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Decrease in the Number of Soviet Jews Allowed to Leave is Attributed to Anti-semitism

A Canadian Jewish leader, just returned from the Helsinki review conference in Madrid, said the alarming decrease in the number of Jews allowed to leave the Soviet Union is the result of anti-Semitism. “What we are talking about is institutionalized anti-Semitism,” said Irwin Cotler, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Cotler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that only 770 Jews were permitted to leave the USSR in August, 1980 compared to 4000 who left in August, 1979. “Increasing anti-Semitism is responsible for the alarming decrease in the number of Jews allowed to emigrate from the Soviet Union,” he said.

Cotler reported that he had raised this issue at the Madrid gathering with members of various foreign delegations. The Soviet delegation refused to meet with him on an official basis but he had a short, informal conversation with one delegate, Cotler said.

He circulated documented evidence of Soviet anti-Semitism among the various delegations in Madrid. A copy was accepted by Soviet delegated through a third party. It illustrated examples of officially sanctioned anti-Semitism in Soviet television, movies, books, newspapers, aligned nations, Sweden in particular, went on record at the Madrid Conference strongly opposing Soviet violations of human rights.

Cotler, an attorney said he will take up the defense of Viktor Brailovsky, the Soviet Jewish computer scientist who was arrested in Moscow last month. “The dissident issue is a litmus test of detente, Detente must be a two-way street, not a one way ticket to a Siberian prison,” he said.