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British Communist Party Convention Evades Debate on Jews in Russia

November 30, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Leaders of the British Communist Party succeeded today in preventing a debate at their forthcoming 20th national convention — to be held here later this week — on two resolutions proposing that the party request Moscow to explain charges of discriminations against Jews in the Soviet Union.

The proposed resolutions had been drafted by the Oxford University Communist Group and by the Prestwich-Lancashire branch. Today, the convention’s resolutions committee called in representatives of the two groups and informed them that the drafts would be referred to the party’s new executive council, which will be chosen by the convention.

The groups were assured that the present executive is “concerned” about the issues raised in the draft resolutions. Delegates of the Prestwich-Lancashire branch told the press after the conference with the resolutions committee that they were satisfied with the ruling. However, the representatives of the Oxford group refused to comment on the committee’s step.

The Prestwich-Lancashire draft had noted “with concern the criticisms made by prominent individuals in the international Communist and general peace and progressive movements of the attitude of the Soviet Union to the religious and cultural requirements of the Jewish minority.” It called on the British party’s national executive to obtain from the Soviet Government either a satisfactory rebuttal of the criticisms or an assurance that the causes for the criticisms would be removed speedily.

The other draft expressed concern “at the lack of rights and facilities for Soviet Jews compared to those, for example, of Poland.” This draft also called on the British party’s national leadership “to inquire into the failure of the Soviet Government to rehabilitate the Jews as it has other minorities which suffered under Stalin and to restore to them the institutions they had before their unjust suppression in the postwar period.”

It was pointed out by observers here that the British Communist Party does not have the influence possessed by the French and Italian Communists. The Communists here have never disclosed the size of their organization, but they are believed to have a total membership of about 30,000. The British Communists have not succeeded in obtaining a single seat in the House of Commons or in any municipal council in the United Kingdom.

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