WASHINGTON (Jan. 15)
Secretary of State George Shultz is expected to raise the question of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union when he meets Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at the 35-nation European Conference on Disarmament in Stockholm this week, according to the head of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ).
"In recent meetings that I have had with Secretary Shultz, he made very clear that whenever any other issue is discussed with the Soviet Union these issues (of Soviet Jewry) are on the agenda," Morris Abram, the NCSJ’s chairman, said at a press conference here in which the organization presented its report on conditions for Soviet Jews in 1983. Abram said the report would be transmitted to Shultz and President Reagan. At the same time he suggested that leaders of the peace movement bring up the issue in their contacts with people from the Warsaw Pact countries, especially the Soviet Union. He noted that President Kennedy had said that peace is actually "a matter of human rights."
SAYS SOVIET JEWRY PICTURE IS ‘BLEAK’
Abram called the picture of Soviet Jewry "bleak" with 1983 bringing about a "virtual end of emigration." Only 1,315 Jews left the USSR as compared to 2,688 in 1982.
He also noted that the Soviet government intensified its attacks against the survival of Jewish culture, and increased anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities, Jerry Goodman, the NCSJ’s executive director, said that the first year of the government of Yuri Andropov had not changed the trends started under Leonid Brezhnev but had "institutionalized" them.
Abram said he had never met a Soviet Jew in the USSR, Israel or the United States who had not urged that the pressure not be kept up. "They (Soviet Jews) beat on the doors from the inside and the Western world beats on the doors from the outside," he said.
He rejected the view that the Soviet Jews are being held as "prisoners" to the failure of detente. He said the Soviet actions were based on domestic concerns.
Nevertheless, Abram was optimistic that the doors will be opened again if pressure is kept up. "The Soviet Union has very little to gain by a practice that has aroused the indignation of people around the world," he explained.
Abram said that he is hopeful for eventual emigration of Soviet Jewry because the Kremlin has realized that it has failed in its attempts to assimilate the Jews into the "new Soviet man." But he said they will want an as yet to be determined "price."
CITES REASONS FOR REDUCED EMIGRATION
Goodman explained that he believed the Soviet Union originally allowed the Jews to leave to get rid of the trouble makers and to ease pressure within the country. He said they cut back emigration when there seemed to be no end to the number of Jews who felt alienated, suffering from anti-Semitism and wanted out.
In addition, the emigration of Jews was having a serious impact on non-Jews. He said the Soviet Union would have weathered this condition if it had felt it was getting enough from the West in return. But Goodman stressed the main factor in emigration is Soviet domestic policy.