WASHINGTON (Mar. 2)
B’nai B’rith International has demanded that Rep. Robert Doman (R. Calif.) apologize to the Jewish people for what it called “a classic anti-Semitic slander.”
The conservative Californian referred to Radio Moscow commentator Vladimir Posner as “this disloyal, betraying little Jew” after Posner appeared on ABC Television from Moscow for several minutes Wednesday night to rebut President Reagan’s nationally televised speech urging public support for his military budget which is in trouble in Congress. Posner’s appearance was also the subject of a formal protest from White House Communications Director Patrick Buchanan to ABC.
Daniel Thursz, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said Friday that Dornan could resent Posner for his role as a defender of Soviet policy “and the American Jewish community would probably agree with him. But to call attention to Posner’s Jewishness in a defamatory manner is totally reprehensible… A classic anti-Semitic slander which should never befoul the chambers of Congress.”
Dornan, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who is known as a strong supporter of Israel and of the cause of Soviet Jewry, reacted with outrage that ABC, which was broadcasting from Moscow last week on the occasion of the 27th Soviet Communist Party Congress, allowed Posner air time to respond to Reagan’s speech.
STATEMENT BY THE CONGRESSMAN
“This little flunky, ‘Vlady,’ sits there and calls our President a liar. I’m tired of having my government insulted by paid Communist toadies,” Dornan said on the House floor. “Let’s put a stop to it. Vladimir Posner was born a Jew. And he covers (for) the anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union …. This disloyal, betraying little Jew who sits there on television claiming that he is somehow or other a newsman. It’s an affront to decency and to Jewish people around the world.”
Posner’s flawless, colloquial English has made him a prominent figure on Soviet broadcasts beamed to the U.S. and he has appeared many times on the ABC-TV “Nightline” program via satellite from Moscow.
Last December he was co-host with popular talk show host Phil Donahue on a program called “A Citizens’ Summit” which brought 175 Russians in Leningrad and 175 Americans in Seattle together for a two-hour via satellite discussion of their countries and themselves.
Posner was born in Paris in 1934 to a French mother and a Russian father. He has said his father, Vladimir Alexandrovich, was born in St. Petersburg, now Leningrad, to a Jewish family which had converted to the Russian Orthodox faith. He and his parents fled Nazi-occupied Paris in 1940 for the U.S., where his father worked in an executive position for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in New York.
In 1949 he was dismissed for pro-Soviet views and blacklisted. The family returned to Europe and took up residence in Moscow in 1952. Posner, 51, became a Soviet citizen in 1961 and began a career as commentator for the North American service of Radio Moscow in 1970.