UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Mar. 3)
The American Jewish Committee charged here today that the Soviet Union allows its 3, 000, 000 Jews “neither to assimilate, nor to live according to the dictates of their consciences, nor to emigrate” and that the Kremlin authorities have “trapped” the Soviet Jews “in a desparate predicament.”
The accusations were leveled in a document filed by the AJC with the U. N. Commission on Human Rights. The Committee is represented here permanently as an affiliate of the International League for the Rights of Man.
The document–which also assailed other countries, especially Iraq and Syria, of anti-Jewish acts–was rare in that it named the countries specifically. Under the rules of the Commission, nongovernmental organizations are not allowed to accuse any country by name.
The AJC submitted its complaint against the Soviet Union and other countries as a “comment” which would aid the Commission in making its periodic report to the United Nations. The AJC document has not yet been circulated to members of the Commission, and is held by the Secretariat in the body’s files until special instructions are formulated on the wider dissemination of the charges.
Surveying the status of anti-Semitism throughout the world, the document noted that, in Eastern Europe as a whole, “the governments have undertaken conscientiously to eradicate the heritage of traditional and Nazi anti-Semitism.” It spotlighted especially the easier situation for Jews in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Rumania. Then the report continued:
“In contrast, in the USSR, in a governmental campaign against bribery, currency speculation and other economic offenses, Jews have been singled out for special punishment and saddled with the blame for their non-Jewish superiors’ offenses. The Jewish backgrounds as well as synagogue connections of defendants have been widely publicized.
“In that country, comprising the second largest Jewish community in the world, the religion and culture of some 3, 000, 000 Jews are being harshly restricted in what seems to be an attempt to cut them off from their historic roots. Adherents of the Jewish religion suffer disabilities not imposed on those of other religious groups.
“For example, Jewish congregations may not aid one another; Jewish religious articles may not be manufactured or imported; Hebrew may not be taught; virtually no rabbis may be trained; sanctified cemeteries have been closed; the Government refuses to permit production of unleavened bread (matzoh) needed for ritual purposes, and Yiddish institutions and schools are closed. This remains essentially the situation even though, in response to expressions of concern from other countries, the authorities recently permitted a bilingual Hebrew dictionary to be issued, food parcels of matzoh to be received from abroad, and a Yiddish periodical to resume publication on a minimal scale.”
(From Moscow it was reported today that the Communist Party there has launched a major new drive against all religions in the Soviet Union. Teachers, journalists and other key education groups were ordered to make special efforts to overcome “the remnants of religion” and to intensify atheistic propaganda among adults and children.)