GENEVA (Nov. 14)
Two Soviet officials, Justice Minister Alexander Soukharev and Samouil Zivce, a specialist on human rights, who is Jewish, held a press conference here yesterday just a week in advance of the summit meeting between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan.
The gathering at the salon of the United Nations Press Association was clearly a public relations event aimed at the Western media. No Soviet journalists were present.
The two emissaries from Moscow stressed the overriding importance of peace between the superpowers. In that context they contended that human rights issues should not be raised at the summit because it would only divert Reagan and Gorbachev from the subject of war or peace.
DISMISS SOVIET ANTI-SEMITIC PROPAGANDA
Prof. Zivce acknowledged that he was of Jewish origin “but I am not a practicing Jew.” When the Jewish Telegraphic Agency asked how he could tolerate the anti-Semitic propaganda in the Soviet press, he replied, “You do not read our press, you just hear false propaganda.”
Many reporters pressed him on the condition of Soviet Jews and their desire to emigrate. He said many thousands of Jews have left the USSR. He admitted that several thousand still want to emigrate but cannot be granted exit visas because they held, or still hold, key positions which make them privy to state secrets.
Zivce maintained that many Jews who have emigrated now wish they hadn’t. He said “I met several thousand Jews who left our country and live miserably in Vienna, Brooklyn and Brighton Beach (in Brooklyn). I can assure you there is nothing to envy them for. They have a terrible existence and want to return to the Soviet Union.”
‘WE ARE ANTI-ZIONIST’
Zivce, who is vice president of the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet People, insisted there was no Jewish problem in the USSR and no anti-Semitism. “The Jews are only 0.69 percent of our population so how can there be a Jewish problem?” he asked.
He recited a list of Jews who hold high positions in the Soviet Union or who have been recipients of prizes. He maintained that what the West calls anti-Semitism is in fact anti-Zionism. “We are anti-Zionist concerning the Middle East,” he said.
Soukharev declared his country is eager to reestablish diplomatic relations with Israel, and contacts on that subject are continuing. He noted that the Soviet Union had “helped in the creation of the Jewish State” in 1948.