Sixty years after his parents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death, Robert Meeropol, a lawyer, for the first time publicly acknowledged that his father “was guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage.” It is worth sitting with that for a second—perhaps the final wall of denial to fall in a case that has obsessed the American Jewish community for six decades—before getting to all of what Meeropol won’t admit, which continues to be prodigious. He attributed the admission to a recent Weekly Standard article that contained further revelations of atomic secrets Julius Rosenberg passed to the Soviet Union.
The co-author of that article, Ron Radosh, published a lengthy piece last month in Tablet Magazine exploring why some continue to deny or extenuate over the charges against Julius—who was a spy—and Ethel—who at the least knew of her husband’s activities. Some of this hesitance stems from an honest place: Despite their (and particularly Julius’s) actual guilt, there were several irregularities about the trial. But most of it, especially today, Radosh persuasively argues, stems from the far left’s desire “to maintain their view that the only guilty party was the United States.”
And so to Meeropol, who also said, “The F.B.I., the Justice Department and Judge Kaufman were guilty of a much more serious conspiracy than any my father was involved in,” and has recently written,
Ethel was not a spy and Julius was ignorant of the atomic bomb project. They were innocent of stealing the secret of the atomic bomb and they were fighting for their lives. It would have been next to impossible for them to explain to their children and supporters the subtle distinction between not being guilty of stealing atomic secrets and blanket innocence. Given that, I can understand the course of action they took from a political standpoint.
Rosenberg Son Says Father Was Guilty of Spy Charge [City Room]
Related: Cold Case [Tablet Magazine]
The Sobell Confession [The Weekly Standard]