Yoel Matveev’s “The Jewish Designers of North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb” is a fascinating read, historically, accurate, but it nevertheless it leaves me queasy — and not, I think, because I am a parochial-minded Jewish historian.
If you want to blame Americans (including émigré scientists not just Jews but Enrico Fermi, non-Jewish but with a Jewish wife) for unleashing the nuclear genie in 1945 and thereafter: OK. But to blame it, and the latest horror wrinkle in North Korea, on “Jews” is beyond the pale.
If one wants to make a malicious, perverted case blaming “Jews” for the world’s current (and maybe former) predicament with the kookie communist NK hermit kingdom, the line of causation would run from the so-called “Rosenberg Spy Ring” to the Russian A-Bomb in 1949 to the (first?) Korean War to what’s happening today with Kim Jong Un.
Yoel Matveev does indeed mention spy Klaus Fuchs’ role as Teller’s deputy in midwiving the Soviet bomb. But Matveev does not mention that Fuchs was Jewish, a fact that not everybody knows. On the other hand, Matveev does go out of his way that Oppenheimer, who opposed hydrogen bomb development was Jewish, a fact that most people do know.
What is going on here?
Harold Brackman/Simon Wiesenthal Center