Tekoah Tells Thant That Situation of Jews in Iraq Worsens, Asks International Action

Ambassador Yosef Tekoah of Israel described the situation of Jews in Iraq as grave and declared today that their condition can no longer be left “without international action.” His warning was contained in a letter to United Nations Secretary-General U Thant and he asked that the message be circulated as a Security Council and General Assembly document.

Mr. Tekoah drew attention to what he said was “fanatical incitement against the Jewish community that is being conducted in the Iraqi Government press, radio and television.” He asserted that many Jews that were detained after the Arab-Israel war last June are still under arrest. Others, he said, have been deprived of their livelihood. “Their only salvation would be to leave Iraq, but the Government has forbidden them to depart the country,” he said.

Citing his own letter of May 31 to Mr. Thant in which Mr. Tekoah said there was a “serious aggravation” of the situation of Jews in Iraq, the Israeli Ambassador said today that Iraq’s reply on June 3 did not refute the charges. In Iraq’s reply, its UN envoy Adnan Pachachi said that Iraqi Jews “enjoy complete equality with other citizens.” Mr. Tekoah had assailed recent Iraqi legislation as discriminatory and Mr. Pachachi replied that the laws were designed “to protect the interests of loyal Jewish citizens of Iraq,” describing them as “minor legislative measures.” In his letter yesterday, Mr. Tekoah declared that “it is a cynical and callous mockery of human rights to describe Hitlerite legislation” as “minor.” The laws involved, Mr. Tekoah said in his May 31 message, denied Jews civil liberties, freedom of movement and the possibility of employment.

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