NEW YORK (Nov. 15)
Leaders of the Soviet Jewry movement here have denounced as blatantly false an “open letter” from 50 “Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality” addressed to American Jews urging them to discount reports of anti-Semitism in the USSR.
Referring to the “open letter” which was carried by Tass, the official Soviet News agency, several days ago, Morris Abram, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) said it was “a blatant example of Soviet hypocrisy.” Herbert Kronish, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry (GNYCSJ), called the letter an “absurd and tragic lie.”
The signatories are associated with the “Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public.” Their letter said, “We understand that it may be difficult for some American Jews whose fathers and grandfathers fled from Czarist Russia to escape pogroms to realize that the roots of national discord have long been eliminated in the Soviet Union.” The letter claimed further that the Soviet Union has been “falsely reported as being hostile to the existence of Israel” whereas it opposes only Zionist policies. American Jews were urged to work with the Soviet people for world peace.
Abram observed that the letter “was a propaganda offensive tailored to Western readers… couched in appeals for ‘world peace’ from selected Jews, and used the standard line that the Soviet Union has nothing against the state of Israel except its ‘Zionist policies’. ” He added, “To claim that one is not anti-Jewish or anti-Israel while conveniently designating as
Both Abram and Kronish suggested that the letter carried by Tass was an attempt to counteract the world-wide outcry which arose when Soviet Jewish activist losif Begun was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and internal exile because he taught Hebrew and sought to emigrate to Israel.