Symposium Stresses Vitriolic Soviet Campaign Against Jews, Judaism, Israel
Menu JTA Search

Symposium Stresses Vitriolic Soviet Campaign Against Jews, Judaism, Israel

Download PDF for this date

An array of anti-Jewish propaganda, including “satirical” cartoons equating Zionists with Nazis to a feature length “documentary” portraying Jews who wish to leave the Soviet Union for Israel as “traitors,” was presented yesterday at an all day symposium on Soviet anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) and the Jacob Goodman Institute of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), was described as a “response to the vitriolic campaign in the USSR which vilifies the Jewish people, the Jewish religion, Zionism and the State of Israel.”

“Anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Zionism and anti-Israel propaganda is repeated in the Soviet Union with increasing frequency, permeating all aspects of the media,” according to Dr. Joseph Sternstein, NCSJ vice chairman and former ZOA president, who chaired the symposium.


“It reverberates with familiar themes geared toward discrediting individual refuseniks and Soviet Jews as a whole, and delegitimizing Israel as the historic Jewish homeland,” Sternstein added.

The symposium, held at the Jacob and Libby Goodman ZOA House here, opened with a screening of “Hirelings and Accomplices,” a 27-minute “documentary” broadcast on Leningrad television in November 1984.

The film seeks to unfold a Zionist “conspiracy” operating in concert with the Central Intelligence Agency and influential “powerbrokers” of the American Jewish community, according to the NCSJ. One segment of the film focuses on several leading Soviet Jewish activists, identified as “traitors who betray their country in return for material rewards from the West.”

Sternstein described the film as a “quasi-documentary, which vividly reflects the Soviet propaganda line equating Soviet Jews who seek to emigrate with anti-Soviet behavior.”


A resolution was approved at the symposium urging the “Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, ” a government-sponsored group which has figured prominently as an outlet for Soviet anti-Jewish propaganda since its inception in April, 1983, to “stop the spread of lies and group hatred as a violation of international law and standards.”

The resolution also deplored the Committee’s “constant campaign of slander as a serious threat to the status and security of Jews everywhere” and pledged to further “expose the heinous anti-Jewish campaign in the Soviet Union,” calling upon Western public opinion and governments to do the same.

A personal account of Soviet anti-Semitism was provided through a videotaped interview with Alexandra Finkelshtein, a former refusenik who, after a 12 year struggle, was permitted to emigrate to Israel in December 1983.

Participants at the symposium sought to examine the effect of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic propaganda on Jews and non-Jews in the USSR and beyond Soviet borders, as well as the historic and current perspectives of anti-Jewish sentiments.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund