UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (Mar. 5)
The Ukrainian member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission defended today the award of a high Soviet decoration to a Ukrainian writer whose book, “Judaism Without Embellishment,” had received universal censure. Petr. E. Nedbailo said the award had been made to Kichko for the spreading of knowledge and for his studies on freedom of conscience and of religious and atheistic belief. It had nothing to do, he said, with the treatment of the Jews.
The Ukrainian spoke in reply to sharp attacks previously by the United States and Israeli members, both of whom had cited the Kichko book in their criticism of Soviet polices towards the Jews there. The Soviet Union and Lebanon members both joined today in supporting the Ukrainian and in attacking Israel and the United States.
Speaking for the Soviet Union, Evgeny N. Nasinovsky denied that the Kichko book had ever been published in Russian and accused the American member, Morris B. Abram, of attempting to equate statements against Israel with anti-Semitism. He denied that there was any anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and asserted that the Jews there had all rights and were free from discrimination. He accused the “Zionists” of seeking special privileges.
Yahya Mahmassani, the Lebanese member of the Commission said that the Israelis and Zionists were afraid that anti-Semitism might disappear. The Israelis were using it, he asserted, to create an exodus to Israel and to “shake down Jews who do not go to Israel.” He told the commission that Zionist leaders considered anti-Semitism “a necessary tool in the survival of the State of Israel.”
Mr. Abram, in a brief reply, reminded the Lebanese delegate that anti-Semitism had antedated Zionism by about 2,000 years. He remarked that the Soviet speaker’s protestations had left the commission in doubt as to whether Kichko had indeed been decorated by the Supreme Soviet.
A strong intervention in the discussion was made by Guiseppe Sperduti of Italy who stressed the need for attention to the problem of minorities. He expressed the belief that Jewish minorities everywhere in the world should be treated in conformity with their just aspirations.
Dr. Shabtai Rosenne of Israel took the floor to deny a Soviet allegation that Israel had committed aggression in June. He told the commission that the Soviet charge had been flatly rejected by the Security Council and General Assembly. He expressed concern again at the “significant increase” of violent anti-Semitic articles in the Government-controlled Soviet press last year and said the Soviet representative had not allayed fears that these might lead to “gross violations” of human rights.