NEW YORK (Mar. 13)
One of America’s most prominent Protestant clergymen, Bishop James A. Pike, of the Episcopal Diocese of California, accused the Soviet Union today of using Russian Jews as “a scapegoat” in a campaign against what the Kremlin calls “economic parasitism.”
Bishop Pike, in a letter to the New York Times, accused the Moscow Government of “stereotyping and scapegoating” in anti-Jewish convictions which he termed “offensive,” ominous, clearly contradicting the letter and the spirit of Soviet ideology and law.”
According to Bishop Pike, the Soviet Union has been conducting a campaign against black marketeers, currency speculators and pilferers of state property. But, he pointed out, “among the scores tried and convicted, many were given varying prison terms, and 13 were sentenced to death by shooting. At least 10 of the 13 sentenced to death, and the majority of those given prison terms, are Jews.”
The Moscow Government, charged the Bishop, is enforcing its laws cruelly, going “easy” on “true” natives but singling out Jews for severe punishment because Jews are considered by the Government “a foreign minority.”
The clergyman pointed out that the Soviet press consistently perpetuates “the traditional, anti-Semitic prototype, deeply rooted in Russia, of the Jew ‘whose only God is gold.’” Bishop Pike appealed to the Soviet authorities for clemency on behalf of those given death sentences and long prison terms.