Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Negro Leader Charges Soviet Embassy with Evasion on Jewish Issue

March 20, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Bayard Rustin, Negro rights leader, has accused the First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Washington of “dogmatic denials” and “evasion” of the “stubborn facts” of anti-Jewish discrimination in the USSR, it was reported today. The charge was contained in an exchange of correspondence between. Mr. Rustin, chairman of the Ad Hoc Commission on the Rights of Soviet Jews, and Igor D. Bubnov, second-ranking member of the Soviet Embassy in Washington.

Last December, Mr. Rustin sent to Soviet Ambassador Antoly F. Dobrynin a copy of a report by the Ad Hoc Commission based on documentary and analytic studies and testimony given at a public hearing earlier in the year on Jewish conditions in the USSR. The report, an 11-page document entitled “Judgment of the Ad Hoc Commission,” concluded that “the future of Soviet Jewry is in grave jeopardy” and called on the Soviet leaders to restore full cultural and religious rights to the Jewish community and to permit large-scale emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.

Instead of replying in detail to the Commission’s accusations, Mr. Bubnov had charged in a letter to Mr. Rustin that the Commission was “deliberately” smearing the USSR and diverting the minds of Americans “from areas really worthy of application.” Mr. Rustin, in the letter made public today, denied there were any cold war motives behind the Commission’s judgment, and stated: “We are concerned for only two things: the adumbration of the truth and the establishment of full cultural, religious and communal rights to Soviet Jews.”

The Ad Hoc Commission had been organized by the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews. The members of the Commission, in addition to Mr. Rustin, were: Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Protestant Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike of California; Dr. Eugene Rabinowitch, editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Walter Reuther, president of the United Automobile Workers of America, AFL-CIO; Norman Thomas, Socialist leader; and others.

Recommended from JTA