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Stalin Prevents Czechoslovak Arms Transfers to Israel

 

The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 16, Section 5 (C16S5)

 

Saed T.

 

Summary: Stalin and many other high-ranking Soviet security officials opposed the Rejectionist “Destroy Israel” thesis and rather supported the establishment of a People’s Democracy in Israel. To this end, they supported the Mapam, the communist-led ‘Socialist Zionist’ popular-frontist party that operated as a Soviet espionage front. At the same time, to roll back the Anglo-American threat against the progressive Arab states, and to assist the efforts for the establishment of an Israeli People’s Democracy, the Soviets and the Czechoslovaks militarily funded the Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Palestinian Arab armed struggle against the Israeli regime in order to reduce the stock of the means of violence available to Israel’s comprador classes, which at the time were commanded by comprador fascist CIA-MI6 agents David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan. Yet, the Slansky faction of the Czechoslovak state was responsible for seizing state arms and transferring them to the IDF in cooperation with the Mossad. Slansky and Geminder were two prominent Titoist agents in the high ranks of the Czechoslovak state apparatus. Under directions by MI6 agent Beria, in collaboration with Yugoslav intelligence, and as negotiated by Robert Maxwell (father of Ghislaine Maxwell), the Geminder-Slansky network stole arms from the Czechoslovak military and secretly transferred them to the IDF. Stalin, initially unaware of this, was informed by the Yiddish-Hungarian communist anti-Zionist fighter Matyas Rakosi, who complained of the Czechoslovak arms transfers to Israel. Stalin and Rakosi informed the Czechoslovak comrades, especially Gottwald, about the conspiracy and thereby further arms shipments were blocked. Subsequently, much of the Slansky network was purged on charges of service to the UDB (Yugoslav secret service), the CIA-Mossad, and the MI6. What follows is a detailed description of the course of events.

 

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[A] faction of the Czechoslovak state had refused arms for Israel and had armed the Syrians. Yet, we know that Czechoslovak arms reached Israel. How, then, is this blatant contradiction to be explained, if not by the calculation that this must have been done by rogue elements of the Czechoslovak state, a CIA-MI6 faction in the Czechoslovak state, responsible for such armaments of Israel, in contradiction with and devoid of coordination with the anti-imperialist faction of the Czechoslovak state? And indeed, it was done by the CIA-MI6 faction led by Slansky. The Mossad operative Ehud Avriel and several other Israeli intelligence agents had been deployed to Europe to obtain military assistance for the fight against the Arabs. Alongside Avriel, Mordechai Oren was tasked with the recruitment of European Ashkenazim into the Israeli military. Howard Sachar, the head of the Hiatt Institute funded by the US State Department, wrote:

Mordechai Oren, a member of Israel’s far-left Mapam party [to which Oren was a traitor], and Nahum Shadmi, a senior Haganah training officer based in Paris, traveled through Eastern Europe, seeking to recruit young Jews for military service in Israel. (Israel and Europe: An Appraisal in History, Howard M. Sachar, 1998, p. 58) (IMG)

Details of such a project have been exposed by Karel Kaplan, an imperialist spy who stole many of the archives of the Czechoslovak government in his defection to the West in the mid-1970s. Subsequently, he closely collaborated with the CIA's Radio Free Europe, as well as with the ‘Federal Institute for East European and International Studies’ which was and remains an the official research wing of the Interior Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. With such a background, he wrote a book titled 'The Report on the Murder of the General Secretary', after the 1989 collapse of the Czechoslovak government. Kaplan wrote:

Ehud Avriel (formerly Uberall) was one of Ben Gurion's people sent to Europe with this mission [of obtaining arms]. Avriel met in Paris with Robert Adam Abramovici who represented the import-export firm of Joseph Nash. Before the war, this firm had operated in Romania representing, among others, Czechoslovakia's Zbrojovka Arms Works. General Heliodor Pika, at the time Czechoslovakia's military attache in Bucharest, had met both Nash and Abramovici, who in 1939 funneled financial support to Czechoslovakia's anti-Nazi resistance through him (Pika). After the war, General Pika, appointed deputy Chief of General Staff, was responsible for Czechoslovakia's arms industry. He renewed his contacts with Nash and Abramovici, who were now in Paris, again representing the Zbrojovka Arms Works.

