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B’nai B’rith Protests Izvestia’s Call for Show Trial of Soviet Jews

B’nai B’rith today made public a letter to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin here, accusing the USSR of ignoring its own rules of jurisprudence in the recent call for a “show trial” of Jews accused of economic offenses. Label A. Katz, of New Orleans, president of B’nai B’rith, also protested to Mr. Dobrynin the “evident anti-Semitic quotient” in the show trial proposal, which appeared recently in Izvestia, the Soviet Government’s official organ.

Citing a resolution adopted last March 18, at a plenum of the Soviet Supreme Court, which stated that “no one can be declared guilty of a crime and subject to criminal punishment in any other manner except by the courts, Mr. Katz asked; “How can a Soviet court render a just verdict when the official Government newspaper has already called for a circus atmosphere, and has pronounced the death sentence?”

Mr. Katz suggested that the Izvestia article could be regarded as “a veiled effort to intimidate those who seek to protest discriminatory practices against Soviet Jews.” He said the listing of Jewish names in the Izvestia article was “unprecedented” for a Soviet publication as important as Izvestia. The consequence is “to encourage anti-Semitic stereotyping and a climate conducive to bigotry,” he said. “The issue cannot be easily dismissed as ‘malicious slander,'” Mr. Katz wrote. “There is neither malice toward nor slander of the Soviet Union in the earnest efforts of those who seek to encourage your Government to safeguard the full nationality rights of the Soviet Jewish community.”

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