Zand First Jew to Be Interviewed on Voa for Broadcast to USSR

Dr. Mikhail Zand has become the first Russian Jew to be interviewed on the Voice of America, it was learned today. According to the VOA editor who interviewed Dr. Zand on Sunday by telephone while he attended the Zionist Organization of America annual convention, he was chosen because he is an “extraordinary man.” The sixteen-and-a-half-minute interview was broadcast today in full on the VOA’s Russian “political show,” a 40-minute program of news and events. However, there were no advertising spots publicizing the interview or informing listeners of the program and the time as is usually done with special programs.

Zand was interviewed in Russian, not Yiddish, the VOA editor told the JTA, because non-Jewish Russians, he said, could understand Dr. Zand’s remarks. The VOA is under considerable pressure to begin directing Yiddish broadcasts to Russian Jews, but has so far resisted urgings by most major Jewish organizations. In the interview, Dr. Zand told the VOA officials that anti-Semitism manifests itself in educational quotas and limits on promotions for Jews. Asked why the number of Jewish emigres rose dramatically during the last Communist Party Congress in March and then slacked to a trickle, Zand suggested that the Russians wanted to avoid discussions on the subject by concerned Western Communist Parties. Public opinion played a large and important role, Dr. Zand added.

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