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April 12, 1963 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETRO IT JEWISH NEWS —Friday, April

Anti-Israel Council for Judaism
Backs USSR Anti-Jewish Policy

WASHINGTON, (JTA) — So-
viet diplomats and Communist
propagandists in this country
are making extensive use of
material provided by the Amer-
ican Council for Judaism in
their attempts to quiet mount-
ing concern among Jews and
non-Jews here over the syste-
matic discrimination practiced
against the Jews in the Soviet
Union.
The Soviet Embassy in Wash-
ington replies to written in-
quiries on the treatment of
Russian Jews by including
statements by Leonard R. Suss-
man, executive director of the
Council, as "proof" that anti-
Jewish discrimination does not
exist in the Soviet Union. Com-
munist publications, currently
devoting much attention to de-
nials of mistreatment of the
Jewish minority in the Soviet
Union, also place considerable
reliance on the "evidence" in
statements by the Council for
Judaism.
Officials of the organiza-
tion have apparently taken
on themselves the duty of
replying to criticisms of the
Soviet Union's Jewish pol-
icy wherever such criticism
may appear in newspapers
throughout the United States.
They frequently prevail upon
local members of the organi-
zation to write to the news-
papers, as individuals, deny-
ing mistreatment of the Jews
in Russia. The Council for
Judaism "line" is to identify
such charges as "Zionist
propaganda."
The onus of dealing with
most protests received by the
Soviet Embassy on the Jewish
question falls on Gennadi V.
Gavrikov, the Embassy's Sec-
ond Secretary. Mr. Gavrikov
generally replies by quoting
statistics on the Jewish popula-
tion in Russia, official state-
ments on the status of the Jew-
ish community, and the -"evi-
dence" of the Council for Juda-
ism. A typical letter from Mr.
Gavrikov concluded as follows .
"And here is further evidence
coming from Mr. Leonard R.
Sussman, executive director of
the American Council for Juda-
ism. This is what he had to say
concerning the question in his
address before the annual con-
ference of the Council in Chi-
cago, Ill., on May 11, 1962:
"We have talked with Soviet
experts in the government and
out; they see no substantiation
of the broad charge of perse-
cution of Jews in the Soviet
Union. . . . The Staate Depart-
ment told us, as it told others,
there is no government-inspired
anti-Semitism in the Soviet
Union at this time. Recent
trials of Jews, the Department
told us, were ostensibly not
for religious activity but for
alleged involvement in specu-
lations or other criminal of-
fenses.' I hardly need to add
anything more on this sub-
ject."
There is no public record
of any statement by the Amer-
ican Council for Judaism
modifying its position in the
light of the declaration by
the State Department in
March that the United States
Government's concern over
anti-Semitic developments in
Russia had been made known
"at the highest levels of the
Soviet Government." The De- _
partment disclosed then it
had received- information "of-

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ficially and from private ob-
servers" that anti-Semitism
existed "in many areas of
the Soviet Union."
The State Department noted
that pressures on the Jews
were such that "Jewish re-
ligious activities have been cur-
tailed to the point where func-
tioning synagogues are a rarity
and opportunities to train and
educate Jewish religious leaders
have been virtually eliminated."
The State Department also
charged that Jews in the Soviet
Union "are receiving a dis-
proportionate amount of con-
demnation and victimization"
in the Soviet campaign against
economic crimes. It warned
that "the publicity given the
trials will in all probability
have the effect of buttressing
already existing. anti - Semitic
prejudices through the associa-
tion of identifiably Jewish per-
sons with economic violations."
The statements by the
American Council for Juda-
ism have been most helpful
to Communist propagandists
seeking to combat the im-
pression made here by Soviet
anti-Semitism. The March is-
sue of "New World Review,"
formerly "Soviet Russia To-
day," relies heavily on a
Council for Judaism memo-
randum and the Sussman re-
port to the Council's annual
conference last year to dis-
prove the charges.
The magazine is listed by the
United States Subversive Ac-
tivities Control Board. Its edi-
tor, Jessica Smith, the author
of the article on Russian Jews
in the March issue, is de-
scribed as "a long-time member
and functionary in the Com-
munist Party, as well as in the
party-controlled Friends of the
Soviet Union."
Sussman's report on what he
said the State Department told
him about the position of the
Jews in Russia is a highlight
of Mr. Smith's defense of the
Soviet Union. The author went
further than the Embassy aide
and quoted Mr. Sussman as as-
serting that "Russian Jews, on
the whole, are among the privi-
leged classes of the popula-
tion." Mr.- Sussman pointed out,
according to the magazine, that
"of course, it is convenient to
use Jews to whip the Soviet,
just as it is convenient to use
the cold war to produce- mass
manpower for Israel."
The Communist publication
also quoted extensively from a
memorandum it said the Coun-
cil for Judaism had issued on
Dec. 11, 1961, which denied that
Jews suffered any greater re-
ligious disabilities in Russia
than other religions and justi-
fied the execution of Jews in
the Leningrad and Moscow spy
trials. "New World Review"
quoted this memorandum as
stating that "there is no evi-
dence that any large number
of Jews . . . desire greater re-
ligious participation, after sev-
eral generations of downgrad-
ing of religion."
In justification of the spy
trials, the magazine quoted the
Council memorandum as fol-
lows: "It is generally acknowl-
edged that Israel has one of
the most effective espionage
services. . . • We note the Is-
rael-Zionist effort to interfere
in the internal affairs of coun-
tries wherever there are large
Jewish populations. We recog-
nize this to be part of a single
pattern which commits Zionist
agencies to the policy of 'in-
gathering all Jews in Israel.'
Consequently we oppose every
step to carry out this policy as
applied to Jews of the United
States and we recognize that
the same forces are often
toward Jews in other coun-
tries."
Typical of the letters writ-
ten by members of the Ameri-

