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April 30, 1976 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-04-30

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


Boris Smolar's

'Between You
... and Me'

Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1976, JTA, Inc.)

INSIDE RUSSIA: Hedrick Smith, who spent three
years in Moscow as correspondent of the New York Times,
deals very extensively with the treatment of Jews in the
USSR — and with their moods — in his excellent book "The
Russians," just published.
The author devotes many pages to the "Pariahs" — as
the mistreated Jews are called by some in the Soviet Union.
He brings out the anti-Jewish discriminations practiced in
the government system. He analyzes the feelings of anti-
Semitism prevailing within the population, especially in the
\— --Ukraine, and tells of the growing interest among com-
pletely assimilated Soviet-born Jews to know more about
Jewishness. He deals, of course, with the movement among
the Jews to emigrate and the reasons given by Jews who are
not inclined to leave. He estimates that a million or more
Jews have already opted for assimilation in Soviet life and
left themselves no way out.
The general picture of the situation of the Jews in the
USSR emerging from his well-written book is that they are
the most mistreated national minority in the USSR. They
are derisively called "The pyaty punkty" — "The fifth poin-
ters" — a reference to the point No. 5 in their identity docu-
ments which stamps them specifically as Jews, thus pre-
venting them from hOlding certain positions, restricting
their opportunities to higher education, and making their
lives difficult in many other ways.
THE MOSCOW JOKE: The remarkable phenomenon
in Soviet life today is the fact that although Jews are
treated worse than any other nationality in the USSR,
many Soviet non-Jews seek intermarriage with Jews, ac-
cording to Smith. They believe that intermarriage will help
them to emigrate.
The author illustrates this point by telling one of the
many jokes going around in Moscow: A man tells officials
that he does not want to leave, but his family wants to emi-
grate."Well, if you don't want to go, why did you apply?"
the colonel asks . . . "Don't you see?" Abramovich explains.
"I am the only Jew in the family . . ."
Smith says the Kremlin was startled by the brazenness
with which the Soviet Jews started their movement for emi-
gration. The Kremlin could have finished the movement in a
trice, he asserts, but the powerful, organized support which
this movement received abroad made Brezhnev think twice.
The Kremlin was caught in a dilemma because it did not
want to appear as a strong-arm police state while it pursued
detente. Its tactics were rough, but there were limits.
Now, Smith believes, the Kremlin has—by costly trial
and error — arrived at a "liveable combination" policy of
elective intimidation and limited emigration. It aims to ap-
pease the West, and at the same time put a damper on the
trend toward emigration while discreetly ridding the coun-
try of disaffected Jewish intellectuals and dissidents. Other
ethnic groups are made to feel, through crackdown in the
Ukraine, Lithuania, Armenia and elsewhere, that Jews are
a special case not be emulated.
PRIDE AND FRUSTRATION: Smith found that the
most powerful motive behind Jewish emigration was not
militant Zionism but a newly vibrant sense of Jewish na-
tionalism — a drive for self-affirmation as Jews in Soviet
life. In the Soviet system, being a Jew and asserting Jewish-
ness implicitly conflicts with being a loyal Soviet citizen, he
points out.
Soviet Jews, Smith asserts, had accommodated them-
selves to anti-Semitic slurs and job discrimination, but the
most glaring grievance to the Jewish activists is that they
are being denied positive outlets for their own ethnic ident-
ity. He quotes some of them as saying that they consider
themselves men without a nationality in a very nationalistic
country. In his private contacts, he found successful, assim-
ilated Jews who shared the feeling of resurgent Jewish
pride and cultural frustration.
Other ethnic groups complain privately that creeping
Russification is depriving them of their cultural identity
and heritage, but they have their geographic regions, their
"government" schools, ethnic theaters, and literary and cul-
t ural traditions. Jews have almost none of this. There was
time in the '30s when there were more than 1,200 Yiddish
lischools maintained by the government system. They were
liquidated when Stalin erased all traces of Jewish culture.
Smith believes it is the denial of this ethnic outlet that
Jewish activists in Russia have been protesting with their
emigration movement.

