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British Communist Party Urges Russia to Cope with Anti-semitism

The executive committee of the British Communist Party, one of the first in the West to protest anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, reiterated last night an appeal to Soviet Communist Party leaders to eradicate the “remnants of anti-Semitism.”

The appeal was couched in the framework of an assertion that the British Communist Party had consistently campaigned against anti-Semitism in any form and that greater progress had been made in the Soviet Union “in eliminating anti-Semitism than anywhere else in the world.”

The statement said that the Soviet Union had led in eliminating anti-Semitism despite the “crimes against Socialist democracy between 1948 and 1953,” a reference to the Stalin era, which “had adverse effects on Soviet Jews, as in many other fields of democracy and retarded the process of eliminating all forms of discrimination” in the USSR.

The statement then recited a list of “measures taken in the Soviet Union since 1953 to redress earlier wrongs.” These included the setting up of a Yiddish publishing house, publication of the Yiddish language Sovietische Beimland, organization of a number of drama and concert groups “and Yiddish readers and writers’ conferences.”

However, the executive added, it was “impossible” that in a historically short period of less than half a century “every vestige of anti-Semitism among the population could be eliminated. Remnants of anti-Semitism remain among individuals, as do remnants of other reactionary ideas and attitudes against which there is and must be a continuous struggle.”

For these reasons, the executive committee said, it was asking the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party to give “sympathetic consideration” to certain steps “in addition to all that has been done” to cope with anti-Semitism. One of the steps was that the ideological struggle against the remnants of anti-Semitism “be improved.” Another was an appeal that “greater care” be exercised in conducting “ideological work” against religion and nationalism “so as to avoid impermissible crudities which have nothing to do with a principled Marxist position and which can be exploited by anti-Semites to further anti-Semitism.”

Referring to an earlier statement on the issue, the executive committee said that in January, it had pointed out that religious freedom implied the facilities to obtain ritual articles associated with religious worship and that “facilities for obtaining of some such articles” by Russian Jews “are still insufficient.”

The statement stressed that the British Communists understood “that the solution of these matters lies with the Soviet authorities” and that it was offering its suggestions “in a fraternal way because what happens in the USSR on all such questions is of deepest interest to Communists everywhere.”

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