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U.N. Body Authorizes Global Study on Racial, Cultural Discrimination

January 26, 1966
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The United Nations Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities today authorized the conduct of a global study of racial discriminations in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. The action was taken after long debate, in which Jewish spokesmen urged that such a study be “given high priority.” One of the Jewish representatives sharply criticized the Soviet Union for anti-Semitic propaganda — without specifically naming the USSR, due to a rule banning such mention of member-states of the U.N.

The 14-man body, a subsidiary of the Human Rights Commission, had discussed for a week the proposal that such a study be authorized. Dr. Maurice L. Perlzweig, representative of the World Jewish Congress, sharply opposed the dropping of the item from the agenda, as suggested by some of the experts on the subcommission. He derided contentions that the curbing of hate propaganda that could lead to violence would impinge on the principle of freedom of speech. He insisted that such a principle does not give hate peddlers the right to incite to “racial or religious hatred.”

Dr. William Korey, representative of the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, voiced the strictures against the Soviet Union, avoiding mentioning the country by name, and warned that anti-Semitic incitements around the world are “a major form of racism.” The World Jewish Congress and the CBJO, comprised of B’nai B’rith and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, have consultative status before the subcommission, entitling them to a voice but not to a vote.

“Officially-directed or officially-countenanced propaganda directed against Judaism, in its crudeness and vulgarity, cannot but stimulate hostility to Jews,”Dr. Korey argued. “Thus, when rabbis and lay leaders of the synagogue are portrayed consistently as extortionists who extract money from the faithful to feather their own nests; when Jewish religious services and such ancient, traditional rites as circumcision, the kosher slaughter of cattle, synagogue marriages, religious burial services and the baking of matzoh are characterized in abusive and foul language — then a negative stereotyped image of Jews will inevitably result or an ingrained anti-Semitism will be reinforced.”

In regard to anti-Semitic incitements in other countries, Dr. Korey told the subcommission that international neo-Nazi groups publish more than 50 periodicals, and issue bulletins in a half-dozen languages. He named among such organizations the European Social Movement, the European New Order, the Movement for Social Action, Young Europe, the Northern Ring and the World Union of National Socialists.

The subcommission selected one of its experts, Dr. Hernan Santa Cruz, of Chile, to outline the study and to present his results next year. Since Dr. Santa Cruz is due to retire by the end of 1966, another member will be chosen in 1967 to conduct the global study.

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