WASHINGTON (Oct. 16)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D. Conn.) predicted last night that the Soviet Union’s effort to regain the international prestige it lost when it shot down a South Korean airliner may result in improved conditions for Soviet Jewry.
“The Soviet Union’s massacre of KAL 7 and its passengers dealt a heavy blow to the image of the Soviets,” he told the annual meeting of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ).
“At some point even a regime as unfeeling as Yuri Andropov’s is going to try to recoup some lost good will. Keeping the attention of the world focused on the plight of Soviet Jewry is laying the groundwork for such an eventuality. It will make clear to the Kremlin leadership one unmistakable way in which it can make a positive gesture to the world.”
Dodd, who received the UCSJ’s Anatoly Shcharan sky Freedom Award from the organization’s president, Lynn Singer, said there was a need to “redouble our efforts” for Soviet Jews who he said are now facing a “new wave” of officially sponsored anti-Semitism. “We have to unceasingly uncover, publicize and condemn incidents of Soviet mistreatment of its Jewish population and the Soviet refusal to permit voluntary immigration.”
URGES STRENGTHENING OF JACKSON-VANIK AMENDMENT
Dodd said public officials must continue to speak out on the issue and the Administration must bring up the plight of Soviet Jewry at all meetings with the Soviets and at any international forums where human rights is discussed.
He also called for the strengthening of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment which he said was successful in increasing emigration from Hungary and Rumania but not the USSR. He suggested that ways might be made to make trade concessions more favorable to the Soviets so that they would be willing to increase emigration in order to get these benefits.
The 150 to 200 persons from across the country who have been attending the annual three-day meeting which ends tomorrow have participated in workshops and lectures. Singer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a sense of “despair” hit the organization when it learned of the sentencing Friday of losif Begun. Three of Begun’s fellow activists and fellow Hebrew teachers in Moscow, Lev Ulyanovsky, Yuri Shtern and Alexander Shipov, are attending the meeting.
But Singer said she found a “renaissance” of spirit among the people attending the meeting and a desire to work even harder for the cause of Soviet Jewry.