The chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, had had just about enough. Coarse bigots like General Albert “Jail the Jews” Makashov and Viktor “Purge the Jews” Ilyukhin were giving the party a bad rep. So he and some colleagues in the communist faction in the Duma sent an open letter to President Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff. True communists, they piously wrote, have no truck with “chauvinism and national intolerance…. Judeophobia [is] impermissible.”

Well now. Let’s read on. Not all Jews, it seems, are loyal. The Jewish community must “more clearly define its… relationship to Zionism,” which is “a blood relative to fascism,” only sneakier. “Nazism,” the letter explains, “appearing under the mask of German nationalism, attempted openly to subjugate the world. Zionists, appearing under the mask of Jewish nationalism, act in secret and employ the hands of others.”

In his political autobiography, “I Believe in Russia,” Zyuganov (as quoted by David Remnick) wrote in a similar vein that “Jewish influence grows not by the day, but by the hour. The Jewish Diaspora… is becoming more and more the owner of the controlling interest in all the stocks of Western civilization and its socioeconomic system.” Despite the smarmy hypocrisy of his concern about “Judeophobia,” Zyuganov clearly believes that when he blames the Jews for Russia’s troubles, “real” Russians will applaud his perspicacity and share his prejudice.