WASHINGTON (May. 30)
The United States accused the Soviet Union this week of a government-sponsored “schizophrenic” anti-Semitic policy toward the Jews in the Soviet Union.
“It would appear that the Soviet leadership follows a schizophrenic policy with regard to Jews, on one hand making life miserable for them, and on the other hand not letting them out of the country,” Richard Schifter, the chief U.S. delegate to the six-week conference on the human rights aspects of the Helsinki accord in Ottawa said Tuesday. A copy of his remarks was released to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here today.
Speaking to a plenary session of The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Schifter, who is also the deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations in New York and the U.S. representative to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, said the Soviet signature on Helsinki Final Act pledges the Soviet Union to free emigration.
“There is no doubt that a significant irritant to good international relations would be removed if the Soviet leadership were to decide to relax its present severe limitations on emigration,” he said.
In his speech, which dealt with the discrimination against minorities in the Soviet Union, Schifter said that not only were the estimated some two million Jews in the USSR suffering discrimination, but so were persons of partially Jewish ancestry.
‘CREEPING PROCESS’ OF ANTI-SEMITISM
He said that anti-Semitic policies have increased through a “creeping process” since the Stalin era to where it has now “affected all aspects of governmentally-regulated life.” He said Jews are discriminated against in employment and have been barred or severely restricted from certain departments of government.
Schifter said that because of this “virulent” anti-Semitism “Jews have turned inward, have rediscovered their religion and their culture and, above all, want to leave the country that they believe has made it clear to them that it does not want them.”
But, he noted, “they are hindered in the teaching and practice of their religion, hindered in the study of their culture, with particular obstacles placed in the way of Hebrew teaching, and they are prevented from leaving the country.”