OTTAWA (Jan. 7)
Paul Martin, Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs, will be one of the principal speakers here tomorrow when rabbis of all denominations from the entire Dominion are to confer here on the situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union. The conference had been called by the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Meanwhile, in evident anticipation of the conference, a news bulletin, published here by the USSR Embassy, printed a denial that there is a “Jew is a problem” in the Soviet Union, labeling accusations about Soviet anti-Semitism as “misinformation.” The arguments presented in the Soviet denial were also printed as a full-page advertisement put in by the Soviet embassy in the newspapers here.
Hy Bessin, president of the Jewish Community Council of Ottawa, and a member of the national committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, promptly characterized the paid advertisement as an “apology” contradicted by “most authentic sources.” The advertisement asked and answered a number of tendentious questions as follows:
“Is there a Jewish Problem in the USSR?” Is there a Jewish question in the USSR? How do Jews live in the USSR? Can Jews speak their own tongue in the USSR? Does the Soviet Union have theatre and concert teams performing Yiddish? Can Soviet Jews choose a profession at wish? Is there equality of citizenship of all nationalities in the USSR in the eyes of the law and courts of justice? Is it true that the 1961 and 1962 trials of the USSR currency regulation violators were directed against Jews? How do matters and as regards religious worship for Jews in the USSR? What do foreign visitors say about the position of Jews in Russia? How do Soviet Jews assess misinformation about their life? How does Soviet law protect the rights and interests of national minorities, including Soviet Jews?”