can Council for Judaism to
editors of newspapers com-
menting editorially on Rus-
sian anti-Semitism is one
which appeared in the Wash-
inton Post and Times-Herald
earlier this year. The letter
complained that American
newspapers gave almost no
attention to the "even severer
restrictions on Soviet Islam"
and asked: "Is the American
press for freedom of religion
in Russia only for those re-
ligious groups which have
counterparts in the United
States?"
The letter protested advo-
cacy by "certain right-wing Con-
gressmen and segments of the
media" to withdrawal of the
American Ambassador from
Moscow because of Soviet anti-
Semitism and insisted that
"surely our relations with, Rus-
sia can no more be governed
by their Jewish policies than
their Jehovah Witnesses poli-
cies or our relations with India
by their caste system."
The letter linked the Council
for Judaism position on the
Soviet Union with its enmity
to Israel in asking: "How many

of the religoius leaders who
protested to Russia (over dis-
criminations against the Jewish
religion) would be willing to
protest to Israel over its anti-
Moslem and anti-Christian poli-
cies?"

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"Passover' marks the eternal struggle of man to gain
freedOm. This means not only the freedom from totalitarian-
ism„ but the fulfillment of freedom for men to live creatively
and in harmony with each other . . . Thus, 'we see Passover
as an expression of man's •yrannies—the weak, unproductive
aspects of his own nature . . ."

From a Passover Message by
Dr. Samuel Belkin, President
Yeshiva University

As we gather to celebrate the joyous festival of freedom, we are mindful of
the very vital role that education has played in preserving our glorious heritage.

There has never been a time when the importance of education—the train-
ing of young men and women in the wisdom of the ages and responsibilities of
mature citizenship—has been more pronounced than today. In an age increas-
ingly dependent upon trained leadership, an institution such as Yeshiva Uni-
versity represents a brilliant beacon, serving to illuminate not only our tradition
but the vast realms of knowledge in every field.

We in Detroit have had the privilege to share a most enriching role in the
continuing development of this great citadel of higher learning. Among the ties
that link our city with the University, we are especially proud of the elite group
of Detroit Ambassadors—the farsighted individuals who, by their leadership
and support, have significantly advanced the institution's educational and
scholarship programs.

It is appropriate that our communal appreciation and esteem for these
devoted men and women will be expressed at the festive Ambassador Ball to
be held on Sunday, May 26, at Cobo Hall. In honoring the Detroit Ambassadors
for outstanding service to Yeshiva University, we shall be paying tribute to the
spirit of devotion and commitment that epitomizes our observance of this in-
spiring holiday season.

Avid Goldherg

GENERAL CHAIRMAN

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experiment in chemistry laboratory.

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sciences for women under Jewish
auspices. "

Yeshiva University's distinctive Ambas-
sador Medallion of Honor. Conferred
upon outstanding communal leaderi for
"distinguished service to higher edu-
cation."

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