UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Mar. 18)
The Soviet Union’s current anti-Israel, anti-Zionist campaign had its parallel in a bitter exchange in the United Nations Human Rights Commission yesterday between the Ukrainian and Israeli delegates. Peter Nedballo, of the Ukraine, equated Zionism with Nazism, claimed that Zionists fostered anti-Semitism to serve their own purposes and alleged that Jews in his country enjoyed full religious and cultural freedom and had repudiated the State of Israel. Moshe Leshem, the Israeli delegate, accused Mr. Nedballo of reading from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery of the 19th century. The Soviet delegate, Nikhor I. Yevdokeyev, joined in the polemics briefly to charge that Israel was an accomplice in the violation of human rights by South Africa. The exchange took place during the 26th session of the Human Rights Commission debating a draft resolution on the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Meanwhile the Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda prominently featured an article yesterday claiming that the “overwhelming majority” of Soviet Jews had chosen to assimilate with Russians and other Soviet ethnic groups. The writer was a Russian Jew, Prof. Iosif S. Braginsky, editor of a journal on Asian and African affairs. Prof. Braginsky claimed that the Soviet Union “has historically proven that the Jewish question can be radically solved and removed from the agenda on the basis of the victory of socialism.” He said that historical experience showed that most Soviet Jews wanted to work and live among other Soviet peoples. “Naturally, in those circumstances, there takes place a process of assimilation of considerable groups of the Jewish population. Mixed marriages, the use by Jews of Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Georgian and other languages as their native tongues and the overcoming of religious and ethnic prejudices have contributed to the fact that this process is proceeding absolutely voluntarily in conditions of the socialist system,” Prof. Braginsky wrote.
ISRAELI DELEGATE: THERE IS MORE SOCIALISM IN ONE KIBBUTZ THAN IN UKRAINIAN REPUBLIC
Critics of the Soviets claim that large sections of Soviet Jewry want to emigrate to Israel. They note that Jews alone among the many ethnic minorities in the USSR lack cultural institutions and political bodies, are unable to study Hebrew or Yiddish because they have no schools and have difficulty practicing their religion because of the small number of synagogues serving three million Jews and the lack of facilities to train rabbis and other religious functionaries. Mr. Nedballo asserted that there were synagogues and scores of prayer houses in the Ukraine and no one could complain that there was no opportunity to exercise one’s religion. He also said that a protest against Zionism had been addressed to the Prime Minister and Rabbinate of Israel by more than 100 Ukrainian Jews. He charged that Zionism propagated the superiority of Jews over all other races and that it has always been against socialism. Mr. Leshem retorted that there was more socialism practiced in one Israeli kibbutz than in the entire Ukrainian Republic.
The Ukrainian claimed that Israeli emissaries visiting Odessa were thrown out by the Jews of that city. He said he had at his disposal many dozens of letters from Jews who went to Israel and now want to be re-united with their families in the USSR. He charged that Israel prevented them from returning. Referring to the ban on Jewish emigration to Israel, he said State authorities had to take account of the fact that Israel was in a state of war and this would mean “a supply of cannon fodder to the aggressive state of Israel.” Mr. Leshem said his government never prevented anybody from leaving Israel and Israeli law was clear on that point. He said he was pleased to hear that the situation regarding Jewish emigration from Russia might be reversed when peace was established in the Mideast.