Bedrich Reicin, commander of defense intelligence, recommended the sale of arms to Haganah via the Nash firm. The Czechoslovak government approved. General Pika was very instrumental in arranging this. The arms in question were nonmoving inventory: weapons built for the Germans during the war but which were now useless. The Prague government was happy to unload them. On December 1, 1947, the Zbrojovka Arms Works signed a contract to sell more weapons than Haganah's entire arsenal at the time. The next task was to deliver the weapons to Israel. This was the job of Pika, Reicin, Clementis, and Masaryk. The Polish government refused to allow transshipment, and the weapons were therefore sent down the Danube River through Hungary to Yugoslavia, and then clandestinely through Italy to Tel-Aviv. They arrived in April 1948.

(The Report on the Murder of the General Secretary, Karel Kaplan, 1990, pp. 239-241) (IMG)

Back in 1947, Czechoslovakia had not undergone a socialist revolution and that Czechoslovakia was still a bourgeois state. It was headed by a non-communist. The Czechoslovak Communists had gained increased influence throughout the state apparatus via the democratic elections, but the communist revolution had not yet happened. The prominent Mossad official Ehud Avriel remembered in his memoirs that Masaryk told him that Vladimir Clementis supported Israel using the excuse of combating British imperialism. Avriel also noted that Joseph Nash and Robert Adam Abramovici militarily aided the Mossad for free, which would have not only helped the Israelis win their war against the Arab forces for cheap, but also would have sabotaged Czechoslovakia’s economy. Avriel wrote:

Robert Adam and Joseph Nash, at that time business partners, never accepted a penny or even the smallest gift in return for the services they rendered to the Haganah. It was their way of expressing their feeling of responsibility for the fate of Jewish Palestine.

The representative of the Czech armsworks was at the airport to meet us. So was my friend Felix Doron, the Haganah man in Prague, who came with us in the black. official-looking limousine to the head office of Adam's business friends.

'Have we emerged from the underground?' Doron whispered to me in the car.

'I hope we have,' I replied. 'Otherwise we shall be wiped off the ground altogether.'

Less than an hour after we entered the offices of the Zbrojovka, Brno – permeated with an air of solid authority and reliable politeness we had concluded the deal. Adam was at home in these offices; and the younger of the two Czech directors had been at school with Felix Doron. who was born in Prague and had left for Palestine just before the invasion of Czechoslovakia. The two sides in the negotiation understood each other perfectly.

(…). Doron and I rushed to the Czech Foreign Office with a letter of introduction to Jan Masaryk, the son of the founder of the Czech republic and then Czech Foreign Minister, as well as a warm friend of Zionism. When I telephoned his office from the armsworks, he agreed to see me at once. I explained the situation to Masaryk, who was visibly delighted that his country could help us and pleased that we were able to overcome 'technical difficulties'. He was certain that his communist deputy, Vlado Clementis, would likewise favour assisting our war effort. 'For me, it is enough that you defend yourself against your enemies. But Clementis will be happy to know that by fighting for your life you undermine British imperialism in the Middle East.'

(‘Open the Gates!: A Personal Story of “Illegal” Immigration to Israel’, Ehud Avriel, 1975, p. 335) (IMG)

Clementis, an imperialist-fascist agent, was documented in C15S8 to have been a staunch supporter of Slovak separatism and the partition of People’s Democratic Czechoslovakia. Clearly, Clementis was not from the mainstream of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC), and rather belonged to the Titoist elements that had infiltrated it. The superficial ‘hostility’ of Israel and Britain was undoubtedly useful for Clementis and the Yugoslav intelligence service, for it portrayed the military armament of Israel, the sabotage of the Soviet efforts to bring military victory for the Arabs, as a supposed struggle against British colonialism. Anyways, Kaplan continued:

