GENEVA (Jul. 17)
Seventy-two of the 115 countries in which the world’s total Jewish population of about 11,827,000 lives are free from overt anti-Semitism, according to a survey issued by the World Jewish Congress. In the remainder anti-Jewish feeling ranges from social bias to restrictive governmental measures.
The survey was prepared for the World Jewish Congress five-day meeting which is scheduled to open here next week. About 70 Jewish leaders from more than 20 countries are to participate in the sessions.
In establishing the world’s Jewish population at 11,827,000, the study reports that 78 percent are located in three countries: the United State (5,200,000), Russia (2,000,000) and Israel (1,760,000). More than half–5,987,000–live on the American continent; 3,214,000 in Europe; 1,959,000 in Asia; 603,000 in Africa and 64,000 in Australia.
Figures for some of the other major communities are: Algeria, 130,000; Argentina, 400,000; Brazil, 110,000; Canada, 241,000; France, 250,000; Great Britain, 450,000; Morocco, 200,000; Rumania, 200,000 and the Union of South Africa, 110,000.
Nations, lands and territories listed by the WJC as being free from overt anti-Semitism include: Peru, Venezuela, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Ethiopia, and New Zealand. The Jewish population of the 72 bias-free lands is only 16 percent of the Jews in the world. The remainder live in countries where anti-Jewish sentiments or anti-Semitism are still manifest to a greater or lesser degree.
In Afghanistan, where a one-time community of 5,000 has dropped to about 400 in a decade, the report states: “there has always been severe discrimination against Jews who have been regarded as infidels and therefore second-rate subjects of the Shah.” Iraq is reported as preventing Jews from going abroad; Egypt’s remaining 15,000 Jews–24,000 were expelled in 1956-57–live in an atmosphere of “tension and animosity.” Libya’s 4,300 Jews “experience considerable difficulties in obtaining passports for traveling abroad” and in the Sudan, “the Jews do not maintain relations with foreign Jewish organizations.”
ANTI-SEMITISM WEAK IN U.S., BUT SOCIAL BIAS IS EXTANT
In the United States, the survey finds, “anti-Semitic organizations and publications have declined since the war but there still are a number of both. Anti-Jewish bias on the social level is still extant; in the economic field it is diminishing, although not in all areas.” There is also “social bias against Jews” in Britain although “anti-Semitism has traditionally been weak..” but “there exist some anti-Jewish organizations and publications.”
Anti-Semitic tendencies persist, the report states, in almost all the Jewish communities behind the Iron Curtain. Czechoslovakia’s community of 15,000 Jews suffers repressive measures; pro-Israel elements were arrested in 1957; all Zionist and political activity has been stopped and Jewish participation in the Government and the Communist Party “has been wholly eliminated.”
In both Hungary (80,000 Jews) and Poland (25,000) anti-Semitism is punishable by law, but, in both countries it persists, as it does in Rumania. In Soviet Russia, there has been “a let-up” in the anti-Semitic actions that marked the 1948-53 period of Stalin’s regime but “arrests were reported in 1957, and at least a certain amount of official discrimination continues to exist.” Albania (200 Jews) alone of the Communist states in Europe is given a clean bill of health as far as anti-Semitism is concerned: “No discrimination or political persecution appears to have taken place since the end of the war.”