Jews 'Invisible' in Top Bank Jobs

Sol Kolack, director of the
are practically invisible at ADL New England office,
senior executive levels in said the ADL had conducted
Boston's major banks, the a two-month investigation,
Massachusetts State Bank- examining 312 banks in 103
ing Commission was told at communities in the state
a hearing by two officials of and finding that only 1.1
Anti-Defamation percent of bank executive
League of Bnai Brith.
positions were held by Jews.

`Jehudah Halevi'
Filmstrip Released

filmstrip, "An Interview
With Jehudah Halevi," has
been released by the Tar-
bah Foundation for the Ad-
vancement of Hebrew Cul-
Placing emphasis on au-
dio-visual aspects of Jewish
education, the Tarbuth
Foundation produced the
filmstrip upon the 900th
anniversary of the birthday
of the poet-philosopher of
Spanish Jewry's Golden
"An Interview with Jehu-
dah Ha _vi" based on au-
thentic -. ictorial material of
the per d and underscored
by Lad.no folk music, as
well as by other appropriate
themes, was written by Dr.
Emil Lehman, executive
vice president of the founda-
tion, and performed by Pen,
innah Schram and Eli Gam-
liel. Recitals of Halevi's
poetry in Hebrew and En-
glish are interwoven in the
Copies of the filmstrip
may be ordered from Tar-
buth Foundation, 2 Penn
Plaza, Suite 1980, New
York, N. Y. 10001.

Israel Is Lacking
Nuclear Weapons,
Dinitz Affirms

Sirncha Dinitz, the Israel
Ambassador to the United
States, reiterated in Mon-
treal Israel's denial that it is
a nuclear power.
"Israel is not a nuclear
country and we shall never
be the first country to intro-
duce nuclear weapons in the
Middle East," he told a
press conference. "Re-
garding our capacity to
build such bombs, it is sim-
ply theoretical."
Dinitz, in Montreal to
address a dinner of the
Friends of the Ben-Gurion
University, also affirmed
that Israel will never pay
"political blackmail" to
Syria for the renewal of the
United Nations Disengage-
ment Observer Force
(UNDOF) in the Golan
Heights when the mandate
expires at the end of May.
He said the stationing of
UNDOF was part of the dis-
engagement agreement be-
tween Israel and Syria.

April 30, 1976 17

To our contributors .. .


on your accomplishments!

Because of your contributions to the 1976
Allied Jewish Campaign-Israel Emergency Fund,

people will

• be welcomed to Israel with the

necessary housing, language classes

and absorption programs for


• receive personal and family counseling

• continue their employment in a

sheltered workshop

• live with dignity in sheltered housing

• be given medical and health care

• benefit from job placement


• continue their Jewish and Hebrew


and benefit from many other
programs which maintain and
improve the quality of Jewish life

NYANA Creates
New Department

NEW YORK — The crea-
tion of a new department at
New York Association for
New Americans (NYANA)
responsible for community
relations, Jewish education
and volunteer services was
announced by Dr. Herbert
Bernstein, the agency's ex-
ecutive director.
The Community Services
Department, said Dr. Bern-
stein, was established
mainly as a bridge with the
New York Jewish commu-
nity in facilitating the set-
tlement of Russian immi-
Two of its other major
functions will be to intro-
duce Russian immigrants to
the basics of Judaism and
Jewish life in New York and
to generate volunteer pro-
grams and personnel at the

We have a special thanks for those Campaign leaders and workers

who have worked with us these past months soliciting contributions
to the Campaign which benefits 60 humanitarian agencies all over
the world.

If you've not yet made your gift to the AJC-IEF, please make your
best possible pledge and send in a payment today!

Thank you.

Dr. Leon Fill

Merle Harris

1976 Allied Jewish Campaign-Israel Emergency Fund
163 Madison Avenue, Detroit 48226


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