NEW YORK (Aug. 13)
The rulers of Soviet Russia were accused today of launching a "cold war" against the 3,000,000 Jews of the USSR following Israel’s military victory over the Communist-backed Arab states. The charge was contained in a report published by the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews, a non-sectarian group sponsored by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike, Norman Thomas and other religious and intellectual leaders.
The report, entitled "Israel and the Jews in the Soviet Mirror," was edited by Moshe Decter. a Soviet affairs specialist. It contains reproductions of 36 recently-published cartoons from leading Soviet newspapers and magazines described as "calculated to revive, bolster and perpetuate anti-Semitic prejudice in a country where it is pervasive, endemic and persistent."
In an open letter accompanying the report, Bishop Pike and Mr. Thomas declare that "Soviet policy in the Middle East, culminating in its diplomatic break with Israel, has been accompanied by an enormous anti-Semitic propaganda effort at home and abroad whose virulence has rarely been equaled in recent Soviet history." The letter makes the further charge that the anti-Semitic campaign is "the product of a policy fixed at the highest levels, as reflected in the speeches of Premier Kosygin and Communist Party Secretary Brezhnev and in the output of the entire Soviet propaganda apparatus."
Soviet policy threatens the Jews of the USSR with "extinction by attrition," the two spokesmen for the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews charge in their letter. "For many years the tenuous situation of Soviet Jewry has caused deep concern," Bishop Pike and Mr. Thomas declare, adding: "Now that concern has become alarm as a result of the impact of Soviet policy in the Middle East crisis.
"It now appears that the Soviet authorities have turned their policy of discrimination and deprivation into a cold war against the Jews," the statement says. The result, according to the statement, has been to jeopardize the position of the Soviet Jewish community, "long regarded with suspicion and hostility," and give their plight "a new and even more ominous dimension."
CITES ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOONS CARRIED IN SOVIET NEWSPAPERS
The "vicious anti-Israel theme" of the cartoons and their "overtly anti-Semitic motifs and stereotypes," Bishop Pike and Mr. Thomas charge, has heightened the tension under which Soviet Jews live and served "to inflame the deep-rooted anti-Jewish prejudices in the USSR." The cartoons, all published after Arab-Israel hostilities began on June 5, originally appeared in Izvestia, the Soviet Government organ; Pravda, the Communist Party daily; Trud, the trade union newspaper; Krasnaya Zviezda. published by the Soviet Defense Ministry; and other leading Soviet journals.
A foreword to the report by Mr. Decter describes the Soviet captions as characterized by: 1) Stereotyped anti-Semitic caricatures — "even Uncle Sam is made out to look ‘Jewish,’ serving to reinforce the popular image of the USA as controlled by the Jews;" 2) the presentation of Israel and its Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, as a "wanton murderer and bloody thug;" 3) the equation of Israel and the Jews with the Nazis; and 4) the identification of Israel as a tool of Western, chiefly American, "imperialism." "Within this context, and in the prevalent atmosphere of the Soviet Union, such cartoon images can only incite to hatred of Israel and the Jews." Mr. Decter declares.
According to the Soviet affairs specialist, "reliable reports have already emerged to indicate that this inflammatory propaganda is having its effect." Mr. Decter cites "reports of a near-pogrom atmosphere, of assaults upon Jews in the streets of Tashkent, of enormous pressure upon Jewish congregations in their synagogues to pass resolutions condemning Israel, of letters to the press from Jews ‘volunteering’ to condemn Israel, of Jewish mothers in Moscow and other cities being fearful to send their children to school for fear of their encountering anti-Semitic humiliation at the hands of their classmates."
"These cartoons bring Soviet propaganda almost to the end of the line," the report declares. "Virtually nothing has been left to the Soviet public’s imagination — nor of ours as we contemplate the fate of three million Soviet Jews, silent and isolated."