SAN FRANCISCO (Jul. 18)
Four liberal Democratic Congressmen met for 50 minutes yesterday with Vladimir Lomovisev, the Soviet Deputy Consul General here, to stress to him that Soviet anti-Semitism and the clamp-down in emigration of Jews from the USSR is a “roadblack” to better relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Rep. Barbara Boxer of California, who led the group, said the Soviet official said that its treatment of Soviet Jews was “an internal issue.” Boxer said “the concept they can’t understand is that we are open to discussion.” But she felt the talks were useful because “we are opening the door.”
Boxer was accompanied by Reps. Sander Levin of Michigan, Thomas Foglietta of Pennsylvania and Gerald Kleckza of Wisconsin. While the Congresspeople were inside the Soviet Consulate, some 50 persons demonstrated outside in a rally sponsored by the Bay Area Council of Soviet Jews and the Union of Councils on Soviet Jewry. The demonstrators included some delegates to the Democratic national convention and participants of the Bay Area group’s daily vigil in front of the consulate.
David Waksburg, executive director of the Bay Area group, said Boxer and her fellow Congressmen, in discussing the entire issue of U.S.-Soviet relations, raised the issues of Soviet Jewry, the issue of Andrei Sakharov, increased anti-Semitism and the harassment of Jewish activists, and the interruption of emigration.
The Democrats pointed out that as critics of the Reagan Administration they wanted to see improved relations with the USSR and negotiations for arms control and a verifiable nuclear freeze. They said Soviet violation of human rights was a “roadblack”to improved relations and that by changing this condition it would serve as a “confidence building move toward seeking arms control agreements.”
When Lomovtsev said this was an internal matter and not of concern to foreign governments, Waksburg said the Congresspeople replied that all human rights violations were of international concern. They said they were interested in correcting human rights violations whether they occurred in the U.S. or other countries, including the Soviet Union.