NEW YORK (Sep. 23)
American Jewish organizations who keep watch on developments in the Soviet Union with regard to Jews asserted today that there are indications that the Moscow Government is sensitive to exposures abroad of Soviet anti-Semitism.
In an analysis issued here, they expressed the hope that “continued exposure may yet bring amelioration” in Moscow’s policy of suppressing Jewish culture and communal life. The analysis claims that there are indications that the Soviet Foreign Office has established a special “counter propaganda” bureau on the Jewish question.
The functions of the bureau are: 1, To persuade public opinion abroad that there exist Jewish communal and cultural activities in the USSR and 2. To persuade Soviet Jews that their “true motherland” is the USSR, and that life in Israel is “a hell on earth,” the analysis says. The bureau is believed to be feeding overseas Communist publications dispatches from Moscow reporting in detail Yiddish concerts. It also disseminates articles and broadcasts on Birobidjan.
The latter, according to the analysis, have several purposes: 1. To justify the policy of enforced assimilation by suggesting that the Jews who wish to pursue Jewish culture have settled in Birobidjan, and that all others have chosen assimilation voluntarily; and 2. Primarily to offset the adverse effect overseas of Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s statement in Le Figaro that the Jews failed in Birobidjan because they are “an unproductive people,” and to give substance to Moscow Radio’s allegation that the quotations in Le Figaro were “fabrications.”
Parallel propaganda within the USSR–especially in the provincial press and in the mass circulation evening papers in the central cities–seeks to discourage pro-Israel sympathy among Soviet Jews by impugning conditions of life in Israel, the analysis establishes. This propaganda apparently has failed, and the Soviet Government decided to adopt a new method: it sent 12 Jewish “tourists” to Israel, chosen from among residents of large Jewish population centers (Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Odessa, Minsk) whose evident assignment was to bear “eye witness” testimony on the bad climate and “repressive” government in Israel. Articles by some of these “tourists” have already appeared in the Soviet press.