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Soviet Propagandizes Newsmen About Status of Jews in the Soviet Union

May 22, 1972
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Soviet official propaganda aimed at offsetting charges that Jews in the Soviet Union are oppressed was made available today to American news media representatives accompanying President Nixon on his trip to Moscow. Copies of the current issue of the English-language “Soviet Life,” a monthly distributed regularly in the US, was aboard the Pan American plane which is ferrying about half the media contingent to Moscow. Reporters traveling on TWA, however, said they did not see any copies on their plane. Pan Am has two flights weekly to Moscow.

The May edition of “Soviet Life” carries two illustrated articles, both by lined with Jewish names. The authors claim Jews are contributing handsomely to Soviet development and are honored for their services. They leave the impression that complaints that Jews are victims of discrimination are untrue. They do not mention official barriers to emigration and cultural practices.

One of the articles is headlined “Thirty-Eighth Anniversary of Jewish Autonomous Region.” It is attributed to Lev Shapiro. First Secretary, Birobidzhan Regional Committee of the Communist Party. Shapiro Implies that the population and culture of the province is essentially Jewish. Critics long ago have described Birobidzhan as neither Jewish nor autonomous.


Another article consists of four pages on “Places Sholom Aleichem Loved.” Written by Solomon Rabinovich, the article portrays the beloved Jewish author in terms of Soviet ideology. He described how in Sholom Aleichem’s old haunts in the Ukraine “hundreds of thousands” of Jews live happily and hold prestigious jobs.

Rabinovich introduced his article by quoting the “Freiheit” (the pro-Moscow Yiddish newspaper published in New York), as reporting that “hundreds of thousands” in New York saw Sholom Aleichem in the street in the Bronx where he lived” and no New York street bears his name. In contrast, Kiev has a Sholom Aleichem Street and plaque on a house in Kiev where he lived, Rabinovich said.

Pan American manager of groups and charter flights, Charles Mittler, who was aboard the press plane, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Pan American regularly carries “Soviet Life” for passengers on its Moscow runs. They are received at the Pan American office in Washington where they are printed, he said. Asked whether Soviet aircraft to the US carry “America Illustrated,” Mittler smilingly replied they do not.

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