but the Arab atti- fer to freeze the Jewish pop-
such trifles?' Jacob M. cow in 1920. Trotsky found tude becomes apparent very ulation of Palestine to a - mi-
Sverdlov, another Jew, saw him a job as manager of a early in Ben-Gurion's expe- nority, and there were the
the force of Trotsky's objec- state mill just outside the riences. In the first chapter years when "the Jewish Na-
tion, and Lenin yielded. The city. The old man worked of this most informative book, tional Home" was reduced in
third proposal (suggested by happily and hard, making a on page 4, the future archi- theory to a shambles in the
Sverdlov to Lenin), that Trot- success of the mill until his tect of the Jewish • state and British aim to stifle any
sky should become the revo- death from typhus two years its first prime minister means of creating a Jewish
lution's first Commissar for later." •
state. The great pressures
Foreign Affairs, was readily
for an understanding with
The authors write about
accepted; and in this capa- "Trotsky's stubborn moral
Arabs never materialized.
city, Trotsky found himself integrity" during the Stalin- ers' state, in however de-
In "My Talks With Arab
reluctantly in charge of the Hitler pact debates. Trotsky generated form."
negotiations to secure a urged his followers to con-
Of the several new works Leaders" are included the
peace treaty with the Ger- tinue "to defend uncondi- on and about Trotsky, the direct contacts Ben-Gurion
tionally the gains of October Wyndham-King volume is had with Arabs. But the book
Among the many revealing against all foreign govern- among the most impressive is mainly a history of nego-
cartoons reproduced in this ments: the Soviet Union, in and its revealing contents tiations in which many were
volume is an anti-Semitic his opinion, was still a work- add greatly to a better un- involved, in which he was of-
derstanding of the events ten a silent partner since the
David Ben-Gurion in his study at Sde Boker.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS that keep Russia in turmoil. negotiators were his associ-
48 Friday, August 24, 1973