Soviet Spokesman Says Jews Have Equal Rights in the USSR
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Soviet Spokesman Says Jews Have Equal Rights in the USSR

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A Soviet spokesman said here today that there are no laws directed for of against Jews in the USSR. The spokesman, L. M. Samyatin, addressed a press conference as meetings continued here between Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev and West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.

“Equal rights exist for Jews in the multinational population of the Soviet Union. There are no laws for Jews in contradiction of the Soviet Constitution,” he said. He contended that Jews were able to emigrate but that very few Jews now want to go to Israel. Samyatin appeared angry when pressed on the subject of emigration. He told reporters to go to Vienna and talk to the hundreds of Jews who he said had left Israel and want to return to the Soviet Union.

Samyatin, who is director general of Tass, the Soviet news agency, said the Soviet Union wanted a peace settlement in the Middle East based on the Security Council’s Resolution 242. It was learned, meanwhile, that Brandt, Brezhnev and West German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel have held detailed discussions of the Middle East situation but no information on their talks has been released. Although Brezhnev is still in Bonn, Scheel left yesterday for Cairo for talks with Egyptian leaders. He will also visit Jordan and Lebanon.

Prior to his departure, Scheel told reporters that he had been fully informed on Soviet views on the Middle East but that there had been no “coordination” of views. He rejected the idea of a mediation role for West Germany in the Middle East. He said, however, that it was well to be informed and to use this information, whether it is from Britain, the U.S., the Soviet Union, Israel or the Arab states, to help both sides in the Mideast conflict to get together. Brandt is scheduled to visit Israel next month.


While the Brandt-Brezhnev talks continued, members of the Action Committee for Jews in the Soviet Union erected a large cage surrounded by barbed-wire on one of the main squares in Bonn. Inside were two Jewish students wearing concentration camp clothing and numbers, and bearing the Star of David. They said they were protesting against the continued oppression of Jews in the Soviet Union and against emigration difficulties.

Two placards were set up bearing the words: “Brezhnev-let the Jews go” and “Freedom for Jewish prisoners in the USSR”, The police have, meanwhile, released Michal Pick, 28, a nuclear physicist from Juelich, whom they arrested yesterday while he was demonstrating with the action committee.

Not far from the committee’s cage a 70-year-old Israeli carried banners reading “7 years separation” and “Brezhnev-let my wife and son go to Israel.” The Israeli tried yesterday to hand Samyatin a letter to Brezhnev to plead for his wife and son. Samyatin rejected the request, saying: “I’m not the minister of posts.”

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