WASHINGTON (May. 16)
The Senate, with a unanimous vote of 68 to 0 adopted this weekend a resolution condemning the religious and cultural persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.
The Senate acted promptly on the measure, which was proposed earlier by Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff, after its Foreign Affairs Committee reported favorably Friday on the resolution, which urged the Soviet Union, “in the name of decency and humanity,” to cease executing persons “for alleged economic offenses and to permit fully the free exercise of religion and the pursuit of culture by Jews and all others within its borders.”
The only substantive change introduced in the original resolution was that the Foreign Relations Committee added, in the first part referring to the persecution of Jews, also a reference to Christian and Moslem citizens of the Soviet Union. But it left intact the point that Jews were singled out “for extreme punishment” by the Soviet authorities.
The resolution, as adopted by the Senate, reads as follows:
“Whereas the Congress of the United States deeply believes in freedom of religion for all people and is opposed to infringement of this freedom anywhere in the world; and
“Whereas abundant evidence has made clear that the Government of the Soviet Union is persecuting, in varying degrees of intensity, elements of its Christian, Jewish and Moslem citizens, and
“Whereas there is also abundant evidence that Jewish citizens have been singled out for extreme punishment for alleged economic offense by confiscating synagogues, by closing Jewish cemeteries, by arresting rabbis and lay religious leader, by curtailing religious observances, by discriminating against Jews in cultural activities and access to higher education, by imposing restrictions that prevent the reuniting of Jews with their families in other lands, and by other acts that oppress Jews in the free exercise of their faith; and
“Whereas the Soviet Union has a clear opportunity to match the words of its constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion with specific actions, so that the world may know whether there is a genuine hope for a new day of better understanding among all people: now therefore, be it
“Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that it is the sense of the Congress that persecution of any persons because of their religion by the Soviet Union be condemned, and that the Soviet Union in the name of decency and humanity be urged to cease executing persons for alleged economic offenses and to permit fully the free exercise of religion and the pursuit of culture by Jews and all others within its borders.”