LONDON (Jun. 16)
A non-Jewish authority on Russian affairs and the Kremlin’s attitude toward Soviet Jewry said here yesterday that it was wrong to remain silent on manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Max Hayward, a Fellow at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, addressed a conference on Soviet Jewry organized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He said some persons had suggested that silence was prudent so as not to further aggravate the situation of Jews in Russia. On the contrary, Mr. Hayward maintained, protest is necessary because of the silence inside the country.
The speaker, who has made frequent trips to Russia, said it was virtually impossible to hold any discussion inside that country about the Jewish problem. He said that in Czarist times, writers like Gorky and Chekov spoke out in defense of the Jews whenever regimes persecuted them. Now Soviet censors have deleted all references to the Jews from the works of these writers, Mr. Hayward said, adding that many liberal intellectuals in Russia are aware of what is going on but are unable to speak out publicly.
The conference, attended by 300 delegates, called on the Soviet Government to implement the promise made by Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin in 1966 that all Jews who wished to be united with their families would be permitted to emigrate to Israel and other countries. This promise not only has not been honored but anti-Semitism is on the rise in the USSR, the conference held.
One speaker, Rabbi Israel Miller, a past chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, cited as an example the rehabilitation of Trofim Kichko, the Ukrainian writer, whose anti-Semitic book, “Judaism Without Embellishment,” was banned for a time by Soviet authorities. Another speaker, Prof. Leonard B. Schapiro, of London University, said that what Soviet authorities preferred to describe as “anti-Zionism” was “unadulterated anti-Semitism” of the type that prevailed in Russia in the 19th Century, “reeking of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’,”
Prof. Alex Nove, of Glasgow University, also a frequent visitor to Russia, said Soviet anti-Semitism has kindled a nationalistic, pro-Israel reaction among many young Russian Jews who have no Jewish training or background, He said it was a “defense mechanism.” Emanuel Litvinoff, an author and editor of “Jews in Eastern Europe,” which carries translations of anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda from the Soviet press, said anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic propaganda in Russia increasingly tended to blur the distinction between political Zionism and the Jewish religion. He said this propaganda was spreading in Eastern Europe with its focal point in Moscow.