LONDON (Dec. 1)
A report on the situation of the Jews of Eastern Europe and of North Africa was presented here last night at the opening session of the 10th biennial convention of the British Section of the World Jewish Congress by A. L. Easterman, political director of the WJC.
Mr. Easterman reported that the WJC was continuing its efforts to send to the Soviet Union a delegation headed by its president Dr. Nahum Goldmann to discuss with Soviet authorities various aspects and problems of Jewish life in the USSR. He asserted that in the 40 years of the Soviet regime the position of Russian Jewry had not improved and that it was suffering from restraint and discrimination and was practically cut off from the Jews of the rest of the world.
Mr. Easterman described the Soviet’s Middle Eastern policy as disappointing and disquieting. “Not the least of our anxieties,” he said. “is that the restraints upon the Jews of Russia may be related to major international policies of the Soviet Union so fiercely concentrated in the Middle East.” The Jewish people as a whole, he continued, are partisans of neither the East nor the West and cannot be involved in the Big Power conflict, regardless of the views of individual Jews.
The WJC leader paid tribute to the Moroccan Government for standing four square behind it obligations to grant full freedom and equality to the Jews. One freedom, however it has not respected, he noted, the right of Jews to emigrate to other countries, including Israel. He revealed that the Congress was working on this problem.
Dr. S. Levenberg. Labor Zionist leader, told the conference that the solution of the problem of Russian Jewry lies in the Soviet Government openly fighting anti-Jewish discrimination and anti-Semitism. The USSR must also give up its policy of “denationalizing” the Jewish minority–a process which has actually strengthened Jewish feelings–and it must not ignore Jewish interest in Israel, Dr. Levenberg added.
The Marchioness of Reading, president of the British Section, told the 300 delegates that the WJC was neither a Zionist, nor a Jewish Agency nor an Israeli organization. it is an international body representing a multitude of sections of Jews throughout the world, she insisted. “The strength of the Congress lies in its independent nature and universality,” she said.