Meanwhile, further arms negotiations had started in March. Czechoslovakia suffered a dire shortage of hard currencies and offered Haganah a considerable additional amount of hardware from its own surplus, valued at about $18 million. One of the main instigators of this project was Antonin Zapotocky, then a deputy premier. He discussed the possibility of additional weapon sales with Mordechai Oren, an officer of the left-leaning socialist Mapam party. Zapotocky even promised to train Israeli fliers and paratroopers in Czechoslovakia. The government presidium had Reicin negotiate details of the arrangement with Avriel, who represented the Haganah. The military airport in Zatec was put at Haganah's disposal for moving the weapons. The transport, ostensibly a sale of scrap metal to an Addis Ababa company, was taken care of by a Panamanian air company, under code name Operation Balak. In April and May, the Prague government released eighty-five aircraft to Haganah but refused to sell tanks and cannons. The aircraft were flown via an air-bridge from Czechoslovakia's Zatec to Yugoslavia's Titograd (then called Podgorica) to Ekron in Palestine. Some eighty Haganah fliers were trained in military schools, and another group was undergoing paratroop training at the training center in [the Czechoslovak town of] Straz pod Ralskem.

At this time, too, a Czechoslovak military brigade for Israel was being formed. Its members were being trained in Velka Strelna, in the Libava military area. Its formation was proposed by Shmuel Mikunis, general secretary of the Communist Party of Israel. He originally wanted to create an international brigade from Jews of the people's democracies. Moscow approved, and Mikunis, armed with Malenkov's approval, visited Communist leaders of the bloc. In Prague he dealt with Slansky and Geminder who were, however, not particularly enthused by his requests.

Mikunis calculated that the presence of this brigade would strengthen his party's influence in Israel. He assumed that most members of the brigade would be Communists. However, the entire plan changed after the split with Yugoslavia, which had been particularly receptive to it. Only a Czechoslovak brigade was created, which included a few dozen Hungarian and Romanian Jews. Instructors and commanders were selected by Svab's records department of the CC KSC secretariat, particularly Osvald Zavodsky. (…). The transport took place in parts, starting in December 1948, with the last contingent of some five hundred people leaving in April 1949. By then the Arab-Israeli war was over, and the brigade was not needed.

(The Report on the Murder of the General Secretary, Karel Kaplan, 1990, pp. 239-241. Bold added) (IMG)

It deserves to be further noted that:

Czechoslovakia was the only member of the Soviet bloc to provide Israel with military assistance…. (The Report on the Murder of the General Secretary, Karel Kaplan, 1990, p. 241) (IMG)

Noteworthy is that, as confirmed also by the Slovak National Newspaper (SNN), the prominent Anglo-Israeli intelligence operative Robert Maxwell was a key negotiator in the matter as well. The SNN, both in its print and online versions, is the organ/media of the “Matica Slovenska”, the Slovak government’s official anti-communist institution for promoting bourgeois-nationalism in Slovakia. It receives financial support through the Slovak government budget. Discussing the history of the arms deals with Israel, the newspaper revealed:

the main mediator of this huge supply of weapons from the Czechoslovak Republic for Israel was the Israeli agent Robert Maxwell (real name Ján Ludvík Hoch, a native of Subcarpathian Ukraine), later a well-known media mogul. (“Šesťdesiat rokov po poprave o osudových okolnostiach násilnej smrti V. Clementisa II: Bez diskusie..., jedenásť povrazov a tri doživotia!” [“Sixty years after the execution of the fateful circumstances of the violent death of V. Clementis II: Without Discussion … eleven ropes and three lifetimes!”], Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), Peter Štrelinger, December 15, 2012, p. 10. In: Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), December 15, 2012) (IMG)

