British Delegate Attacks Jewish Groups at U. N. Debate on Anti-semitism
Menu JTA Search

British Delegate Attacks Jewish Groups at U. N. Debate on Anti-semitism

Download PDF for this date

The Soviet Union and the United Arab Republic opened a drive here today to halt a move in the United Nations anti-bias unit to debate “manifestations of anti-Semitism” by insisting that anti-Semitism is only one of many types of racial discrimination in the world.

At the same session this morning, Britain’s spokesman in the group. Prof. C. Richard Hiscocks, sharply attacked two Jewish organizations by name, calling their reports on anti-Semitism “provocative” and “panicky.” Prof. Hiscocks leveled his attacks against the American Jewish Committee and the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations. The latter represents here B’nai B’rith, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the South African Board of Jewish Deputies.

The anti-bias unit, officially the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, opened its discussion of anti-Semitic manifestations this morning. The group was following through upon last year’s debate of the subject which occurred during the height of worldwide swastika smearings and other anti-Semitic manifestations that broke out after the desecration of the synagogue in Cologne, Germany on Christmas Eve, 1959.

Even before the discussion started, a resolution avoiding use of the term “anti-Semitism” was introduced by Valentyn I. Sapozhnikov of the USSR. This draft would oppose all “racial, national or religious hatred or discrimination.” However, the Soviet resolution was framed in such a manner as to avoid mention of anti-Semitism specifically and to concentrate on the types of anti-racist clauses included in the constitutions of all Communist countries.

“Racialism is not restricted to anti-Semitism,” Mr. Sapozhnikov told the Subcommission. He requested that his draft resolution be voted and related the contents of his draft to a resolution adopted in 1955 by the Bandung Conference. That conference, dominated largely by Arab states, also adopted a sharp anti-Israel resolution.

Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Ghani, representative of the United Arab Republic, then delivered a long-speech which, in the opinion of some observers here, was one of the most virulent anti-Jewish speeches ever delivered at the United Nations. After professing a distinction between Judaism, which he called a “personal matter between man and his God,” and Zionism, which he said, was a “political concept, which we fight,” Mr. Abdel-Ghani proceeded to minimize the significance of the swastika plague of 1959-1960.


Professor Hiscocks in his address said there was “very little evidence that any major part was played by organized anti-Semites” during the 1959-1960 outbreaks. He attacked the American Jewish Committee for allegedly saying that “the peace of all mankind was jeopardized by the 1959-1960 manifestations.” He said the AJC attitude was “exaggerated and panicky.” He then referred to a report filed with the anti-bias unit by the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, dealing specifically with anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. “I dislike the provocative tone of this document, “he said, “and I feel that it does not seem to fit with our terms of reference.”

Later, however, Prof. Hiscocks, ignoring the Soviet resolution, proposed a three-point program for the Subcommission’s dealing with anti-Semitism. Under his plan, the group is to: 1. Express its intention to deal with any anti-Semitic manifestations when and if such activities recur; 2. Call upon all governments to increase education, especially for the youth, about the significance of anti-Semitism; 3. Ask the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization to encourage expansion of educational programs about “the dangers of anti-Semitism.” More education about anti-Semitism was also demanded in another speech by Branz Matsch, of Austria.

Colonel John M. Raymond, a prominent Negro leader, representing the United States, also called for further expansion of education “regarding the tragic significance of the swastika symbol,” and warned that the anti-Semitic manifestations of 1960 showed there was “fertile soil for further demonstrations” of that kind. He also attacked the Soviet Union, without naming that country, for failing to reply to charges made by organizations here of overt anti-Semitism in the USSR. Byelorussia filed a brief reply today to an inquiry about anti-Semitism. The apply merely denied that there was any anti-Semitism in Byelorussia, and cited the Soviet constitution forbidding such actions.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund