YOU ARE VISITING THE OLD MALKIN(S)WATCH. THAT'S FANTASTIC. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW MALKIN(S)WATCH WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE. Malkin's post about Harry Belafonte's meeting with Hugo Chavez includes this quote from another blogger (emphases mine):
In June 2000, Belafonte was a featured speaker at a rally in Castro's Cuba, honoring the American Soviet spies, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Tears, one observer reported, "streaked down" Belafonte's face, "as he recalled the pain and humiliation his friend [Paul] Robeson had been forced to endure" in 1950s America.There's layers and layers of analysis that could be done on Paul Robeson, but I was struck by this passage from Wikipedia:
In 1948 Robeson was on one of his periodic visits to the Soviet Union when he asked to meet with Yiddish poet Itzik Feffer. Feffer, along with the actor Solomon Mikhoels and other prominent Jews were victims of the latest anti-Semitic purge by Stalin. They had been hosted by Robeson during a World War II visit to the U.S. as part of Stalin's Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and Robeson had been urged to intervene on their behalf. Though he had been cleaned up and dressed in a suit, Feffer's fingernails had been torn out.There's a lesson here, but I have the feeling it's a little too subtle for the Malkins to pick up on.
Though he couldn't speak openly, Robeson later told his son that the poet indicated by gestures and a few handwritten words that Mikhoels had been murdered on the orders of Stalin and that the other Jewish prisoners were being prepared for the same fate. After the two friends said goodbye, Feffer was taken back to the Lubyanka and would never be seen alive again.
However, when Robeson returned home he condemned as anti-Soviet propaganda reports that Feffer and other Jews had been killed. Not once did Robeson denounce Feffer's murder. Later on Robeson confided in his son, Paul Robeson Jr., the details of his meeting with Feffer. He made his son vow not to make the story public until well after his death, "because he had promised himself that he would never publicly criticize the USSR."