WASHINGTON (May. 19)
Eight Senators agreed today to seek establishment of a permanent Congressional advisory group that would closely and continuously monitor treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. The bi-partisan group also launched a direct effort to determine the current personal circumstances of 30 Soviet Jews who had met with 16 Senators in a Moscow hotel during an official U.S. visit last summer.
Their action came at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol, hosted by Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) who proposed the steps after hearing Alexander Luntz, the Moscow scientist who was allowed to emigrate to Israel last January, describe growing harassment and persecution of Soviet Jews and plead with the Senators to “try more” to help them.
Javits suggested that the Senators provide Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin with the names of the 30 Jews and follow through to obtain details on their circumstances. He urged both Houses of Congress establish “an institutional mechanism for continued oversight on this question” of depriving Soviet Jews of their right to emigrate if they wished.
Jerry Goodman, executive director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, who was among those present at the breakfast, said afterwards that he welcomed the proposals and that his organization would cooperate in implementing them. The Senators attending included Hubert Humphrey (D.Minn.), Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.), Patrick Lahey (D.Vt.), James Buckley (C-R NY), James McClure (R.Idaho), Charles Percy (R.III.), and Charles Mathias (R.Md.).
PRESSURE SHOULD BE SYSTEMATIC
Mathias noted during the discussion that Edward Gorin, a violinist in the Baltimore Symphony, was reunited last week with his wife and two young daughters after a four-year separation and that he would introduce the family to the Senate later today. Gorin was able to leave Moscow for Israel in 1972 and came to America two years later. His family, however, was unable to leave Russia until recently.
Percy, indicating some concern over wide publicity to U.S. official actions, asked whether “the Soviets are still sensitive to Arab criticism” for allowing Jews to go to Israel. Responding that pressure on the Soviets should be done “in a systematic, firm way.” Humphrey said that “the Soviets would find ten reasons why not to publicize” Soviet Jewish emigration.
SOVIETS NEED PROOF OF INTEREST
Soviet authorities “want to see the proof you are really interested” Luntz said in urging individual Senators to intervene personally for particular Soviet Jews and to pursue their interventions to successful conclusions. He pointed out that during President Nixon’s visit to Moscow in 1972, Jewish activists were imprisoned or otherwise confined and Nixon did not protest. This was a sign to the KGB of a Lack of concern by Nixon, Luntz said. Luntz was among those taken into custody during the Nixon visit.