Resolutions “earnestly” calling upon the Soviet Government to grant to the Jewish minority in the USSR the same cultural and religious rights given to all other Soviet minorities, and appealing for further easement of the practice of allowing Russian Jews to emigrate for purposes of family reunification, were adopted here today by the executive of the World Jewish Congress at its concluding session of its five-day meeting.
Addressing the concluding session, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, WJC president, praised the Rumanian Government’s attitude toward Jews in that country, and expressed the hope that “further doors in Eastern Europe will be opened, to enable us to resume contact with our fellow Jews.” Rumania’s Chief Rabbi Moshe Rosen had appeared before the WJC executive this week in a rare participation by an East European Jewish leader, and had asked for rabbis and Jewish educators to be sent to Rumania.
Describing the Rumanian Government’s attitude toward Jews as “a model for the entire Communist bloc which can emulate it in order to solve its Jewish problem,” Dr. Goldmann said “we are grateful for the warm and humane attitude of Rumania.
In its resolution dealing with Soviet Jewry, the WJC executive called on the Soviet Government “to re-examine the situation of the Jewish minority with a view to making available to it the same facilities as are the commonplaces of Soviet policy in relation to other minorities.” The resolution expressed the WJC’s concern over the USSR Government’s “failure to recognize the inalienable right of the Jewish people in the Soviet Union to equality of status and treatment with other groups.”
It stated that “from this central failure flow all the disabilities to which Jewish life is subjected” leading to “the natural and inevitable resistance to involuntary assimilation.”
The resolution drew attention to “the disquiet which Jews share with important sections of international public opinion at the disturbing manifestations of anti-Semitism in some areas of Soviet life which have evoked protests all over the world. These manifestations,” the resolution stated,” “are all the more disturbing since they are in flagrant violation both of the proclaimed principles of Soviet policy and the provisions of Soviet law.”
A second but related resolution dealt with possible emigration of Soviet Jews, appealing to the Moscow Government to “examine the problem of the reunification of families on a humanitarian basis.” The measure paid tribute to the Moscow Government which, it stated, “during the past few years facilitated the departure of some hundreds of Jews to rejoin their families abroad.”
The WJC executive expressed its appreciation “not only because of the human understanding which made it (such emigration) possible, but also because it implies recognition of an important principle.” The executive called upon the Soviet Government “to examine this problem on the same humanitarian basis that persuaded them to authorize the departure of others and, thus, to seek a solution affecting numbers small in relation to the population of the Soviet Union.”
URGES GOVERNMENTS TO ENACT STRONGER LAWS AGAINST INCITEMENT
Another resolution strongly urged all governments to enact legislation or to strengthen existing laws, making illegal and punishable all acts and propaganda designed to incite hatred and violence against racial and religious minorities. This measure dealt with the revival of anti-Semitism, calling such resurgence “a grave menace to democratic society.” It cited evidences of organized efforts by agents and supporters of the Arab League to arouse hostility against Jews in Latin America and elsewhere. That development, the resolution stated, necessitates that international and national bodies and governments take effective measures “to maintain human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Other resolutions called on all governments to refuse asylum to war criminals; opposed energetically the very principle of a statute of limitations for crimes against humanity; reaffirmed support of the World Jewish Congress to the United Nations; welcomed the progress made by the UN in dealing with problems of racial discrimination and religious intolerance; and praised last May’s declaration of the General Assembly of the Council of Europe, which called on the Soviet Government to help East-West understanding by according equal cultural and religious rights to Soviet Jews.
DR. GOLDMANN CUTLINES PROGRAM FOR AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS
In his address, Dr. Goldmann outlined a program of action for WJC affiliates in 64 countries. The program included: Steps to alleviate the situation of Russian Jewry; unified actions on world Jewish problems, with special emphasis on American Jewry’s role; and a frank approach to the problem of German-Jewish relations. In regard to the USSR, Dr. Goldmann emphasized that, while “we continue to press for facilities that would allow the Jews of the Soviet Union to live as Jews, cur attitude must not be interpreted as a general attack on the Soviet Unioner as any involvement in the cold war.”
The WJC president noted with gratitude that the West German indemnification program is about to be completed, and stressed the thought that the time has come now for the Bonn Government to turn “to the question of moral reparations.”
He then appealed to the Arab states to recognize the fact of Israel’s existence “and get down to solve the issues” between the Arabs and Israel. He warned Arab communities outside the Arab lands “to refrain from becoming embroiled in a widening of the Arab-Israel rift.” Arab and Jewish communities in many parts of the world, he pointed out, “have lived and worked closely and peacefully together for centuries. Any deterioration of this situation will only have adverse effects on all concerned.”
Noting “with deep satisfaction” that observers from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations have attended the WJC executive session, Dr. Goldmann expressed his confidence that close cooperation could be achieved between the WJC and the Presidents Conference, which he termed “the most representative American Jewish body.”
He told the session that proposals to streamline the World Jewish Congress, suggested as a result of a 10-month study by a group of top leaders, will be of “great help in making the WJC an even more effective organization.” Just before the session was closed, Dr. Gerhard Riegner was elected as secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress. This is a new post in which the secretary-general will be in charge of the implementation of the Congress global policy and organization.