Israel, USSR Clash in UN Rights Unit Session on Issue of Treatment of Soviet Jews

Israel and the Soviet Union clashed in the Human Rights Commission here yesterday over the question of the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. The Commission was considering a report on the prevention of discrimination against minorities. The Israeli representative. Judge Zeev W. Zeltner of Tel Aviv, charged that “anti-Zionism” in the USSR was a euphemism for attacking “whatever Jews stand for.” He warned the Soviets to “beware of anti-Semitism, draw the line and draw it now before it is too late and before latent emotions come to the open and disaster strikes.” He said that if Soviet Jews were not to be allowed to live as Jews, “at least let them find a haven elsewhere.”

The Soviet representative, Nicolai Tarassov, characterized Judge Zeltner’s remarks as “attacks” on the multi-national society of the Soviet Union which were absolutely groundless. He denied the Israeli contention that Russian Jews were the only national minority not permitted to study their own language and practice their own culture. Compared with other nationalities in the Soviet Union, Mr. Tarassov claimed, the Jews occupied a privileged rather than inferior position with respect to education, material and social status.

He said there were not many Soviet Jews who wanted to go to Israel and many of those who had gone had returned. He also declared that Israel had no right to speak for the citizens of another nation. Petr Nedbailo, the Ukrainian delegate, supported Mr. Tarassov’s assertions and condemned Zionism as “a racist theory based on the superiority of one nation over others.” Israel was also condemned by the Egyptian representative.

Mrs. Rita Hauser, the United States representative, said minorities in her country were granted all rights and she wished the Jewish community of the Soviet Union enjoyed their rights to the fullest extent. She called on the Soviet Union to grant its Jewish citizens the right to emigrate if they wanted to.

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