GENEVA (Jul. 10)
The Soviet delegate to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which is now meeting here, today told the Social Committee of ECOSOC that there is no anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. He was replying to charges voiced earlier this week by Israeli delegate Moshe Bartur, who presented the Social Committee with a number of facts on anti-Jewish discrimination in the USSR.
The Soviet representative expressed regret that the representative of Israel mentioned the letter sent by Lord Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, to Moscow appealing that the Jews in the USSR should be permitted full cultural life, religious freedom and rights of a national group “in practice as well as in law.” In this letter, Lord Russell also said he was “gravely disturbed” by the fact that 60 percent of those executed in the Soviet Union for “economic crimes” were Jews.
“It is regrettable” said the Soviet delegate, “that the representative of Israel failed to mention the fact that Lord Russell’s letter was answered by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, on the 20th of February, pointing out that there has never been any anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.”
The Soviet delegate was, however, referring to Premier Khrushchev’s answer to Lord Russell in reply to the first letter which Lord Russell sent to Moscow addressed to Mr. Khrushchev personally. What he omitted to say was that Lord Russell was apparently not satisfied with Mr. Khrushchev’s answer, and sent another letter, this time to the Izvestia, official organ of the Soviet Government. This second letter–which Mr. Bartur brought up in his speech at the Social Committee–was never published in the Izvestia. Nor was it answered by Premier Khrushchev.
As a result of the discussions on religious discrimination, the Social Committee adopted this week a resolution endorsing the decision of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to give priority to preparing a draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance, at its 20th session, which is to take place in 1965. Mr. Bartur requested “urgent and precise steps” to combat religious discrimination and said that delay would be “incomprehensible and unacceptable.” However, his request was ignored.