I have read several obits for Yelena Bonner, who died in Boston on June 18th at age 88. You can find them on-line easily by Googling her name.
The major papers have overlooked her attachment to her Jewish roots and her love and passionate defense of Israel. Her Jewish background is mentioned only in passing. Her love of Israel – not at all.
Yelena Bonner suffered from anti-Semitic attacks in the Soviet Union as part of the oppression she and her husband Andrei Sakharov faced. Perhaps, like so many have, she found it strange that with all the horrors in the world, the worst opprobrium and most vicious attacks were directed at one small group of people and their tiny state and as time went by she became more aware of her Jewish roots….
Bonner’s fight against anti-Semitism and defense of Israel are not mentioned at all in the widely available obituaries in paper such as the Washington Post or NYT (nor in the Guardian, for that matter).
Right now I don’t want to get into the politics of the Soviet Union and the dissident movement there.
The important point is to remember that there were committed leftists there who stood up against the tyranny of the state, and who after leaving stayed true to their ideals.
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