United Nations (Oct. 21)
Israeli Ambassador Tamar Eshel declared today that “Whilst on the one hand the Soviet government lavishes generous support for advancing and activating the specific cultural and national attributes of dozens of national groups, we find that the full force of the Soviet state is marshaled against the survival of Soviet Jews as Jews, and any device is conjured up to suppress their desire for a national life, a life of dignity and identification.”
Mrs. Eshel, speaking during the Third Committee’s consideration of “the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” asserted that “The price of survival for Jews as individuals in Soviet society carries a very high price tag with it–renouncing any meaningful existence as Jews or contact with other Jews.” She added that “A sinister campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda in the traditions of the darkest days of Czarist Russia and which could compare with the most venomous anti-Semitic literature known in our time and is carried out in the official Soviet press is designed to degrade, besmear and humiliate a people.”
The Israeli envoy said that the “illogical, senseless and tragic denial of human rights” to Soviet Jews was an unfortunate policy on the part of a nation that had “played such a decisive role in crushing the Nazi monster.” She stressed that “This is not a question of any special rights and privileges to be granted to the Jewish minority but of the same rights and facilities enjoyed by any of the other 107 national groups recognized by the Soviet system.”
Ambassador Eshel said that only “a small number of the 70,000 Soviet Jews who have applied for migration to Israel have been allowed to go. Meanwhile, she noted. “42 Jewish political prisoners” were serving long sentences under “harsh conditions” solely because of “their audacious persistence in maintaining their pride and identity and their determination to leave for Israel, their home.” She added that she had learned by telephone last night that the three Wilna Jews recently sentenced to 15 days’ imprisonment for “hooliganism” were in the sixth day of a hunger strike.