Like a dog with its chew toy, the left just can't let go of its efforts to make saints out of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, despite overwhelming evidence that the two really were Soviet spies who passed along atomic secrets to their masters in the Kremlin.
The latest in nearly 60 years of canonization attempts since the pair were executed for treason in 1953 was the New York City Council's "honoring" of Ethel Rosenberg on Sept. 29, what would have been her 100th birthday. The New York Post reports:
Three council members joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in issuing two proclamations lauding Rosenberg, a Lower East Side resident, for “demonstrating great bravery” in leading a 1935 strike against the National New York Packing and Supply Co., where she worked as a clerk.
Leading a strike? That was a big deal? During the 1930s, a decade of ceaseless labor unrest, Wikipedia counts some 46 major strikes in the U.S. alone. That Packing and Supply Co. strike didn't even make the list.
Of course, honoring Ethel Rosenberg's pariticipation in an obscure labor dispute wasn't the point. The point was to pretend one more time that she was an innocent victim of what liberals deem the most dreadful plague ever to have befallen America: opposition to communism:
The proclamations also said she was “wrongfully” executed for helping her husband, Julius, pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.
“A lot of hysteria was created around anti-communism and how we had to defend our country, and these two people were traitors and we rushed to judgment and they were executed,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens).
The City Council honors seemed to be a response to the July release of grand-jury transcripts in which Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, also a participant in the spy ring, declared that his sister knew nothing about her husband's involvement in the systematic espionage.
But that supposed exoneration of Ethel Rosenberg has been ripped to shreds by the historian and former City University of New York professor Ronald Radosh, co-author of the definitive history of the Rosenberg trial, The Rosenberg File. Radosh wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
Ethel’s innocence, however, cannot be ascertained by ignoring other evidence outside of this transcript that points to her serious involvement in the espionage of the Soviet network her husband ran. Even in other parts of the same transcript, largely ignored in the press reports, Greenglass has his sister Ethel present and knowledgeable, as when he says she was present at a meeting with Julius and a courier for his group, Ann Sidorovich.
Hard evidence for Ethel’s guilt can be found in the Venona decrypts of KGB messages to its operatives in the U.S., and in the notebooks of KGB files meticulously copied in the 1990s by Alexander Vassiliev, who fled Russia in 1996 and had them smuggled into London.
A Nov. 21, 1944, Venona decrypt has Julius telling the KGB that he and his wife both recommend the recruitment of Ruth Greenglass, David’s wife. On Nov. 27, KGB agent Leonid Kvasnikov cabled that they considered Ethel “sufficiently well developed politically. Knows about her husband’s work” as well as that of other agents. He characterizes her “positively and as a devoted person.”
In Vassiliev’s notebooks, an entry from the KGB says about Julius that “His wife knows about her husband’s work and personally knows ‘Twain’ and ‘Callistratus.’ [code names of Soviet agents.] She could be used independently, but she should not be overworked. Poor health.” Another entry, about a meeting held on May 12, 1944 with Ruth, Ethel and Julius, reports that when told by Julius that they had to keep silent, “Ethel here interposed to stress the need for utmost care and caution in informing David of the work in which Julius was engaged and that for his own safety all other political discussion and activity on his part should be subdued.”
But a few facts have never stood in the way of the left. As U.S. News contributing editor Peter Roff writes:
The left still likes to pretend that none of that ever happened, that it was all the result of right-wing paranoia and that there never were any Communists in Hollywood or the State Department. The facts show differently, though, in fairness, just believing that Marx, Engels and Stalin were right and Jefferson, Adams and Washington were wrong shouldn't have been a crime – unlike lying to Congress, perjury, spying, and treason which are, should have been and should be.
The purpose of all this is not to correct the historical record. It's more like the crusade launched by United States Sen. Ortolan Finistirre at the end of Christopher Buckley's "Thank You for Smoking," in which the fictional politician, having failed to get a skull and crossbones label on cigarette packages, begins to pressure Hollywood to eliminate all references to smoking in its classic films. It's not censorship, he argues, so much as it is an "updating" that takes the images of the past and synchronizes them with the values of the present. And there's no harm in that, is there?
And the lighting of candles in front of that statue of "St. Ethel" isn't going to stop soon.