So much for the British Empire’s supposed ‘opposition’ to the Zionist regime, the top MI6 operative Maxwell was arming the regime of Israel. The above-mentioned network of Mossad agents in Czechoslovakia were also close to the MI6 spy Lavrenti Beria. In fact, the British agent Beria was a major culprit of the arms sales to the Zionist regime. Without Joseph Stalin’s knowledge or approval, the MI6 agent Beria:

succeeded in giving military aid to Israel. Stalin did not know everything and did not necessarily approve of everything that my father [Beria] did in this connection, in a sphere where he [Beria] could act discreetly and without asking for permission, by using his personal network of agents. (Beria: Inside Stalin’s Kremlin, Sergo Beria, p. 208) (IMG)

Beria’s channel for arming Israel’s regime involved a vast network of Titoist spies in the top ranks of the Peoples’ Democracies. The most important channel for funnelling weapons to the Zionist state was Czechoslovakia. In particular, Beria conducted the operation thanks to the active support and involvement of other Anglo-American agents Rudolph Slansky and Bedrich Geminder:

Although arrests of some high-level [officials] had been occurring as far back as 1949, the first sign that this might develop into a widespread purge came on 27 November 1951, with the arrest of Rudolph Slansky, general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, and his deputy Bedrich Geminder, both … associated with Beria and the MGB. Indeed, acting with Beria's sanction, they [i.e. Slansky and Geminder] had made Czechoslovakia a center for funneling aid and weapons to Israel in its conflict with the Arabs after the war. (Beria: Stalin’s First Lieutenant, Amy Knight, p. 169) (IMG)

In the drive to arm the regime of Israel, added to such big ‘chess pieces’ as the MI6 spy Beria and MI6 spy Maxwell, there was the MI6 spy Tito. Recall the fact that prominent Mossad operative Shaike Dan:

Shaike Dan … managed to establish a close friendship with the head of the Yugoslav secret police. (‘Romanian-Styled Capitalism’, Israel Defense, Issue 11 of the magazine, February 17, 2013) (IMG{Romania})

It is also worth noting that Tito personally approved the activities of the Mossad in Yugoslavia and hailed Zionist migration:

The Joint Distribution Committee was lauded yesterday by Premier Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia for the successful conclusion of its rehabilitation program in that country and for aiding in the emigration of Yugoslav Jews wishing to go to Israel, the New York Times reported today from Belgrade.

Marshal Tito told Frederick C. White, J.D.C. director for Yugoslavia, in his villa on Dedinje Hill that it was only just and proper that special efforts were made to aid Yugoslavia’s Jews. The Premier stated he felt the Jews had a right to emigrate to a country for which they had longed for over 2,000 years. Following his visit with Tito, Mr. White was decorated with the Order of the Yugoslav Banner, third degree.

Mr. White, who will leave Belgrade for Israel this week-end after spending more than four years in this country during which time the J.D.C. expended some $3,500,000 for the relief and rehabilitation of the decimated Jewish community, had high praise for the “generous cooperation and sympathy received from Yugoslav authorities.” Some 500 Jews are expected to leave for Israel March 10, it was revealed, leaving some 5,000 Jews in this country who wish to remain. Two hundred Yugoslav Jewish physicians who wish to leave for the Jewish state have not been allowed to do so until additional graduates of medical schools are available to take over their duties.

(‘Tito Lauds J.D.C. Work in Yugoslavia; Decorates U.S. Jewish Relief Official’, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 1950. In: JTA Bulletin, March 1, 1950, p. 4) (IMG)

After the 1948 War, the Yugoslav regime rushed in to finance the Israeli intelligence front organization ‘World Jewish Congress’:

Yugoslav authorities have turned over to the Israel representative in Belgrade 4,500,000 dinars collected by Yugoslav Jews in a special fund-raining campaign for Israel, it is revealed in a report received here today by the World Jewish Congress from the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia.

The Federation, which is affiliated with the World Jewish Congress, emphasized in the report that the Jews of Yugoslavia are ready to re-establish contact with the Jewish communities throughout the world.

