NEW YORK (Oct. 25)
Burton Levinson, chairman of the National. Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), said today that his organization is greatly alarmed by reports which it continues to receive from the Soviet Union that Soviet authorities are instituting new and unreasonable restrictions on Soviet Jews who seek to emigrate. “The NCSJ is concerned that these new Soviet procedures may illustrate an attempt by the Soviet Union to drastically reduce Jewish emigration,” he stated.
For the first time, Soviet authorities are challenging whether the Soviet Jew seeking to emigrate and his Israeli family who has sent him an invitation have a “sufficient kinship.” Emigration from the USSR for Jews has always been based upon family reunification,” Levinson noted. “Thus, the NCSJ is tremendously concerned that the Soviets are seeking to implement new restrictions under the guise of challenging family kinship,” he said.
“Although emigration figures continue to be high, these new restrictions may presage a substantial reduction of numbers in a few months. Already thousands of people primarily in the Ukraine, but as well in other republics, have been refused the right to emigrate because of these procedures.”
Levinson appealed “to all people concerned about the rights of Soviet Jews to emigrate to apply whatever processes are available to them to alert United States government officials and others to this new and alarming event and to seek their assistance in demanding that these new procedures be terminated.”