Lord Russell Publishes Moscow-suppressed Appeal for Soviet Jewry
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Lord Russell Publishes Moscow-suppressed Appeal for Soviet Jewry

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Lord Bertrand Russell’s reiterated appeal to the Soviet Government to abandon anti-Jewish discrimination–which the Moscow leading newspaper “Izvestia” refused to publish–was made public here today. The appeal, addressed as a letter to the editor of the Izvestia, reads:

“I am pleased to see that the letter written by Premier Khrushchev to me concerning the condition of Soviet Jews was published in Izvestia along with one of the letters I have written on this subject to Premier Khrushchev. I have also read with genuine interest the readers’ letters which comment on our correspondence. I am sympathetic to what they say of the achievements of the Soviet Union with regard to the abolition of legal disabilities imposed on Jews during Czarist days.

“This is a matter of special interest to me because my grandfather was responsible for the elimination of legal discrimination against the Jews in Great Britain. I am a friend of the Soviet Union, of her people and of her desire to improve and advance the conditions under which her citizens live. I am an ardent campaigner for close and genuinely cooperative relations between the peoples and governments of the western countries and the Soviet Union. I am a passionate opponent of the cold war and of all attempts to increase hostility, exploit differences and add to the terrible dangers facing mankind today.

“I know that no Soviet citizen will misunderstand me or think that when I speak frankly I wish to harm the Soviet Union or cooperate with those who promote the cold war. One of the tests of friendship is the ability to speak frankly without fear of being mistaken for an enemy or of being misunderstood. I hope, therefore, that you will appreciate the spirit in which I am now writing, one of concern for the Soviet people and not a spirit of condemnation.

“The Jews have been subjected to a long and continuous persecution in the history of Europe. The culmination of this cruelty was the wholesale extermination of millions of Jews during our lifetime–one of the worst, barbaric crimes in all human history. If ever a people were deserving of understanding and sympathetic treatment under harsh suffering it is the Jews of Europe.


“I should hope, therefore, that the Jews would be permitted full cultural lives, religious freedom and rights of a national group in practice as well as in law. During the last years of Stalin’s life, Soviet Jews were totally deprived of their national culture and means of expressing it. Leading intellectuals were imprisoned or executed by extra-legal practices which have since been condemned.

“I am concerned that the process of restitution of Jewish cultural activities has been slow. The Journals and theaters of much smaller groups are more plentiful and closure of synagogues and shortage of religious facilities have impaired the Jews in the pursuit of their beliefs.


“I am troubled that there should be articles in Soviet journals of many republics expressing hostility of Jewish people as such. I understand the objection to economic offenses such as were expressed in the letter to me by Premier Khrushchev. I feel, however, that the death penalty upon citizens accused of these crimes harms the Soviet Union and allows those hostile to her unjustly to malign her.

“I consider the fact that 60 percent of those executed are Jews to be gravely disturbing. I fervently hope that nothing will take place which obliges us to believe that Jews are receiving unjust treatment in contradiction to the law and that those who break Soviet laws concerning economic offenses will be rehabilitated instead of being put to death.

“I cannot too strongly appeal for understanding in the difficulty experienced by those in the West who are working dedicatedly to ease tension, promote peaceful coexistence and to end the cold war. These objects are harmed by events which those who desire a cold war can exploit and which trouble us who wish peace and good relations. I write as a friend, but one whose friendship requires honesty.”

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