Petition Raps Soviet Anti-Semitism

The Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Society and the Student Zionist Organization hope to collect several thousand signatures on a petition protesting anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.

Students throughout the University will be able to sign the protest today and tomorrow outside their dining halls.

After soliciting support from Faculty members later this week, Hillel will send the petition to Soviet Premier Khrushchev, Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, President Johnson, and Secretary of State Rusk.

A small number of prominent Faculty members have already signed the petition. The group includes Dean Ford, Don K. Price, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Samuel H. Miller, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity.

Accompanying the petition will be a fact sheet that charges in part:


"Russian Judaism is slowly dying. Three million of our brethren are in danger of disappearing, victims not of organized pogroms, but of government-sponsored discrimination and religious and cultural deprivation. This cultural genocide may lack the tangible horror of the Nazi program but, if it is allowed to continue unchecked, it will be equally effective."

The fact sheet cites the rapid decline of Russian synagogues from nearly 500 five years ago to 90 today, the curtailment since 1958 of Yiddish books and newspapers, and the frequent charges of economic crimes against Jews, as evidence of fast-growing Soviet anti-Semitic policy.

The petition itself asks the soviet government to permit the functioning of synagogues and private prayer meetings, restore civil liberties guaranteed to all minority groups under the Russian constitution, and allow Jewish cultural and educational activities.