Professor Predicts Majority of Soviet Jews Would Leave if Gates Were Open

A political science professor said here last night that “given the reign of fear under which they live” a majority of Soviet Jews would leave Russia within a few years if the gates were open. Prof. John A. Armstrong, of the University of Wisconsin, who just returned from a trip to the USSR, addressed the first Boston Regional Conference of the Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry, held at Harvard University. He described the plight of Soviet Jewry as a “vicious cycle.” “Anti-Semitic policies lead to the Jewish alienation from the regime and emotional attachment to Israel. This attachment acts as a rationalization for further Soviet anti-Semitic policies,” he told the 500 students and faculty members attending the conference. He said that Soviet propaganda ostensibly limited to attacks on “Zionism” and “Judaism,” actually “caricature and demean Jews as an historic ethnic entity.” Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that a very large portion of the close to three million Soviet Jews no longer feel they have an even minimally secure future in the Soviet Union, Prof. Armstrong said. Another speaker, Prof. Richard Pipes, director of the Russian Research Center at Harvard, traced the rise of Soviet anti-Semitism to the “burgeoning nationalisms” in the Soviet Union which are directed against various minorities. He said “there is no future for the Jews in Soviet Russia” and called their present situation “dangerous.”

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