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Kennedy Reproaches Moscow on Closing of Synagogues; Voices Condemnation

President Kennedy, in his address before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, indirectly accused the Soviet Union of violating the UN Charter by closing down synagogues. Without mentioning the Soviet Government by name specifically, he stressed that member states of the United Nations “are committed by the Charter to promote and respect human rights.” He then added:

“Those rights are not respected when a Buddhist priest is driven from his pagoda, when a synagogue is shut down, when a Protestant church cannot open a mission, when a Cardinal is forced into hiding, or when a crowded church service is bombed. The United States of America is opposed to discrimination and persecution on grounds of race and religion anywhere in the world, including our own nation,” he emphasized.

Through legislation and administrative action, through moral and legal commitment, he pointed out, the U.S. Government “has launched a determined effort to rid our nation of discrimination which has existed far too long–in education, in housing, in transportation, in employment, in the Civil Service, in recreation and in places of public accommodation. And, therefore, in this or any other forum, we do not hesitate to condemn racial or religious injustice, whether committed or permitted by friend or by foe.”

(Widespread approval of President Kennedy’s reference to the religious discrimination against Soviet Jewry in his United Nations address was expressed today by the Israeli press which warned, however, that Israelis will have to undertake a more active policy in this area to secure international support for a change in the situation. The world will not understand President Kennedy’s intervention, “if the Israel delegation does not express its own feelings about the plight of Soviet Jews, ” Haboker, General Zionist newspaper declared, reflecting the prevailing opinion in Israel.)

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