Dr. Goldmann Criticized in Israel for Statement on Jews in Russia

A storm of criticism against Dr. Nahum Goldmann for his views on the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union broke out today in the Israeli press, while President S. Z. Shazar and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol were reported as having cabled Dr. Goldmann for explanations.

Dr. Goldmann said at a press conference in New York last Thursday that protests against Moscow’s discrimination against Soviet Jews were necessary, but he warned that “too often the problem is being distorted in its character with the result that accusations are being made against Russia which are not Justified, and which can only delay the solution of the problem, and even harm Soviet Jewry.”

Israel Government quarters were surprised by Dr. Goldmann’s statement and Israeli political circles considered the statement as “a blow to Israeli efforts with regard to the rights of Soviet Jews.” Leaders of the Organization for Russian Jews stated that their recent convention in Jerusalem was not anti-Soviet, but was convened solely to impress the Soviet authorities with the need to improve conditions of Jewish life in the USSR.

The Jerusalem Post, Davar, Haboker, Herut, Maariv and other daily newspapers in Israel were unanimous in their editorial criticism of Dr. Goldmann’s statement in New York with regard to the Soviet-Jewish problem. They also criticized him for his views on Arab-Jewish relations expressed during the same press conference.

STATEMENT CONSIDERED ‘UNFORTUNATE’ AFTER PRESIDENT JOHNSON’S APPEAL

The Jerusalem Post, in its editorial, said that the timing of Dr. Goldmann’s statement, coming in the wake of President Johnson’s recent public appeal to the Soviet Government on behalf of Soviet Jewry, was “clearly unfortunate.” The paper added that Dr. Goldmann’s “curious” diplomatic assumptions are also reflected in his proposals regarding the Arab issue. “Unfortunately a conflict like this,” the Post asserts, is not given to backroom political solutions any more than Soviet Jewry’s problems.”

Davar, organ of Histadrut, describes Dr. Goldmann’s statement on Russia as “surprising and, in part, damaging and harmful.” The paper also criticized Dr. Goldmann’s statement regarding the Arab-Israel question and expressed doubt over the influence of Arab emigre communities in settling the conflict. The paper also warned that repeated public statements regarding contacts with certain North African countries might do more harm than help.

Haboker, organ of the Liberal Zionists, described Dr. Goldmann’s statement as a “transparent tactic” designed to secure for himself an official invitation to Moscow, but doubted whether he will be successful. “Irresponsible talk” was the newspaper Herut’s reaction to Dr. Goldmann’s statement while the independent afternoon newspaper Maariv scored the timing of Dr. Goldmann’s remarks as being “tactless and devoid of political sense” as they undermine the present campaign in behalf of Soviet Jewry.

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