CINCINNATI (Jan. 24)
Jerry Goodman, the executive director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry suggested today that American Jews would support “flexibility” in U.S. Soviet trode relations if the USSR would “standardize and humanize” its treatment of its Jewish population.
Goodman fold several hundred Jewish community leaders at a program planning session of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory, Council’s plenary meeting here. If the harassment of new (emigration) applicants does not mount again, and if the 1979 level continues to remain relatively high … (we) will be asked to be flexible on the linkage of trade to emigration: We have insisted that when the time is appropriate we would be flexible in the matter of trade relations.” Goodman remarks were contained in a major policy paper out lining the tactics and objectives in 1979 for the Soviet Jewry movement in the United States.
Nearly 29,000 Jews left the USSR last year, the highest annual total since 35,000 left in 1973. The U.S trade policy now offers credits and Most Favored Nation status to Communist countries that allow freer emigration. The major piece at legislation in this area is the 1974 Jackson-Vonik Amendment, principally intended to promote increased Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.
“We are for detente and of course, peace,” Goodman said, “but detente requires reciprocal obligations. It is not a one-way street.” The Soviet Union, he said, must alter its emigration policy, end anti-Semitism and allow its Jewish population the freedom to satisfy, their religious and cultural desires.
INCREASED EMIGRATION RATE IS CRITICAL
The achievement of an increased rate of emigration which could reach its own level, not obstructed by restrictions, is critical. The process must be standardized and humanized. If denials by reason of “state security” are to be considered valid, these should be defined and made known in advance so the arbitrariness can be removed,” said Goodman.
Hard core refusenik eases should be processed expeditiously, said Goodman, and Prisoners of Conscience should be freed from Soviet prisons, labor camps and exile as soon as the law allows. “If would be a significant gesture if the POC’s were released within the next few months. Since nearly all of them have wives and children, such on act of humanity and compassion would be well received in the United States.” he said.
Goodman added that those Jews who remain in the Soviet Union should have “the full rights of every after Soviet nationality – the right to their cultural, historical and religious herbage, The right to have Hebrew books and newspapers printed, synagogues open and functioning and trained rabbis and teachers available. Simply put, we want the Jews who remain to survive as a people, and to have the means to do so as part of their daily lives.”