(Yugoslav Jewish Communities Seek Contact with Jews Abroad; Inform Jewish Congress, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, December 1, 1949, p. 5) (IMG)

Anyways, during the 1948 War, the UDB, the Tito regime’s fascist secret service,:

helped Israel in connection with various activities, including arms smuggling to Israel and by serving as a transit point for immigrants from Romania. (‘Romanian-Styled Capitalism’, Israel Defense, Issue 11 of the magazine, February 17, 2013) (IMG)

Therefore, Beria, Slansky, Geminder, and the entire network of renegades who assisted Israel were also treasonously allied to the Yugoslav intelligence service. Beria had longed been a collaborator with the Tito-Rankovic faction in Yugoslavia. In addition to facilitating the process of transferring arms from Czechoslovakia to Israel, Yugoslavia itself also provided military support for the Israeli state during the 1948 War, as revealed by the CIA. We know for a fact that the only country from the USSR and the Peoples’ Democracies that sold weapons to Israel was Czechoslovakia, and such arms sales were done by Yugoslav agents. Hence, the ‘possibility’ of the USSR and Poland providing Israel with arms simply did not materialize. On the other hand, the United States provided high-quality military equipment to Israel, while Yugoslavia furnished Israel with arms, as confirmed by the following CIA document:

The efforts of Zionist agents abroad have resulted in the stockpiling of quantities of small arms, automatic weapons, and ammunition in various eastern European countries for eventual shipment to Palestine. Most of these stocks come from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and possibly from Poland and the USSR. Jewish acquisitions from the US consist mainly of machinery, motor vehicles, and air transport. The Israeli forces are much more concerned with obtaining such heavier equipment than in acquiring small arms. (PROBABLE EFFECTS ON ISRAEL AND THE ARAB STATES OF A UN ARMS EMBARGO, CIA, ORE 48-48, Washington, August 5, 1948. In: Foreign Relations of the United States, US Department of State, 1948, Vol. 5, p. 1279) (IMG)

That the prominent MI6 agent Beria, the top MI6 operative Maxwell, as well as the intelligence service of the British spy Tito (see C12S5) all supported the arms sales to Israel is further evidence of the fake character of the British imperial ‘hostility’ to Israel. One could calculate, based on dialectics, that since the interests of the comprador reactionary class dominating Israel converged with the interests of British finance capital, Israel and Britain would be allied despite pretending the contrary. The 1948 War was called the ‘War of Independence’ because the IDF was allegedly ‘liberating’ Israel from the British Empire and the Arab ‘mercenaries’ of the MI6. At the time, British ‘anti-Zionism’ was a means of facilitating contact with the Hashemite monarcho-fascist Arabs. Recall that even during the 1956 invasion of Egypt, Britain was only unofficially allied to the IDF. Officially, back then, Britain branded itself as a ‘peacekeeper’ seeking to limit Israeli ‘excesses’. All observers called the British Empire’s bluff, and it was clear to all that the British military was allied to the IDF despite pretending otherwise. Only a while later, when the Israeli regime stabilized, and when the British imperialist alliance had become far too exposed and well-known, did the British Empire begin to openly support both Jordan and Israel. Hence, even in the 1956 War, the Ben-Gurion, who owed his whole career to the British Empire, and Moshe Dayan, who had lost his eye fighting as a military intelligence officer of the British Army during the Great Patriotic War, pretended to be contradicting the British Empire. Why is the disproof of the ‘hostility’ of the Ben-Gurion faction to Britain so significant? It is significant firstly because it reaffirms the dialectical thesis that classes with the same interests would have a natural tendency to ally with each other, and when the political actors serving as agents of these classes ‘oppose’ each other, it is either a deception operation, or out of a temporary small misunderstanding that can be resolved quickly. This is important because it debunks the ‘realist’ school of International Relations theory, which aims to explain strategic relations on the narrative of separate geopolitical entities competing with each other and behaving directly according to the shape of their borders, rather than according to the class alliances. Secondly, it reaffirms the thesis that the Soviet call for the removal of the British occupation in 1947, even if ostensibly ‘at the expense’ of the partition of Palestine, was a move that undermined the British Empire and hence the ally of the British Empire, the Ben-Gurion faction in Israel, even though it may have appeared as giving the Ben-Gurion faction a state with which to slaughter Arab civilians.

