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British Communist Party Defines Stand on Anti-semitism in Russia

January 13, 1966
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The Communist Party of Great Britain declared in a statement today that it had always “campaigned against anti-Semitism wherever it manifested itself,” including the Soviet Union.

The statement was issued in connection with a resolution on the issue of the status of Soviet Jewry which was referred to the party executive by the recent 29th National Congress of the party. Two branches in Britain had demanded that the party act on charges of suppression by Soviet authorities of religious and cultural rights of Russian Jewry.

The statement also asserted that the party in Britain “has equally advocated freedom of worship” and declared that “the right to worship implies availability of the means of religious worship and practice.” Critics of Soviet treatment of Russian Jewry have consistently charged denial of such facilities.

The statement included a defense of the Soviet Union, asserting that “the victory of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia ended the anti-Semitic pogroms of the Czarist regime and the White Guards. The Communist Party in the Soviet Union has always placed in the forefront of its principles the right of freedom of all religions and opposition to racism and anti-Semitism,” the statement stressed.


In support of its contention that it had always fought anti-Semitism everywhere, including Russia, the party cited the case of a virulently anti-Semitic pamphlet, Judaism Without Embellishment, written by M.K. Kitchko, an obscure professor of philosophy and published by the Ukrainian Academy of Science in 1964.

The statement said that when British Communist Party leaders became aware of the “disgraceful” book, “our party immediately raised the matter with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as well as publicly criticizing the book.” Making no reference to the world-wide outcry over the content of the book, the party statement continued that “the book was immediately withdrawn and all available copies destroyed.”

The statement added that when the party leaders learned that “religious Jews” in Russia “were having difficulties in obtaining matzohs to celebrate the Passover feast, we again raised the matter with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Steps were taken to increase the supply.”

The statement then reiterated that the British party “will in the future as it has in the past do all in its power to condemn anti-Semitism and interference with the right to worship whenever and wherever it manifests itself.” The party has an estimated 60,000 members and is important on a larger scale as publisher of a daily newspaper, the Daily Worker.

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