LONDON (Feb. 18)
Sir Barnett Janner, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told a meeting of the Board here today that he had confirmation that “Nazi-like methods” were being used against Egyptian Jews imprisoned since last June’s war and against their families and other Jews remaining in Egypt. Sir Barnett said it was “shocking” that such harsh treatment was accorded Egyptian Jews, many of whose families have lived in that country for generations. But it is not surprising, he added, in view of the evidence that Nazi war criminals resident in Egypt have “played a significant role in Egyptian propaganda.”
Sir Barnett also reported in detail on his exchange of letters with Prime Minister Harold Wilson prior to, and on the latter’s return from, his visit to Moscow last month. The letters contained expressions of concern by British Jewry over the plight of Soviet Jews and the Prime Minister’s report of his conversations with Soviet Premier Kosygin on that subject. The letters were made public by Mr. Wilson on Feb. 3.
Sir Barnett said it was feIt that publication of the correspondence at this stage would not only demonstrate the sympathetic action taken by the British Prime Minister on behalf of Soviet Jewy in the midst of many international pre-occupations but would encourage similar actions by the heads of other states.
Sir Barnett noted that when it was announced that the Prime Minister would visit Moscow on Jan. 22, a letter was addressed to him by the Board of Deputies expressing the hope that he might find an opportunity to use his good offices to alleviate the situation of Soviet Jewry. Mr. Wilson indicated in his letter to Sir Barnett on his return from Moscow that he had brought up with Mr. Kosygin the questions of the emigration of Russian Jews in order to effect family reunions, the provision of kosher meats, matzohs and printing facilities for Jewish books and reports of discrimination against Soviet Jews in areas other than the provision of facilities for religious observances. The Prime Minister said that his representations on emigration drew a negative response from the Soviet leader. He added, that, as before, the reunion of families in individual cases was taken up in Moscow and that he had “arranged that this matter would continue to be dealt with through normal diplomatic channels, i.e., through our Ambassador discussing each individual case with the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs.”
The Prime Minister also reported, in his letter of Feb. 3, that Premier Kosygin assured him that the Soviet position on Jews remained unchanged, specifically that they treated Jews as they treated all Soviet citizens. In response to charges of anti-Jewish discrimination, the Russian leader cited the names of Jews holding high positions in the Soviet Union, Mr. Wilson reported.