WASHINGTON (May. 16)
The National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry said in a statement yesterday that it is committed “to the continuous struggle which will not end until every Soviet Jew can either live as a Jew or leave for the nation of his choice.” The statement by the organization made up of Catholics, Protestants and Jews, Blacks and whites, was given to Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) at his office at the Capital in connection with their two-day executive committee session.
The statement also said that the Task Force is “heartened” that sponsors of the Jackson-Mills-Vanik legislation “clearly understand” that although the change in the Soviet attitude toward emigration of its citizens is important it “does not alter the basic problems confronting Jews in the USSR.” This was in reference to the “suspension” by the Soviet leadership of the education tax on emigrants.
In presenting the statement, Sister Margaret Ellen Traxler, president of the National. Coalition of American Nuns and executive director of the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice in Chicago, remarked that at a time when the integrity of the U.S. governmental leaders was questioned it was encouraging to see Jackson and others in Congress supporting human rights.
Jackson, whose legislation would deny U.S. trade benefits to the Soviet Union pending modification of its emigration policy, told the Task Force that “the dedicated work of this interdenominational group indicates the great grassroots support for our Congressional initiative.” About 25 members of the Task Force visited Jackson.