Moscow Seeks to Curb Enthusiasm for Israel Among Soviet Jews; Israel Legation Isolated
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Moscow Seeks to Curb Enthusiasm for Israel Among Soviet Jews; Israel Legation Isolated

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The reaction of the Soviet Government toward the flood of Jewish enthusiasm for Israel throughout the U.S.S.R. is described in another of a series of articles by Edmund Stevens, former Christian Science Monitor correspondent in Moscow, who is now sending uncensored reports on Russia from Rome.

Reporting that the Kremlin was “thoroughly alarmed” when Jewish enthusaism for Israel mounted in the Soviet Union in the winter of 1948-49, Mr. Stevens said that “almost overnight the Israel legation in Moscow was effectively isolated from further contact with the Jewish population.” Police agents turned away Soviet visitors at the Israel legation and a few “judicious arrests” curbed further demonstrations, he says.

Presumably under a new directive, all Jewish organizations in Moscow, including the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, were considered potential centers of Jewish nationalism and Zionism and therefore suspect, the correspondent reports. A drastic and systematic campaign to eliminate Jews from posts of responsibility, and especially from positions involving contact with the outside world was launched. “In a matter of weeks all Jews serving with the Soviet occupation administrations in Germany and Austria were recalled. No more Jews were included on foreign missions and delegations,” Mr. Stevens states.

Today, Jews are not even admitted to the special school that trains personnel for the Soviet foreign service, Mr. Stevens points out. “The same restrictions apply to the Ministry of Foreign Trade,” he says. “Elsewhere in the government and party apparatus a similar process of elimination has occurred. One will search in vain, for example, for recent Jewish recruits to the central party echelons. The one Jew on the Politbureau is Lazar Kaganovich, a long-standing member with strong personal connections whose loyalty is above suspicion.”

Describing the purge of Jewish intellectuals in the Soviet Union, the American correspondent says that the only important Jewish writers to survive this purge were Ilya Ehrenburg and David Zaslavsky.

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