NEW YORK (Jan. 21)
Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Conference on Soviet Jewry, is meeting with Jewish leaders here to discuss the importance of the first United States-based meeting of the international organization scheduled for January 26-28 in Washington, which he will chair.
According to Dulzin, who is also the chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, the meeting is “particularly essential at this critical time in light of the devastating plummet in Jewish emigration from the USSR recorded last year. Only 9,447 Jews were permitted to leave, a minute slice of those yearning to emigrate.”
The sharp decline in Jewish emigration indicates an 82 percent drop from 1979’s emigration peak of nearly 52,000. “It signifies a virtual closing of the gates to Jewish emigration,” Dulzin declared.
He predicted that the current weakened status of the Jewish emigration movement will “unite world Jewry and spark action on behalf of the oppressed Soviet Jewish minority to halt the daily injustices and humiliation it suffers as a result of potent Soviet anti-Semitism.”
SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MEETING IN THE U.S.
Dulzin said he considers the meeting in Washington especially significant in that the United States “holds a unique position in the human rights movement, both historically and at present. It is a country that houses a people and a government deeply concerned with preserving individual and group freedoms.”
Dulzin will oversee discussion and evaluation on top priority issues, including recent developments in the Soviet Union, political responses to the critical situation and international communal efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews. He said he foresees discussion on the organization of an international conference in the near future.
There have been two previous such conferences in Brussels. The first was in February, 1971, and the second was in February, 1976. According to Dulzin, a third Brussels Conference is expected. The Presidium was organized in 1976 following the second World Conference on Soviet Jewry in Brussels, and meets twice a year.