Recall the excerpt of the report by the Soviet Foreign Ministry official Zorin to Molotov: “the Czechoslovak government has sold weapons to the Syrian government (mortars, mortar shells and cartridges). At the same time, the Czechs have refused to sell weapons to the Jewish Agency in Palestine, which made this request in November 1947.” The fact that this report states that the Czechoslovak government had refused to sell weapons to the Israeli regime - the ‘Jewish Agency in Palestine’ – shows that rogue elements of the Czechoslovak government had been involved in the arming and funding of the regime of Israel. And we know that these were indeed rogue elements, for they were agents of the British and Yugoslav intelligence services.

Once Stalin found out about the secret arms sales, he reported the Czechoslovak arms sales to Czechoslovakia’s anti-Zionist leader Klement Gottwald. By all indications, Gottwald had been unaware of such Mossad influence in his own country. Indeed:

Alexej Cepicka discussed Gottwald's anxiety and surprise when he learned about the extent of Czechoslovakia's economic contacts with Israel. (The Report on the Murder of the General Secretary, Karel Kaplan, 1990, p. 244) (IMG)

Gottwald subsequently blocked the arms sales. Stalin agreed that the arms shipments should be stopped in Czechoslovakia. This has been revealed by the Slovak National Newspaper (SNN), the organ/media of the “Matica Slovenska”, the Slovak government’s official state-budgeted anti-communist institution for promoting bourgeois-nationalism in Slovakia. Discussing the history of the arms deals with Israel, the newspaper revealed:

As Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Clementis also solved the problem of arms transfers to Palestine. The route led by rail through Hungary to Yugoslav ports and from there by ship to Palestine. It is worth mentioning that on May 15, 1949, an employee of the Central Committee of the KSb negotiated with Klement Gottwald and Rudolf Slánsky about Mátyás Rákosi’s complaint to Stalin about Czechoslovak arms supplies to Yugoslavia, which were in fact intended for Israel. Stalin agreed to their detention in Hungary. (“Šesťdesiat rokov po poprave o osudových okolnostiach násilnej smrti V. Clementisa II: Bez diskusie..., jedenásť povrazov a tri doživotia!” [“Sixty years after the execution of the fateful circumstances of the violent death of V. Clementis II: Without Discussion … eleven ropes and three lifetimes!”], Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), Peter Štrelinger, December 15, 2012, p. 10. In: Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), December 15, 2012) (IMG)

Note again that Stalin initially was unaware of the Czechoslovak military aid to the IDF. Recall that Sergo Beria had said that Lavrenti Beria:

succeeded in giving military aid to Israel. Stalin did not know everything and did not necessarily approve of everything that my father [Beria] did in this connection, in a sphere where he [Beria] could act discreetly and without asking for permission, by using his personal network of agents. (Beria: Inside Stalin’s Kremlin, Sergo Beria, p. 208) (IMG)

In Moscow, Beria was the primary agent assisting Geminder and Slansky in the provision of arms to the Israeli armed forces:

Although arrests of some high-level [officials] had been occurring as far back as 1949, the first sign that this might develop into a widespread purge came on 27 November 1951, with the arrest of Rudolph Slansky, general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, and his deputy Bedrich Geminder, both … associated with Beria and the MGB. Indeed, acting with Beria's sanction, they [i.e. Slansky and Geminder] had made Czechoslovakia a center for funneling aid and weapons to Israel in its conflict with the Arabs after the war. (Beria: Stalin’s First Lieutenant, Amy Knight, p. 169) (IMG)

