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Senate Body to Hear Today Testimony on Soviet-jewish Discrimination

August 10, 1964
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A one-day hearing on a Senate resolution condemning suppression of Jewish religion and culture in the Soviet Union will be held in Washington tomorrow by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among those who are scheduled to testify are Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, and Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, Connecticut Democrat.

A detailed survey of Soviet discriminatory action against Jews in the USSR was made public here today by the International Council of B’nai B’rith. The review gives the following as examples of discriminatory patterns in Soviet life:

1. Of 475 top officials in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, only one or two appear to be Jewish.

2. An increasing practice of quotas for Jews in employment and in university admissions.

3. A drastic decline in the role of Jews in political life as indexed by the changing composition in the two houses of the Supreme Soviet–in 1937, there were 32 Jews among 569 members; of the 1,443 members of the present Supreme Soviet, eight are Jews.

4. The casting of Jews as villians in recent “economic” trials.

5. Negative stereotyping and satirization of Jews and Judaism in the Soviet press.

6. Padlocking of synagogues and Jewish religious schools.

7. Restrictions on Jewish religious articles and literature.

8. A denial of equal status to Judaism with other faiths in the Soviet Union.

The survey cited the reaction of Russian citizens to Yevtushenko’s “Babi Yar”–a poem declaring anti-Semitism to be alien to Communism and the attitudes of “true Russians.” After his first reading of “Babi Yar,” the Russian audience gave Yevtushenko a 10-minute standing ovation and “came up on the stage to hug him.” When the poem was published, its author received 20,000 letters from Soviet citizens, of which less than 46 attacked his viewpoint.

The study declared the response “encouraging,” but found no indication that the Soviet Government is ready to reverse its position or even admit that there is anti-Semitism in the USSR. Label Katz, B’nai B’rith president, and Dore Schary, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, made available advance copies of the survey to Sen. J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and to Senators Javits and Ribicoff.

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