Soviet Jewry’s Struggle Gets Little Support in Brazil

While the issue of Soviet Jewry is a top priority item on the agenda of American Jews and non-Jewish intellectuals, this issue has received scant support from either Jews or non-Jewish intellectuals in Brazil. The issue has been reported in the daily press and much space was given to the struggle of Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate, but public action and sentiment has been almost nil.

According to one well-informed source active in the Jewish community and himself a leading intellectual and editor of a magazine, his efforts to obtain from professors at the university in which he teaches signatures on a petition on behalf of Soviet Jewry received only a perfunctory response. The invariable reaction, he told the Jewish. Telegraphic Agency, was that Soviet Jews are not the only oppressed people, if, in fact, they are oppressed at all. He was told, time and again: “Why not a petition for the victims of Vietnam and Bangladesh wars? Why only petitions against the Soviet government? Why not also against other oppressive regimes? Besides, Jews in the Soviet Union have been well educated and are now trying to leave and taking their education with them. They should pay the education tax.”

The Jewish community, the source said, is comparatively inactive on this issue because it does not want to be accused of being involved in “Jewish issues.” The younger Jews, he added, almost totally assimilated, simply are not interested in “Jewish issues,” whether Russian, Israel or even local.

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