By the time of Rakosi’s complaint to Stalin, however, the latter had come to know much more about the conspiracy to arm the IDF and supported efforts to purge those responsible for such sales. In its usual anti-Soviet propaganda language, the SNN, itself the Slovak regime’s notoriously anti-Semitic media outlet, stated:

Stalin knew very well about Czechoslovak military aid to Israel, and who was responsible for it. Stalin's "papal infallibility" probably played a role here. Czechoslovakia allowed itself to "do business on its own" and, without the Kremlin's knowledge, supported the establishment of a Jewish state. The main culprits had to be found and visibly punished as soon as possible". It was the period of Stalin's sickening anti-Semitism…. (“Šesťdesiat rokov po poprave o osudových okolnostiach násilnej smrti V. Clementisa II: Bez diskusie..., jedenásť povrazov a tri doživotia!” [“Sixty years after the execution of the fateful circumstances of the violent death of V. Clementis II: Without Discussion … eleven ropes and three lifetimes!”], Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), Peter Štrelinger, December 15, 2012, p. 10. In: Slovenske Narodne Noviny (SNN), December 15, 2012) (IMG)

Hence  the purges against those responsible for the arms sales began:

The campaign against Zionism … culminated in the Slansky trial in Czechoslovakia, the country which militarily helped Israel the most.  (Report on the Murder of the General Secretary, Karel Kaplan, 1990, p. 242) (IMG)

During the Slansky trials, the accused were accused of being simultaneously agents of Israel and of Yugoslavia. This was true since the Yugoslav and Israeli secret services were allied and the Slansky group had collaborated with both of them in the arms sales. In what became famously known as the ‘Prague Trials’ and the ‘Slansky Purge’, Slansky, Geminder, Zavodsky, Reicin, Svab, and Clementis were interrogated, tried for intelligence activities on behalf of the Mossad, and executed. The close associates of these individuals were duly investigated and purged. General Heliodor Pika, who had been responsible for assisting Mossad in the arms sales, was identified as an imperialist spy and he too was executed well before the other Zionist agents were. His collaborators Robert Adam and Joseph Nash were, as far as I am aware, not executed however, because they were in Paris and not in Czechoslovakia. Most of the Slovak separatists were purged as well; among them survived the Mossad-backed Slovak separatist leader Husak, who later became the head of the Czechoslovak state from 1969 onwards, thanks to the assistance of the Yugoslav agent Dubcek. Zapotocky who opportunistically placed himself at the forefront of the anti-Zionist campaign and who pretended to be anti-Israel, was able to survive the purges. Unfortunately, the faction headed by Beria and Malenkov eventually succeeded in the power struggle against the Stalin faction, and thus their Titoist network was able to release Mordechai Oren from jail after Stalin’s death.

The purges of the Zionist agents occurred thanks to the assistance provided by Rakosi to Gottwald, as revealed throughout the book by Karel Kaplan (see C15S8). Several Czechoslovak officials serving as agents of American intelligence, were allied to these individuals and the details of their purges are explained in C15S8. In addition, Mossad operative Oren was jailed; Mikunis as the head of the Israeli ‘communist’ movement was denounced for his bourgeois-nationalist defection. Officially, the purges were due to the mentioned network’s large-scale systematic economic sabotage on behalf of the Mossad as well as their Slovak separatist conspiracies. Another reason though, was of course the arms sales to Israel. The Zionist Israeli anti-communist historian Gilboa admits:

