WASHINGTON (Jun. 22)
The House Foreign Affairs Committee was criticized here today for eliminating reference to Jews in its resolution on Soviet discrimination against religion. Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said he felt that the Committee’s wording of its resolution was “deficient in the most crucial aspect of the resolution’s intent–the spotlighting of the Jewish situation as worse than the situation of the other minorities in the Soviet Union.”
Rep. Farbstein said he was studying possible measures to bring the House phrasing into conformity with the Senate concurrent resolution which would voice Congressional condemnation of Soviet anti-religious discrimination, asking the Soviet Union “to permit fully the free exercise of religion and the pursuit of culture by Jews and all others within its borders.”
Pointing out that there was no conceivable objection to include an appeal of other minorities in the House resolution but that the specific reference to the plight of the Jews should be retained and understood there, Rep. Farbstein said the Jewish situation was described in the “whereas” clauses of both Senate and House versions “but the crucial, specific reference to Jews in the final enacting clause of the House Committee’s wording of the resolution has been eliminated in a way that weakens this undertaking and blunts its thrust.”
National Commander Ralph Plofsky of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. similarly urged today the House of Representatives to restore specific reference to Jews in its version of Senate concurrent resolution which would voice Congressional condemnation of Soviet anti-religious discrimination.
“To do less than retain the meaningful Senate language would undermine the original purpose of the resolution, designed to alleviate the specific plight of Jews which differs from the situation of other minorities,” the JWV leader said in a communication to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He pointed out that the Committee reported out language that altered the Senate resolution’s enacting clause from a plea for religious and cultural freedom for “Jews and all others” to a call merely for such freedom for “all persons.”
The resolution was envisaged to counter the distinct harassment of Jews by the Soviet Union and their being singled out through denial of the same limited rights afforded other Soviet minorities, said Mr. Plofsky. In his view, “it is essential to pinpoint the Jewish situation in the operative portion of the resolution like the Senate has wisely and correctly done.”