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Jewish Leaders Protest Presence of Two Top Soviet Jews Denying Soviet Oppression

Jewish leaders here were up in arms today over the presence in Montevideo, Uruguay of two prominent Russian Jews allegedly sent by the Moscow authorities to counteract protests against the mistreatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. Speakers at the fourth plenary session of the Latin American Jewish Congress meeting here warned that the two emissaries, Brig. Gen. David Dragunsky, the highest ranking Jew in the Soviet armed forces, and Prof. Pauline Gelman, were intent on “propagandizing and dividing the Jewish masses.” They urged Jewish leaders to “oppose this maneuver.” The Russian visitors denied in Uruguay that an anti-Jewish campaign exists in the USSR. Asked about the arrests of more than 30 Russian Jews for allegedly plotting to hijack a Soviet airliner last spring, Gen. Dragunsky replied at a press conference that they were not arrested as Jews but “as bandits.”

Isaac Goldenberg, chairman of the Congress’ executive warned at the session that “our first priority is to save our brethren in Russia which today is the prime source of anti-Semitism.” A resolution was adopted urging the Soviet government to cancel the trials and an appeal was made to world opinion in this connection. Other speakers presented reports on the economic position of Jews in Latin America and on anti-Semitism on the continent. Goldenberg said, “We have to depend on ourselves in this crisis. The great United States Jewish organizations won’t be able to help us here.” The plenary session was attended by delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Panama and other Central American countries.

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