Senate Body Issues Report on Mistreatment of Jews in Soviet Union
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Senate Body Issues Report on Mistreatment of Jews in Soviet Union

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The Soviet Union regards adherence to Judaism as incompatible with loyalty to the state and for that reason is attempting to eradicate the Jewish religion, according to a report released yesterday by the United States Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. The report was prepared by the legislative reference service of the Library of Congress.

A finding of the report was that Soviet hostility against Judaism derives from multiple sources, the primary one being conventional Communist attitudes toward religion. This “inevitably imposes upon religious minded Soviet Jews a tremendous burden,” the report stressed, pointing out that in addition to the basic incompatibility between all religions and the Communist doctrine, “the historic tradition of anti-Semitism, rooted in Russian life and never really eradicated in the Soviet era, has had a lasting influence on shaping Soviet attitudes.”

In addition to the intellectual, economic, and social phenomena inherent in the causes of anti-Semitism is the idea, seemingly never accepted by the Russians, the adherence to Judaism could be compatible with loyalty to the state, “the report states. A typical slogan in the Soviet press, according to the official U.S. study, is that “Judaism Kills love for the Soviet motherland.” Another is that Judaism is a “servant of bourgeois nationalism, Zionism, and Israel.” Reinforcing this notion of “disloyalty” is the universality of Judaism “with its ties to the outer capitalist world–Western Europe, the United States, and especially Israel.”

All of these factors converge, said the report, in creating “a general attitude of open and undiluted hostility against Judaism, its doctrine, and its institutions.” The report charged that the Yiddish theater in the USSR was used to ridicule the Jewish religion and customs. The ancient allegation of Jewish ritual murders has been revived, according to the report, and used to discredit Judaism and inflame anti-Semitic riots.

The report said that “direct attacks on Jewish religious life have been frequent, persistent, and harsh.” According to the report the baking of matzoh is forbidden. Raids on private prayer meetings (minyanim) have taken place, and synagogues are being systematically closed. Publication of all religious material is forbidden, and no Jewish religious book of any kind has been published since the early 1920’s.”

“The study of Hebrew has been outlawed, even for religious purposes, “the report emphasizes. The main aim is to destroy the Jewish spirit and Jewish continuity, the report said, noting that religious Jews are more severely impeded in adhering to their faith than are persons of other religious convictions in Russia.


Another aspect of Soviet discrimination, the report said, is the proscription against emigration from the USSR. “It proved to be particularly burdensome to Soviet Jews, many of whom have wished to leave the Soviet Union to Join families in Israel.” Emigration is denied to Jews, according to the report, because it would embarrass Communism internationally to admit that there are pressures to escape “the homeland of Socialism.” Also, if Jews are permitted exit rights, other oppressed nationalities might also press with greater vigor to leave.

“Former Premier Nikita Khrushchev has been outspokenly anti-Semitic, and his position has been that top Soviet echelons must be as Judenrein as possible,” the study says. Under Mr. Khrushchev, it reports, the number of Jews in the party and government was drastically reduced and “as far as is known there are no Jews in the upper echelons of the party or government, with the exception of V.E. Dymshits, first deputy chairman of the Planning Office.”

Before World War II, 41.1 percent of deputies to the Supreme Soviet Parliament were Jewish; by 1958, the figure had dropped to 0.25 percent, according to the study. The Jews, the study continues, have “virtually disappeared from sensitive areas of government such as diplomatic service and the Armed Forces. In general, Jews are considered a security risk group; suspected of actual or potential disloyalty.”

Though the study concedes that in general there is a “declining coercion” in the Soviet Union, it adds that “the Soviet Jew has not shared in full measure this new spirit of “declining coercion.” The Jewish world in Russia is one of “fear, anxiety and suspicion: fear of the past; anxiety for the future; and suspicion for the governing elite,” the report asserts.

Soviet propaganda attacks on Jews have been marked by “a combination of crudity and subtlety, vigor, consistency, and virulence. The plan of attack has been all inclusive. The effect of these converging propaganda themes has been to isolate the Jew from society psychologically and perhaps even in reality, making him appear to the other Soviet peoples as a hostile stranger,” the report states.

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