Sakharov’s on Warns Emigration from USSR Must Not Be Solely Jewish Issue
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Sakharov’s on Warns Emigration from USSR Must Not Be Solely Jewish Issue

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Andrei Semyonov, stepson of Soviet dissident and Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov, told the American Jewish Committee at its recent annual meeting that American Jews must support the right of people everywhere to freely emigrate.

Semyonov told the 400 people present that he and his stepfather are concerned about reports of a campaign in Israel to deny help to Soviet emigres who do not wish to go to Israel. The criticized further attempts to separate the issue of Soviet Jewish emigration from the human rights movement.

“We will never achieve truly free emigration from the USSR for the Jews, “Semyonov said, “if we do not press for everyone’s right to emigrate, if we do not insure the adoption and enforcement of laws guaranteeing this right to everyone.” Semyonov immigrated to the U.S. a few years ago and is currently a student at Brandeis University.


He stressed that any attempts to make emigration a specifically Jewish issue will hurt Jews trying to leave the Soviet Union, not to mention those who choose to remain. “Any other approach to the Jewish problem in the USSR such as an attempt to consider the right to emigrate as an exclusively Jewish right will lead, and is already leading, to the increase of anti-Semitism, “he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Sakharov has been placed under strict confinement in the Soviet Union. the only people Sakharov is allowed to talk with are “my mother and grandmother, his mother-in-law. My mother has been warned many times that the some kind of restrictions as in the case of Dr. Sakharov could be applied to her. If that happens, they will actually be totally cut off from the rest of the world. “Defending Sakharov, Semyonov added, “means to be defending all persecuted people in the Soviet Union.”

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