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State Dept. Says Attack Against Zionism by a Soviet Group is an ‘anti-semitic Diatribe’

April 4, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An attack against Zionism by eight Soviet Jews was sharply criticized by the State Department as an “anti-Semitic diatribe.” The eight, led by Col. Gen. David Dragunsky, denounced “international Zionism” for claiming to speak on behalf of Soviet Jews and proposed the establishment of an “anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public.”

The State Department, in response to the attack which appeared in Pravda last Friday, said: “It is particularly deplorable that the Soviet regime should now enlist some people of Jewish ancestry to participate in their anti-Semitic diatribes.” It added: “The United States government calls upon the Soviet government to cease its so-called anti-Zionist propaganda campaign, since (it) will only inflame anti-Semitic prejudices.”

The Soviet group, in its statement, called on the Kremlin to combat Zionism. Continuing, the statement said: “In its essence, Zionism concentrates in itself extreme nationalism, chauvinism and racial intolerance, justification for territorial seizures and annexations, armed adventurism, the cult of political permissiveness and impunity, demagoguery and ideological diversions, filthy maneuvers and perfidy.”

The statement also “resolutely” protested the efforts by “Zionist leaders” to convince the world that there is a “Jewish question” in the Soviet Union. The group said Zionism sought to falsify the Soviet policy on nationalities, adding: “Soviet Jews contemptuously reject efforts by Zionist propagandists to meddle in their life, they angrily condemn the lies and slander of the socialist fatherland.” The group also described as “absurd” any effort to equate criticism of Zionism or Israel’s leaders with anti-Semitism.


In New York, Ivan Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America, noted that the Soviet group’s statement came shortly after the conclusion of the third World Conference on Soviet Jewry in Jerusalem last month, at which Moscow’s treatment of Soviet Jews came under severe criticism, and during which delegates from throughout the world heard reports of increasing anti-Semitic activity in the USSR.

Novick said that the Soviet Union “is obviously upset by the outpouring of international support for Soviet Jews” at the world conference and “have reacted by going on the offensive.” Noting that the virulence of the anti-Zionist statements by the Soviet group, Novick said:

“It is a base attempt to discredit Israel, Zionism and the Soviet Jewry movement all in one cheap shot. However, no amount of orchestrated propaganda by the Soviets can divert the world’s attention from the tragedy of human repression being played out in the Soviet Union, especially against Soviet Jews.”

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