Participants in Helsinki Parley Urged to Express Concern About Treatment of Jews in the USSR

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has urged all governments participating in the final stage of the European Conference on Security and Cooperation in Helsinki this month to express their great concern to the Soviet authorities over the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union and to urge immediate steps to grant Soviet Jews their elementary human rights.

In a statement issued at the Board’s monthly meeting, Board President Lord Fisher of Camden, declared: “We naturally welcome any steps toward security and cooperation between East and West, yet such steps are incompatible with the present position and are meaningless if the situation of Jews in the USSR is not immediately alleviated.” He said he was confident that if the Soviet Union heeded these calls it would contribute to a better understanding between East and West.

According to Lord Fisher, the situation of Soviet Jews has deteriorated since the European Security Conference first convened two years ago. He noted that the Soviet authorities had reduced Jewish emigration from 3000 a month in 1973 to under 100 a month at present. The ranks of Jewish “Prisoners of Conscience” sentenced to long prison terms increased this year and three more Jews–Anatoly Malkin, Yaacob Vinarov and Lev Roitburd–have been imprisoned and await “show trials.”

Lord Fisher also listed the latest methods of harassment against Jewish activists in the USSR. He said these included an additional tax on monies sent from abroad to alleviate the hardship of Jews fired from their jobs; mass disconnection of telephones; interference with the mails; and threats against “tourist-Zionists.” He said all of these measures were coupled with increasing anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and anti-Judaism propaganda and the denial of proper facilities for Jewish cultural and religious observances.

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