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United Hias Annual Meeting Underscores Plight of Soviet Jewry

Frank L. Kellogg, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Refugee and Migration Affairs, stated last night that by depriving its Jews of the right to emigrate, the Soviet Union was “in direct conflict with the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and countless subsequent related United Nations resolutions.” Addressing members, organizational delegates and friends at the 87th annual meeting of United Hias Service Kellogg added, “My government deeply deplores the fact that Jews in the Soviet Union are not permitted to live as Jews…discriminated against and oppressed…and denied the right to leave,” and that “our support for Soviet citizens wishing to emigrate has been reiterated many times. Secretary of State (William P.) Rogers, meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister (Andrei) Gromyko in October, 1970, underscored the United States position that free movement is one of the basic human rights.” He expressed support for the efforts of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) in Geneva and other governmental and international organizations which seek to facilitate the emigration of Soviet citizens seeking to leave the USSR.

In a telegram of greetings, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, also stressed the plight of Soviet Jewry and pledged to “continue to do what I can in advocating justice and religious liberty for Jews in the Soviet Union.” He added that “the time is long overdue to further encourage” the trickle of Soviet citizens, including Jews who are being enabled to leave the country “through substantive diplomatic initiatives actively supported by peoples and governments throughout the world.” Harold Friedman, president of United Hias Service, characterized the year 1970 as one of achievement, since his organization was able to assist more than 50,000 men, women and children, of whom 6,377 were actually helped to leave Poland, Egypt, Rumania, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as the Soviet Union. However, he added, it was also a year of frustration and disappointment “because there are an estimated 180,000 Jews in the Arab countries, and very few were able to leave…because in two of these countries in particular, Syria and Iraq, several thousand Jews were living under conditions of severe repression, forbidden to engage in many occupations, or to travel more than a few miles from their homes, or to transact business, or to emigrate.” In Eastern Europe the story was the same, Friedman said. “Thousands of Jewish men, women and children, but very few able to leave.”

Gaynor Jacobson, executive vice president of United Hias Service, expressed concern over the rising trend of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, “which in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, has either bolstered home-grown instincts, or followed the lead of the Soviet Union, in pursuance of policy of anti-Semitism, thinly disguised as anti-Zionism.” He also referred to the menacing situation in Latin America where “extremist governments gain ascendancy in increasing numbers of countries. These particular Latin American events are not marked by specifically anti-Jewish movements. However, the three quarters of a million Jews of the South American continent must be seen as caught in the social strife and general ferment of an entire continent.” Carl Glick, treasurer, reported that United Hias Service spent more than $3,000,000 in 1970 for its worldwide rescue and migration program and expressed gratitude for the loyalty and support of the organization’s members and friends. The Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada was cited for half a century of devoted service to the thousands of Jewish men, women and children who resettled in that country.

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