NEW YORK (Apr. 4)
The anti-Zionist manifesto signed by eight prominent Soviet Jews and published in Pravda last Friday “might presage a period in which the iron gates of the USSR could be padlocked shut against any Jewish exit,” two Soviet Jewry groups warned here today.
According to the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSS J) and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ), the document’s assertion that Russian Jews are “citizens of the USSR, part and parcel of the Soviet people” makes it clear that any Jew who wishes to go to Israel or applies for emigration “can be classified as an enemy of the state and treated as such.”
The two groups pointed out that another article under the byline of Tsezar Soladar, a Jewish journalist, which appeared in the March 9 edition of Litera-turnaya Gazeta, distinguished between capitalists, backers of Premier Menachem Begin and ordinary workers. Both represent “the newest and most frightening aspect yet of the Kremlin’s anti-Semitic campaign,” the groups said.
The anti-Zionist manifesto was signed by Gen. David Dragunsky and law professor Samuel Zivs, both of whom had previously denounced Israel and Jews seeking to leave the Soviet Union. The other signatories were writers Genrikh Gofman and Yuri Kolesnikov; Lenin Prize winner Martin Kabachnik; history professor Gregory Bondarevsky; filmmaker Boris Sheinin; and philosopher Henrikas Zimanos. Dragunsky’s nephew emigrated in 1977.
They called for the establishment of an “Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public” and urged intellectuals, workers and farmers to be active in the “political exposure of Zionism and firmly re-buff its intrigues.”
The SSSJ and UCSJ observed that “the only positive note is a rumor that other prominent Soviet Jews had bravely refused to sign the manifesto.” They noted that there has been no public committee of Soviet Jews since the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was established under Stalin during World War II to gain the support of Western Jews for Russia’s battle against the Nazis. After the war, the group was disbanded and many of its members were later shot.