NEW YORK (May. 15)
Dr. Nahum Goldmann asserted here today that the Jewish people will continue to demand that the Soviet Union provide to its Jewish community the same facilities granted in the USSR to all other religious and national groups. He added, however, that an effort will be made “to separate this demand from the general anti-Soviet propaganda of the Cold War.”
Prior to his scheduled departure, tomorrow night, for Europe and Israel, Dr. Goldmann. also discussed the present position and the near future of the Jews in Algeria and talked about the forthcoming Ecumenical Council, to be convened by the Catholic Church in Rome, next October.
As president of the World Zionist Organization and the World Jewish Congress. Dr. Goldmann asserted, regarding Russia, that “it is very difficult bo see the rationale of Soviet policy toward its Jewish minority.” Citing the facts about Russian Jews enjoying certain rights on an equal basis with other national groups, he pointed to:
1. “The large number of death sentences against Jews for economic crimes and the special publicity given to them.
2. “The refusal, for the first time in the history of Soviet Russia, to provide the Jewish community with matzos,” indicating “a policy of discrimination which, naturally, causes considerable concern among Jews all over the world.”
3. The main complaint with regard to Soviet Jewish policies is against the undeniable difficulty for Jews to express themselves as Jews, religiously, culturally and nationally, despite their status as a national minority under the Soviet Constitution.”
APPEALS TO SOVIET ‘SELF INTEREST,’ HOPES AUTHORITIES WILL CHANGE POLICY
Asserting that “it is almost impossible to understand the motives of such a policy of enforced assimilation as is applied to the Jewish minority in Russia,” but specifically disassociating himself from joining the Jewish issue to Cold War propaganda, he stated:
Despite the lack of real progress until now, we do hope that, from the point of view of their own interests, the leadership of the Soviet Union will realize the unfairness and lack of justification for their policies, which endanger the survival of the second largest Jewish community in the world, and that they will begin to change this policy.”
(In a letter to The New York Times today, Democratic Congressman William Fitts Ryan, of New York, stated that he had received “evidence of widespread discriminations” against Soviet Jews. He proposed that the U.S.A. and the USSR include religious leaders in their cultural-exchange programs, and asked: “If the well-documented reports of religious persecution can be refuted, then why does not the Soviet Union allow, indeed encourage, a free interchange of personnel and information with her Jewish religious community?”)
HOPES FOR ACTION VS. ANTI-SEMITISM AT ROME; SEES DANGERS IN ALGERIA
Dr. Goldmann announced that a large number of Jewish organizations around the world represented in the Conference of Jewish Organizations, have presented to Pope John XXIII a memorandum asking the Ecumenical Council to adopt “a clear statement of the Church against racial and anti-Semitic tendencies and the elimination from the Catholic liturgy and Catechism of passages which inseminate anti-Jewish prejudices among millions of Catholic children.”
He expressed the “confident hope” that the Council “will take positive action to combat dangerous anti-Semitic prejudices, stating that “such action would be acknowledged with deep satisfaction by the Jewish community everywhere.” He expressed “satisfaction” over the advance planning for the Council by the Vatican under the direction of Cardinal Agustin Bea.
The Jewish leader expressed “deep concern over the future of the Jewish community in Algeria, despite the rights and guarantees given them under the Evian agreement. He stated: “The confused situation, full of violence and crimes perpetrated by the OAS terrorists, which unfortunately still prevails in Algeria, threatens the Jews possibly more than other parts of the European community. The Jews in Algeria, not less than all others, have a great stake in the quick restoration of law and order.”
Dr. Goldmann expressed the hope that within its limited possibilities, the Jewish community in Algeria will contribute to the efforts of the French Government to implement the Evian Agreements and bring about a new era of peace and prosperity “to that unhappy country.” “Whatever may happen in Algeria,” he said, “it is clear that many Jews will leave and are leaving.
“Most of them go to France and their influx creates very serious problems for the French Jewish community. It is the duty of world Jewry to help French Jewry to take care of the Algerian newcomers, both materially and culturally. At the same time, it is to be hoped that more and more will go to Israel, where the government and the Jewish Agency stand ready to absorb and settle them.”