COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 28)
One hundred Jewish student leaders from 45 U.S. campuses wound up a three-day National Conference on Campus Action for Soviet Jewry, recommending not to call for a complete cutoff in trade between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Jerry Goodman, executive director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, told the leaders meeting at the University of Maryland that they should not push now for a complete cutoff in trade between the Soviet Union and the United States as a way to aid Soviet Jews.
The students, who gathered here to study ways to force the Soviet Union to relax its emigration restrictions and end harassment of Jews who remain in the Soviet Union, were told by Goodman: “If we close contact we lose the pressure point. If we have no trade, we have no influence.” Goodman called instead for a policy of “balanced tension” with the Russians.
“When they come we are obliged to create a climate of pressure” while not forcing the Soviet Union into isolation, he continued. “We must utilize the opportunities of trade, cultural and scientific visits” to convince the Soviet government it loses more than it gains by oppressing Jews, The growth of commerce between the United States and the Soviet Union offers a new area where action will have to be intensified. Goodman said.
FUTURE CAMPAIGNS OUTLINED
But he emphasized that protest groups must act in a “non-adversary capacity” when they approach businessmen “In the long run of history the trend is for an increase of trade with the Soviet Union,” he said. He advised groups to concentrate on “elevating by a few notches the corporate consciousness in this area” One goal of the conference was to urge support on Capitol Hill of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Charles A. Vanik (D.Ohio), and Wilbur Mills (D.Ark.), and in the Senate by Sen. Henry Jackson (D.Wash.).
Yesterday the students visited 125 Congressional offices to urge support of the Jackson-Vanik legislation and provide background information on Soviet Jewish problems. They presented Congressmen with the names of Soviet Jews seeking assistance and urged the Congressmen to communicate their support of Soviet Jewry to President Nixon.
Another policy recommendation emerging from the conference was a stepped-up campaign of person-to-person contact with Soviet Jews to be coordinated on a national level. The conference was sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.