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Jewish Body in London Explains Refusal to Meet with Soviet Editor

Sir Barnett Janner, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, explained at a Board meeting here yesterday why he had opposed a meeting between the Board and Aaron Vergelis, editor of Moscow’s Yiddish monthly magazine, Sovietish Heimland.

Sir Barnett pointed out that, while the Board, as the elected body representing British Jewry, would be happy to meet with a similarly elected representative of Soviet Jewry, Mr. Vergelis does not have such status. He noted that, since 1945, the Soviet Union has not permitted any Jewish delegation from Russia or any Russian rabbi to go abroad to visit Jewish communities.

Referring to Mr. Vergelis as “an apologist for Soviet treatment of their Jewish community,” Sir Barnett said that Moscow grants the privilege of contact with foreign Jewry only to those who defend “the most venomous attacks against Judaism,” and rejects requests for “amelioration of the plight of Soviet Jewry.”