NEW YORK (Sep. 23)
Some 2,000 persons staged a rally today across from the United Nations urging that the issue of Soviet Jewry and human rights be given “high priority” in discussions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The rally, sponsored by the Coalition to Free Soviet Jews, coincided with an address to the General Assembly by Secretary of State George Shultz and came on the eve of the address at the UN by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
Hebert Kronish, chairman of the Coalition, said, “The situation of Jews in the Soviet Union is becoming increasingly desperate. Soviet Jews who are applying for exit visas are not only being refused, they are being persecuted and imprisoned.”
He said, “Our message to the Soviet Foreign Minister is that we do not intend to relent in our efforts to end the harassment and intimidation of Soviet Jews. We intend to devote our full energies on their behalf, and we will continue to demand that they be delivered from exile.”
Only 29 Jews were permitted to emigrate from the Soviet Union last month, according to figures released by the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration, based in Geneva. This is a sharp drop from the 174 allowed to leave in July. So far in 1985, the Soviets have allowed 704 Jews to leave the country. By contrast, over 50,000 were allowed to leave in 1979.