World Conference of Soviet Jewry Opposes Calls to Transfer the 1980 Olympic Games from Moscow
Menu JTA Search

World Conference of Soviet Jewry Opposes Calls to Transfer the 1980 Olympic Games from Moscow

Download PDF for this date

Leaders of the World Conference of Soviet Jewry, the umbrella movement for campaigns in different countries, said here that they did not support calls to transfer the 1980 Olympic Games from Moscow and that they wanted to attend the Games themselves.

The statement was made yesterday following the biannual meeting of the Presidium of the Conference at which there had been sharp divisions on this issue. Members of the British Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry have been calling for the transfer of the Games to another venue because of Soviet suppression of human rights.

Leon Dulzin, the Jewish Agency chairman who presided at the three-day meeting attended by 60 delegates, told journalists that the Presidium did not believe in the campaign to boycott the Olympics. Instead, they should insist on the Soviet Union strictly observing the regulations of the International Olympic Committee regarding the admission and treatment of all participants.

June Jacobs, chairman of Britain’s National Soviet Jewry Council, said the presence of the Israeli athletes in Moscow would give great encouragement to Soviet Jewry. She and other members of the Presidium wanted to be there as well, she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. However, the threat of a world-wide Olympics boycott might be used as a bargaining counter to secure the release of some of the 800 hard-core refusniks, she added.


Dulzin said there had been reports that next year the Soviet Union would stop issuing exit visas as officials would be fully engaged in processing entry visas of foreign athletes and spectators for the Games. But this was not confirmed.

This year, about 27,000 Jews are expected to emigrate from the Soviet Union, compared with 21,000 last year, with about half going to Israel and the rest mainly to the United States. This was only a fraction of those who wanted to leave. This year, Israeli affidavits had been sent to 100,000 would-be emigrants, making a total of nearly 230,000 such documents sent from Israel in the past three years. Fewer than 50,000 Soviet Jews had been allowed to emigrate in the same period, however.

Dulzin told the press conference that he was alarmed at what he called the “big rise” of Soviet anti-Semitic literature, films and television programs. Popular anti-Jewish literature was particularly prevalent in the Ukraine and Belorussia, where the many small Jewish communities had become frightened. It was announced that the Conference would shortly publish a Blue Book documenting the growing anti-Semitism of the Soviet media.

The press conference was also attended by Claude Kelman, chairman of CRIF (French Jewry’s representative council), Eugene Gold, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, Theodore Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Lord Fisher, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund