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Pro-israel Demonstration in Moscow Led to Suppression of Jewish Groups, Writer Says

The closing down of the only two Yiddish-language publishing houses and the dissolution of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow last year were the direct results of a Zionist demonstration conducted by Jews in the Soviet capital on the occasion of the visit by members of the Israel delegation to the Moscow Synagogue, Joseph Newman, former Moscow correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune, reported today in a series of articles on conditions in Russia appearing in that newspaper.

Mr. Newman reported that members of the Israel legation in Moscow, who had just arrived in the Soviet Union in the latter part of the summer of 1948, were invited to attend Rosh Hashanah services at the Moscow Synagogue. “When Mrs. (Golda) Myerson and members of her mission arrived,” the article stated, “they were amazed at the huge throng of Jews who packed the entire street in front of the synagogue to great them.

“They were dumfounded at what happened next,” the report continued. “There was an impassioned and almost hysterical outburst of feeling. Jewish men and women broke out in tears. They wept as they cheered and cried aloud: ‘We have waited all our lives for this! For Israel! Tomorrow to Jerusalem!'”

The article added: “The Soviet leaders were not slow to punish the demonstrators. They sounded a clear and strong warning to the Jews in Russia. It was a notice that Russian Jews would not be permitted to leave the Soviet Union and to go to Israel.”

Asserting that a “large number of Russian Jews had been flocking” to the Israel legation “to demand visas for Israel and to ask help in getting Soviet permission to leave the country,” the article said the Jews proceeded to the legation “full of enthusiasm demanding to know what they could do and how they could serve Israel.” Mr. Newman stated: “The Israel legation was put under strict surveillance both inside and outside the Metropole Hotel. Soviet citizens bound for the legation were ordered to leave immediately and never return.”

The former Moscow correspondent, who has been denied reentry to the Soviet Union, said Soviet officials “liquidated the offices of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” because they felt it had “served its purpose in mobilizing support during the war but should not be permitted to continue as a center through which Jews could keep in touch with one another.” The article added that “Jewish employees left their offices as usual on Saturday but when they returned on Monday they found the following announcement pasted on the doors: ‘Liquidated.'” The Herald Tribune correspondent added that the anti-Zionist campaign “became so violent, brutal and vulgar that it began to run away with itself,” and “it officially contributed to the spread of latent anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union by providing an opportunity for anti-Semites to parade publicly as anti-Zionists.”

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