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State Department Criticized for Stand on Soviet Anti-semitism

August 14, 1962
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The State Department’s refusal to indicate any displeasure over government-inspired anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union was sharply criticized today in a statement issued by the Workmen’s Circle, national Jewish fraternal and cultural organization.

Nathan Chanin, the organization’s general secretary, called the State Department attitude “sadly reminiscent of the attitude that prevailed during the Hitler period. There seems to be a feeling,” he said, “that the Jews must be sacrificed for the larger diplomacy of the nation. Apparently, we haven’t yet learned that persecution is a cancer which, if permitted to spread, engulfs all of society.”

The State Department announced its “hands off” policy in turning down a proposal by Senator Thomas J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, that President Kennedy recall the U.S. Ambassador at Moscow for two weeks “for the publicly declared purpose of reporting to the President on the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.” In writing to the President, Senator Dodd noted that “the American people have watched the mounting persecution of the Jews in the Soviet Union with a combined sense of horror and helplessness.”

Two months ago, the Workmen’s Circle took the lead in organizing a National Indignation Week to protest Soviet anti-Semitism. Mr. Chanin said today that the protest would be continued “indefinitely in various forms.” He announced that currently the Workmen’s Circle’s 560 branches in 31 states and Canada are being asked to memorialize the execution in Russia ten years ago of 24 first-rank Yiddish writers and Journalists.

He emphasized that, while many of the Communist victims of Stalin’s rule-by-murder have been “rehabilitated” under Khrushchev by acknowledgment of the injustice done them, “not one of the executed Jewish writers has been so rehabilitated,” and added: “However much Khrushchev may differ from Stalin,” Chanin said, “he apparently concurs completely in Stalin’s design for cultural and religious genocide in Russia’s community of three million Jews.”

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