TEL AVIV (Jul. 31)
A group of activists involved in the struggle of Soviet Jews for emigration urged last night that cause of Soviet Jewry be divorced from the general human rights battle being waged by Soviet dissidents. A statement issued by the Public Coordinating Committee for Russian Jews said it sympathized with the human rights campaign conducted by dissidents Yuri Orlov, Alexander Ginzburg and others.
“We have deep respect for such people, “the statement said, “but the Jewish fight for aliya bore fruit mainly because it carefully avoided interfering with the internal problems of the USSR, especially the human rights issue.” The statement also said it was wrong to call Ginzburg, who has been sentenced to eight years in a labor camp, a “prisoner of Zion.”
It said that Ginzburg, who adopted the maiden name of his Jewish mother, does not consider himself a Jew and “wears a cross” like his mentor, the exiled Soviet writer Alexander Solzhenitzyn. Ginzburg’s case had been coupled with that of the Soviet Jewish dissident, Anatoly Shcharansky, sentenced to three years in prison and 10 years in a labor camp. Both belonged to the unofficial group that monitored Soviet compliance with the human rights components of the Helsinki Final Act.
Jewish protests on behalf of Ginzburg faded when it became widely known that, although he was born of a Jewish mother, he associated himself with the Russian Orthodox faith, it was noted here. Jewish efforts are now concentrated on the plight of Shcharansky whose wife and brother live in Israel. On the other hand, the wave of protest in Western countries against the Soviet treatment of dissidents recognized Shcharansky and Ginzburg as equal victims of Soviet repression and false charges. The greatest sympathy has been aroused in the West over the human rights issue in the USSR, of which the Jewish struggle is but one manifestation.
The activists here also denounced independent MK Samuel Flatto-Sharon’s claim that his intervention was responsible for the Soviet grant of an exit visa to Israel Zalmanson, a defendant in the 1970 Leningrad hijack trial. The activists said that visas were given to all Jewish prisoners who completed their sentences and charged Flatto with using the case for political gain.