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Harassment of Russian Jews Unabated As Nixon Moscow Visit Nears

With President Nixon doe in Moscow in ten days for his third summit conference with Soviet leaders, the new wave of harassment and repression of Jews seeking to leave the USSR continued unabated while the rate of emigration remained at an extremely low level Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today.

In Chernovits, Albert Koltunov, an official of the Jewish national lottery was sentenced to 51/2 years in a strict regime prison for alleged bribery. He and his wife. Genia, had applied for exit visas to go to Israel shortly before the charges were brought. Two other Jewish activists, Yuri and Anna Berkovsky of Novosibirsk were arraigned on Charges of speculation and illegal possession of firearms which carry minimum penalties of five years imprisonment, the source reported. According to the sources, there is not a shred of evidence that the Berkovsky couple committed the offenses they are accused of.

In Moscow, the trial of Viktor Polsky on charges of reckless driving continued after the court rejected a defense motion for dismissal on grounds of insufficient evidence. The private telephones of Jewish activists in Moscow remained disconnected and the phones of Prof. Alexander Lerner and Ilya Korenfeld have already been reallocated to non-Jewish subscribers. Another activist. Vitaly Rubin, has been given 15 days to find a job or face a year’s imprisonment on charges of “parasitism,” the sources reported.

Meanwhile. Jewish scientists preparing to participate in an international seminar scheduled to be held in the apartment of Alexander Voronel on June 27, the day of Nixon’s arrival, have been called up for military service although hitherto they had been exempt.

Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, which has been running far behind last year’s rate, continued to decline. Only 1225 Jews left Russia in May compared to the 1973 average of 3000 departures a month, the sources reported.

(Supporters of Soviet Jewry continued to react strongly to the worsening situation in the USSR. The Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry announced that its members would seek to disrupt Soviet-U.S. telephonic communications starting today through June 21 to protest the disconnection of the phones of Jewish dissidents in Moscow. The committee said it was acting in conjunction with groups throughout the U.S. A hunger strike began in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington today in sympathy with the fast of the Goldstein brothers in Thilis, Soviet Georgia, both physicists who have been refused exit visas and subjected to harassment.)

JACKSON CHARGES MISREPRESENTATION

(In New York. Jewish organizational leaders demonstrated outside the Soviet airline office Friday in an expression of solidarity with Jews in Russia who fasted on the fourth anniversary of the Leningrad hijack trials. Addressing a Jewish audience in New York Thursday night. Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) accused the U.S. government of having “deliberately attempted to misrepresent to the American people” what the issue is in the Jackson Amendment linking U.S.-Soviet trade to an easing of Soviet emigration restrictions.

“I am not impressed when the White House tries to dismiss the wholesale violations of human rights in the Soviet Union as none of America’s business.” Jackson told the Jerusalem Great Synagogue dinner at the Plaza Hotel.

Jackson said that his amendment, “far from intruding into the internal affairs of the Soviet Union, simply conditions eligibility for certain U.S. economic, concessions on respect for the right to emigrate, which is specifically affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other international agreements which the Soviet Union itself has ratified.”

Jackson accused Administration officials, and specifically President Nixon in his Annapolis speech, of “grossly overstating” what the Amendment seeks and “just as grossly understating” or completely ignoring, what the USSR seeks from the U.S.

Jackson observed that Nixon did not mention at Annapolis that the U.S. government “has already made available more than a billion dollars in subsidized credits to the Soviet Union” nor “the intensified campaign of repression against emigration applicants and dissident intellectuals with which the Soviet government has responded to our generosity.”

Contrary to what Nixon said, “the sponsors of our Amendment have no illusions about restructuring the Soviet system. We are talking about the fundamental right of people who cannot tolerate or be tolerated by that system to emigrate to a nation which will welcome them,” Jackson declared.)

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