One of the aims of the Prague trial was to indicate to the Arab world of the readiness of the Soviet bloc to join it in an anti-Israel campaign. From the accusations against Slansky and his friends the Arabs were to reach the conclusion that they and Czechoslovakia had the same enemy, for these traitors had weakened the defensive power of Czechoslovakia in handing over to the Jews of Palestine important military equipment for waging war against the Arabs. By affording assistance to the emigration of Jews, by aiding Jewish displaced persons reached Palestine, by helping out in the transfer of capital, and by similar acts, they had simultaneously sabotaged Czechoslovakia and increased the power of the Israeli aggressors. Part of the plan of the traitors standing trial was to harm the relations between the Democratic People’s Republic [of Czechoslovakia] and the Arab states. They alone are responsible for the support given to Israel several years before, backing which was actually one of their destructive plots. (…). In other words, Prague made a concentrated and spectacular effort in November 1952, to clear herself once and for all of the “stigma” of her position and behavior with respect to Palestine in 1947-1948. It is quite certain that parallel to these overt verbal gestures in the court intensive action was taken at approximately the same time to wing sympathy by generous offers (by Moscow and Prague) of military equipment and weapons to the Arab countries from the famous armaments industries of Czechoslovakia. (The Black years of Soviet Jewry, Yehoshua A. Gilboa, pp. 274-275) (IMG)

It is beyond the scope of this work to explain this particular matter in depth but the Czechoslovak communists and the Soviets did not publicly speak much about the role of the Slansky group in funding and arming of Israel, because the Mapam, the communist-led ‘Socialist Zionist’ popular front in Israel, used the armament of Israel ‘by Czechoslovakia’ as a talking point for why Israel should be strategically aligned with the USSR and the Peoples’ Democracies. Indeed, the Mapam agents in Israel – from Haganah Commander Moshe Sneh to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to Mapam deputy leader Ya’akov Riftin – spoke of the ‘Czechoslovak aid’ to Israel during the ‘War of Independence’ against the Arabs as a talking point to persuade the Israeli audience towards the objective of strategically aligning Israel with the Soviet Union against the Anglo-American imperialists and against the Ben-Gurion faction.

The purges of the Slansky gang were also reflected several times in the Soviet media. One of the articles previously stated explained aspects of the trial. Vladislav Minayev, a top Soviet media figure and pundit, wrote for the New Times, the following:

The Zionist leaders, having sold themselves to American imperialism, have placed their organizations and associations at the disposal of the American secret service. This was clearly brought out at the recent trial of Slansky and his gang of conspirators in Prague. Ornstein, Zionist and American spy, stated at the trial that in 1947 Truman, Acheson and Morgenthau (then Secretary of Treasury) had a secret conference with the Zionist leaders Ben-Gurion and Sharett in Washington, where the so-called “Morgenthau-Acheson plan” was adopted, defining the conditions on which the United States would render support and assistance to Israel. A sequel to this plan was the wide-scale utilization of the Zionist organizations by the American secret service. All these “cultural,” “philanthropic” and other societies have been turned into centres of espionage and sabotage activities against the countries of the democratic camp, and of the supply of agents for this purpose. For this criminal work, too, the Zionists have placed at the disposal of the American secret service the members of their organization working in the diplomatic service. It was revealed at the trial of the Slansky gang, for instance, that Avriel (Uberall) and Kubovy, former Israeli Ministers in Prague, worked in close contact with the spies and saboteurs, gave them instructions, protected them from discovery, etc. (Zionist Agents of the American Secret Service, New Times, Vladislav Minayev, January 21, 1953, p. 6. Re-published in: CIA)

The antithesis of Slansky’s pro-Zionist position was Czechoslovakia’s pro-Arab policy and the sale of arms to Wafd-led government in Egypt. Indeed, a declassified Israeli intelligence document referring to the Israeli representative (minister) in Prague, stated:

In the [Israeli] minister’s opinion, Slansky had perhaps opposed Czechoslovakia’s pro-Arab policy and the sale of weapons to Egypt, and this opposition had led to his indictment as a Zionist, the description of Israel as a “country working against the national movements which are freeing themselves from colonial regimes”…. The minister adds that some reaction to these phenomena is necessary. He proposes condemnation of the new line in the press in London and in Paris….  (Coded Tel. P325, Inc.: 130.09/2343/1, Israel Legation in Prague to the East European Division, December 21, 1951. In: DOCUMENTS ON THE FOREIGN POLICY OF ISRAEL, State of Israel Archives, Vol. 6, 1951, Edited by Yemima Rosenthal, Companion Volume, p. 366) (IMG)

 

 

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