Bill Would Use U.S. Exports As Weapon Against Soviet Oppression of Jews

The Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry expressed satisfaction today with a bill pending in the House of Representatives that would authorize the President to use export controls to oppose the denial of emigration and religious rights to Soviet Jews.

The measure, introduced June 29 by Rep. Thomas Rees (D. Calif.) is an amendment to the 1969 Export Administration Act. So far it has 21 co-sponsors. It would make the “policy of the US to use export controls to oppose the denial by any country of the rights of free emigration and free exercise of religion to its Jewish or any other citizens.” The President would be empowered to determine whether unrestricted exports to any country denying these rights is in the national interests. The President would be required to report to Congress quarterly the reasons for his determination and any other measures he is taking on the issue.

A statement by Rep. Rees said, “The denial of the freedom of religion and emigration, freedoms which have been outlined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, has continued to be the official policy of the USSR. Despite the President’s recent visit to the Soviet Union, the plight of Soviet Jews still remains very much a matter of vital international concern and our government must make every effort to bring about an end to Soviet oppression.”

Dr. Louis Rosenblum, of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that he was “pleased to see the response to the need of Soviet Jews from members of Congress in a form that would be meaningful to the Soviet government.

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