Soviet Treatment of Jews Attacked by Sharett at World Parley
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Soviet Treatment of Jews Attacked by Sharett at World Parley

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Soviet Russia was sharply attacked here today by Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, in an address delivered at the World Congress of the Socialist International which opened here yesterday.

Mr. Sharetf, who heads the Israeli delegation to the congress, said he felt a “particular obligation” to record his feelings about the Soviet part in the achieving of the partial test ban “in view of the long list of grievances of the Jewish people against the USSR.”

Enumerating the “iniquities and injustices of totalitarian Communism toward the Jews and other minorities,” he stressed before the world’s leading Socialists the denial of rights to Soviet Jews, “the denial of self-expression, the absence of any Jewish cultural life, the suppression of Jewish education, the denial of facilities for Jewish children to learn the Hebrew alphabet, which renders religious freedom a farce.”

He pointed out that the Bible is not available in Hebrew in the Soviet Union. He accused the USSR of “deliberately exaggerating the percentage of Jews among economic offenders,” referring to “the sinister effects of such official publicity on the minds of the Russian public which is still subject to dark anti-Semitic prejudice.” He noted that Russian Jews are not permitted to emigrate to Israel “except in exceptional cases” even for purposes of reunification with their families.


Mr. Sharett said he wondered whether the relaxation of East-West tensions consequent upon the partial ban on nuclear testing “would render the Soviet attitude toward Jews more humane and civilized.” The Soviet Union, he said, was “a champion of indivisible peace, but, when it could be promoted in a certain region, they are particularly guilty because the security of certain countries is exposed by the Soviet supply of arms to states openly committed to the renewal of war there and to the destruction of Israel.”

He criticized the Soviet Union sharply for the veto it cast last week in the United Nations Security Council on the Anglo-American resolution condemning Syria by implication. He charged the USSR with “responsibility for paralyzing the Security Council by rallying to Syria’s defense after Syria had murdered two Israeli settlers “who incidentally,” he said, “were Socialist youths.” By that veto, he said, the USSR “was encouraging Syria to renew firing across the Israeli border.”

In conclusion, Mr. Sharett expressed confidence that peace would eventually come to the Middle East. That, he said, would result from two processes; 1. Through the awakening of social conscience in the Arab lands, bringing about concentration on the welfare of the common man and the realization of cooperation among the states, including Israel; and 2. The firm adherence to the principle of direct negotiations for the solution of all pending issues.


Harold Wilson, leader of the British Labor Party, told the delegates that during his recent visit to Moscow, he raised the issue of disabilities of Soviet Jews and that there were already “some results” but, he added, the results were “certainly insufficient” particularly in special cases of elderly Jews allowed to Join relatives outside the Soviet Union. He disclosed this in speaking on a resolution on the Jews in Russia introduced by the Israeli delegation.

He also described his recent visit to Israel and stressed the “unique role” he said Israel could play in world development. He declared that there were countries which were not so developed and sophisticated as the older nations but that they had experiences of great interest, such as those of Israel and India. He asserted that even the mistakes such newer countries make are lessons.

The Israeli experience, he declared, was “very relevant” to development programs. He described the Afro-Asian Institute in Tel Aviv and mentioned the recent visit of a Labor Party delegation to Israel.

Thomas Douglas, a former Premier of Saskatchewan, said that Canada had army units in the United Nations Emergency Force stationed on the Gaza Strip and that those soldiers felt it was their duty to help keep peace in the Middle East. He called Israel “a beacon of light” in the Middle East.

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