ADL Leader Urges Congress to Pass Bills Authorizing Voa to Broadcast in Yiddish

Citing “the more than 3 million Jews in the Soviet Union who have been deprived of their cultural heritage and who would welcome support from abroad in their struggles to retain their ethnic identity,” the chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith urged that Congress pass two pending bills to authorize the Voice of America to beam Yiddish and Hebrew broadcasts into the USSR. The official, Seymour Graubard, also asked the State Department to initiate two such weekly broadcasts–one in Yiddish, one in Hebrew–”for the culture-hungry Jewish audience in the USSR.” Graubard rejected the recent contention of Frank Shakespeare, director of the United States Information Agency, that while the U.S. has “deep concern” for Soviet Jews, it was “not prepared” to initiate such programming because “we would be in effect increasing our costs without materially increasing our audience.” Said Graubard: “The United States of America has always stood for the rights of intellectual freedom and education which such broadcasts would represent. It is time that the Voice of America truly became the ‘voice of American conscience’ with regard to the agony of Soviet Jews. The Jewish ethnic group, singled out by the Soviet authorities for special harassment and denial of rights, has never been represented (by the VOA).” The VOA is an arm of the USIA.

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