UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 3)
Israel charged today that the Soviet Union and Syria both deprive their Jewish citizens of their “basic human rights,” and called on both governments to allow their Jewish citizens to emigrate.
Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, addressing the General Assembly’s Social Committee, during a debate on human rights, said that Soviet Jews are persecuted and that their religious and cultural aspirations have been “systematically surpressed.” The Soviet authorities, Blum charged, are sponsoring an official campaign of anti-Semitism.
“If a Jew cannot live freely as a Jew in the Soviet Union,” Blum declared, “if he is denied his national, religious and cultural rights, if he is subjected to discrimination, intimidation and false arrest, if the Soviet Union, in short, is not prepared to accord its Jewish citizens their basic human rights, then surely it should at least allow them to leave the country.”
Regarding the situation of Syrian Jews, Blum said that they are “still being held as virtual hostages by the Syrian government.” Continuing, he said: “Living as second class citizens in the ghettos of Damascus, Aleppo and Kamishli and under constant surveillance by the Syrian secret police, these Jews are still denied their basic human rights, and first and foremost the right to emigrate.
“In fact, this year has seen a dramatic worsening in the attitude of Syrian authorities toward its Jewish community. Jewish men have been brutally beaten and detained by the Muhabarat, the Syrian secret police, because they were suspected of helping Jewish families flee the country.”