Let My Peoples Go: The American Jewish Committee and the Baghdad and Leningrad Show Trials, 1969-70

Fedeski, Amy, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Loeffler, James, AS-History, University of Virginia

In January 1969, the Ba'athist regime of Iraq announced it had found fourteen men, nine of them Jewish, guilty of treason. The following year, in June 1970, the Soviet government conducted a show trial of its own following the arrests of eleven would-be defectors, nine of them Jewish, in Leningrad. This thesis explores these two events in comparative perspective through an analysis of the reaction of the American Jewish Committee. It argues that the AJC responded to the trials using the same basic toolkit of approaches; the difference in scale and success between the two trials can be explained by contextual factors. This case study offers a snapshot of an organization which has a nuanced understanding of its place within Jewish American politics and the geopolitical situation at large.

MA (Master of Arts)
Jewish American, Leningrad trial, Iraqi Jews, Soviet Jewry Movement, American Jewish Committee
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