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Father, thank You that You have enabled the Jewish people to endure against so many odds. Help us to view all people through Your lens of love.

Most Jews in Russia after the 1917 communist revolution were anti-Bolshevik. But within two years of that historic upheaval, which transformed tsarist Russia into the Soviet Union, the majority of Russian Jews had flocked into the Bolshevik camp.

At the root of this transformation were the 1,500 pogroms unleashed by the Russian civil war from 1918 onward. They  claimed the lives of about 150,000 Jews and orphaned 300,000 children.

The new Soviet government denounced antisemitism and condemned pogroms and blood libels, which were inextricably associated with the old Romanov dynasty.

By contrast, the forces hostile to Bolshevism were intrinsically antisemitic. They stirred up mass violence against Jews in the form of pogroms…

As a result, writes Elissa Bemporad in her excellent book, Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets (Oxford University Press), Jews forged a pragmatic alliance with the nascent Soviet state.

The Soviet Union, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s, claimed to have eradicated these expressions of antisemitism, but in fact they enjoyed something of an afterlife in the communist utopia and beyond…

The decision by Jews to support the Soviet Union would have profound consequences. “It bolstered the idea of a Jewish propensity for communism,” she notes…

Jews came to be seen as agents and proxies of communist rule, a perception which played into the widespread claim of Judeo-Bolshevism, Bemporad adds. To such Russians, antisemitism was a “defence strategy” against Sovietization…

The pre-revolutionary pogroms of 1881-1882 and 1903-1906 were different from those that occurred during the civil war. The former were directly or indirectly orchestrated by the czarist regime, while the latter were carried out by anti-Bolshevik military forces, bands of hooligans and ordinary Russians who had once had peaceful…relations with their Jewish neighbors…

The regime’s campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church, a pillar of the czarist monarchy, validated suspicions that communists and Jews were allies. Tikhon, the patriarch of Moscow, claimed that “Yids” persecuted Christians and that “all members of the Communist party are Jewish.”

Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin…sanctioned the establishment of a special commission in 1919 to eradicate the legacy of blood libel…Yet, as Bemporad notes, the official Soviet response to blood libel allegations fluctuated between condemnation and disregard…

“Cultivating the public commemoration of anti-Jewish violence and systematically persecuting old crimes could intensify the resentment of those citizens who would otherwise become law-abiding Soviet citizens or even devoted Bolsheviks,” she explains…

Jewish-Ukrainian tensions escalated following the assassination of Ukrainian nationalist Simon Petliura in Paris in 1925. His Jewish assassin, Sholem Schwarzbard, blamed Petliura for the pogroms that had swept across Ukraine during the civil war…

So tense was the situation that antisemitic feelings bubbled to the surface in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkov and Odessa…

With Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, pogroms returned with a vengeance after Nazi propagandists revived the blood libel and Judeo-Bolshevik myths. “In many places, the local population came to see the German occupation as a ‘liberation’ from an overpowering Jewish-Bolshevism,” she says…Jews were held accountable for (Joseph) Stalin’s crimes, including the Holodomor, the politically engineered famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that claimed the lives of about four million Ukrainian peasants.

Even as these pogroms erupted, the powers-that-be in Ukraine issued a secret directive to restrict the employment of Jews in prominent positions…

With Germany defeat, local perpetrators of pogroms were, in some instances, executed by the Soviet government. But in general, the authorities made the conscious decision to ignore and forget past atrocities in order to rebuild postwar society.

Antisemitism surged in the wake of the war. “The notion of Soviet universalism and ‘brotherhood of peoples’ seemed to reject the Jews,” says Bemporad. Antisemitism became “a widely employed and somewhat accepted cultural code.”

The Cold War, in combination with the birth of Israel, rendered Jews an unreliable and foreign element in the Soviet Union. Even Polina Zhemchuzhina, the wife of the Soviet foreign minister, Viacheslav Molotov, could not be trusted. In the autumn of 1948, she was sent to a gulag…

During this period, ten cases of ritual murder accusations were recorded in the Soviet Union, primarily in Lithuania, the Caucasus and Uzbekistan.

As Bemporad says, versions of the ritual murder myth persist to this day in Russia and Ukraine. In 2009, the Ukrainian writer Vyacheslav Gudin charged that Ukrainian children had been solely adopted by Israelis for their body parts. And in 2018, on the eve of Passover, ritual murder rumors inundated the Siberian town of Kemerovo after 41 children were killed in a movie theater fire…

Antisemitic myths die hard.

Does this article inspire you to intercession for an end to antisemitism? Share your prayers in the comments below.

(Excerpted from The Times of Israel. Article by Sheldon Kirshner. Photo Credit: Anton Mislawsky).

553 People Prayed
588 People have read this article

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3 Replies to “LEGACY OF BLOOD”

  1. Thus says the Lord:

    “If heaven above can be measured,
    And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
    I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
    For all that they have done, says the Lord.
    Lord Yeshua, please bless Your people Israel, may many hearts be opened to know You as their Messiah!

  2. Comment } This story may encourage someone. When I was a little girl back in the early 60s sometimes when I would be starting to wake up I could hear singing in another language. This started when I was six years old and went on until I was eleven. In school when I was eight I learned a Hebrew folk song. I realized the singing I was hearing was Hebrew. Fast forward many years, In 2019 I was in Toledo Ohio at a conference at Lion of Judea Church. Rabbi Schneider (Discover the Jewish Jesus) was the speaker. Worship is wonderful there people were singing and dancing. Only I could hear the same singing I heard as a child. Be encouraged to pray for God’s chosen people.

  3. Sadly, the antisemitic spirit – which is just an extension of the antichrist spirit – has existed since satan’s fall, and is also the root of all anti-Christian violence and persecution. Until Christs return and His final elimination of all of His foes, this spirit will not be fully overcome on the earth. My prayers are two-fold: that God would preserve His people in the midst of rising worldwide persecution and violence, and that they will be spiritually awoken to hear Him calling them HOME to Eretz Israel – making Aliyah, and secondly, that the Gentile church would awaken to their calling in this hour to ‘bring their sons in our arms and carry their daughters on our shoulders’, Is.49:22, home to the land that He swore to Give to their Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So much of what we see in the nations – including ours – is part of this end time preparation of the Bride, to create God’s conditions for the return of Yeshua – His people in the land and their hearts prepared to cry out, “Blessed is He who come in the name of the Lord!”. All nations will be called to account for their treatment of those who carry His name. (Joel 3:1-2;Matt.23:29)We must pray for the Jewish people – the apple of His eye – to be preserved and to return home for His great names’ sake!There He has promised to reveal Himself to them (Zech. 12-14)for the glory of His name.


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