Anti-semitism Held Useful in Russia As Scapegoat for Economic Ills

Two categories of “Soviet leaders” still oppose liberalization of USSR conditions insofar as the Jewish population in the Soviet Union is concerned, Combat, an influential newspaper here and organ of the left wing of the Gaullist party, reported today.

Pointing out that, of 99 recent court cases against persons found guilty of so-called “economic crimes, ” 65 were Jews, Combat said the opponents of liberalization of the Jewish situation consist of leaders who are: 1. Representatives of the “dogmatic bureaucracy” and 2. Those “who, without a special, reasoned logic, let themselves be carried away by their fundamental anti-Semitism.”

The members of the old-fashioned bureaucracy, stated Combat, “consider their treatment of the Jewish minority as a tactical move, designed to slow down the country’s general trend toward liberalization while, at the same time, providing a useful scapegoat for Russia’s current economic ills.”

The Gaullist paper appealed to Russian leaders to stop blinding themselves on the Jewish issue. It said: “No one has humanly the right to ignore this problem (Soviet anti-Semitism). It should not be used as a platform for anti-Soviet propaganda. But Russia must realize that its attitude toward its Jewish community indisposes its best friends, estranges sympathies, and contrasts with the image of Russia in a period of de-Stalinization. The best way to prevent Russian anti-Semitism becoming a cold war weapon is not to keep silent, but to contribute toward its solution.”

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