Activists for Soviet Jewry Endorse U.S. Visa Legislation

The Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, an organization with chapters in 13 American cities, announced today that it is supporting the Soviet Jews Relief Act of 1971, currently before Congress, which would admit 30,000 Russian Jews to the United States. Harold B. Light, chairman of the Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry and spokesman for the Union, said the bill “is not just another resolution or a request to the United Nations and the Soviet Union for Russia to live up to its own laws “but if passed would represent the first time the U.S. Government took serious Czechs in 1968. Light said the Union was calling “upon everyone to immediately send cards and letters of support” for the bill to their Congressmen.

A bill for 30,000 emergency visas for Soviet Jews, introduced by Rep, Edward Koch (D., N.Y.) is presently before the House Judiciary Committee. It has the endorsement of 118 Congressmen. Thirty-four Senators have become co-sponsors of similar legislation introduced by Sens. Clifford Case (R., N.J.) and Jacob Javits (R., N.Y.) But the legislation is opposed in at least one Jewish quarter. Herman Weisman, president of the Zionist Organization of America has urged that the legislation be dropped on grounds that it would divert attention from the chief goal of Soviet Jews which, according to Weisman, is to settle in Israel.

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