Quebec Separatist Leader Apologizes for Defending USSR Against Anti-semitism

Rene Levesque, leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois, has apologized publicly for having recently defended the Soviet Union against charges of anti-Semitism. Levesque, who writes a daily column in the French-language Journal De Montreal, had written during Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin’s visit to Canada last Nov. 17 that “Jews are slandering the Soviet Union if they dare compare the situation of Jews in the Soviet Union with that under the Nazis.”

In his column several days ago, titled, “Star of David–An Apology,” the Quebec leader said, “The Jewish question in the USSR exists and is welding dangerously together ancient prejudices to the most explosive complications of today.”

He said that he owed his change of views to documentation provided by Alan Rose, national director of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He said that the documentation made him “aware that Moscow has allowed the purist anti-Semitism to surface.” Continuing, Levesque wrote: “There is no school in Russia with the Yiddish language as the language of instruction. For three million Russian Jews there are only 90 synagogues for worship.”

He also noted that “With the new assurances coming from Israel, Jews in Russia refuse to let themselves be assimilated by force. They want in greater numbers, if not in majority, to enjoy the rights of cultural redemption as they have always been recognized as one of the country’s nationalities since the Revolution.”

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