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Tekoah Rejects Charge That Israel, Zionists Fabricate Plight of Soviet Jews

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Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, yesterday rejected charges by the Soviet envoy to the UN that “Zionist circles in the United States and a number of other countries have been carrying on a malicious and slanderous anti-Soviet campaign in connection with the so-called ‘Jewish question’ in the USSR, deliberately fabricated by them.” Tekoah condemned this allegation by Yakov Malik in a letter the Soviet ambassador sent to UN Secretary General U Thant on June 15. “The Soviet letter,” Tekoah wrote to Thant, “suggests that the general concern for the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union is a politically motivated anti-Soviet campaign inspired by Israel and Zionism. The truth is too well known to be dismissed in so cavalier a fashion.” The Israeli ambassador stated that “no ulterior motives are necessary to sympathize with the suffering of Soviet Jewry.” Actually, Tekoah observed, the struggle of Soviet Jews for their elementary rights and for the right of those who desire to reunite with their families and their people in Israel, “is one of the most stirring human rights struggles of our time.” He noted that this struggle has “evoked the sympathy of men of good will, Jews and non-Jews alike, in all parts of the world,” including Communist Parties in other lands and Soviet intellectuals.

Malik, in his letter, asserted that one of the forms of the “hostile anti-Soviet campaign” is the organization by “Zionist centers” dispatching to various institutions, including the UN, “of letters deliberately fabricated by them in advance and containing so-called ‘protests.’ ” As proof of his allegation, Malik cited a request by Congregation Beth Sholom, the location of which he did not identify, that its members and friends send one letter a week for a month to Malik and to Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Soviet ambassador to the United States, urging the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate. Malik reproduced what he claimed were sample letters the synagogue suggested be sent out. Challenging Malik, Tekoah wrote that “it is characteristic of the Soviet attitude” that Malik’s letter to Thant “should mask its attack on a Jewish synagogue congregation’s efforts to express such concern in a manner normal to democratic society, with an assault on Israel and Zionism, the Jewish people’s national liberation movement.” The target of this assault, Tekoah stated “is clear. It is the Jewish people and its fundamental rights.”

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