More on Soviet Anti-Semitism

K. Y. Rintoul now openly admits (Tribune June 27) not only that anti-Semitism exists in the Soviet Union today, but also that it has increased since the Middle East war of June 1967. This appears to conflict with her earlier assertion (Tribune May 30)  that soviet Jews live in ‘a non-deistic humanist society’.

Your correspondent again recites the now familiar refrain that concern for Soviet Jewry is no more than cold-war propaganda, thus implying that its sole concern is thereby to make anti-Soviet capital. This accusation has long been completely discredited  and receives credence only from those whose wish is to conceal or justify the Soviet policy of anti-Semitism.

the ‘cold war’ theory is sufficiently destroyed by the fact that many of the individuals and bodies who have spoken out publicly against Soviet anti-Semitism are from the Left rather than from the Right of the political spectrum; they include Lord Bertrand Russell, Michael Foot, Martin Luther King, Jean-Paul Sartre, the Socialist International, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, International Commission of Jurists and communist parties including our own, throughout the world.

Equally familiar and equally irrelevant, is the equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and of Soviet foreign policy on the Middle East with its domestic treatment of Jews. We must reiterate yet again that opposition to Israeli policy is in no way an explanation, let alone a defence of Soviet anti-Semitism. The Soviet authorities have long followed a consistent policy of anti-Semitism, disguised, as the occasion permits, as a struggle against ‘rootless cosmopolitans’, ‘capitalist agents’ or ‘Zionists’.

Soviet anti-Semitism, freed from the association with the cold war and with zionism, is undeniable. Throughout the whole of the Soviet Union, there exists not a single Jewish school or even a Jewish class; every other minority group is permitted schools and facilities for education in their own languages and cultur. It is of interest in this connection to note that by Soviet law any ten parents have the right to request education for their children in their native language which the authorities are bound to grant.

between 1948 and 1959, not a single book was published in either Yiddish or Hebrew and since then there have been no more than a dozen. the ere has been an enormous fall in the percentage of Jewish students in the soviet Union within recent years. Jews are wholly barred from many professional occupations or encounter discrimination in their attempts to enter them. The number of Jews in the Communist party at all levels is infinitesimal.

At every point, the Soviet Constitution and legal code guarantee, in theory, full rights o Jews, both as individuals and as a religious, national and cultural entity; whereas the Soviet government and authorites , in practice , flagrantly denies  every one of these rights.

The struggle against the reactionary nature of anti-Semitism occurs in the Soviet Union. Indeed it should be the bounden duty of all socialists to fight this evil wherever it occurs.

Tribune 4 July 1969

(with Jonathan Lewis)

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