U.S. Hits Soviet Union’s ‘seriously Flawed’ Human Rights
Menu JTA Search

U.S. Hits Soviet Union’s ‘seriously Flawed’ Human Rights

Download PDF for this date

The Reagan Administration charged today that the Soviet Union and its East European allies continue to have a “seriously flawed” record in human rights.

This assessment was made by the State Department as it released the 19th semiannual report on compliance with the Helsinki Final Act. The report, which covers the period April I to October 1, 1985, was submitted to Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY), chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“Although the record of compliance varies among the Eastern states during the six-month period covered by the report, overall performance remained seriously flawed in the human rights and humanitarian area,” State Department deputy spokesman Charles Redman said.

For Jews, the main area of concern continues to be the Soviet Union where persecution by Soviet authorities continues and only 457 Jews were allowed to emigrate from April 1 to August 31.

“Individual Jewish refuseniks have responded in various ways to official intransigence on emigration,” the report noted. “Some in resignation have currently stopped applying to leave, while other apply as frequently as possible — once every six months.”


The report points out that during the period it covers there was “a continued crackdown on Jewish, primarily refusenik, cultural activists and teachers of Hebrew.” Describing the June trial and “confession” to Zionist and anti-Soviet activities by Moscow Hebrew teacher Dan Shapiro, the report concludes that it “was widely interpreted as a stern warning against assertion of Jewish culture and identity.”

The report outlines the arrest of other Hebrew teachers and said “the number of Hebrew teachers and other Jews imprisoned for political reasons was conservatively estimated at 22 at the end of the current review period.”


During the six months covered there has been “a continuation of past patterns of thinly-veiled and hostile ‘anti-Zionist’ rhetoric,” the report said. “Soviet propaganda maintains that Israeli and Western intelligence agencies encourage emigration in order to obtain state secrets from Soviet citizens.

“It further alleges that ‘Zionists’ collaborated with fascists during World War II to send many innocent Jews to their deaths. These ‘Zionist elements,’ so the argument goes, now comprise the ruling circles of Israel, which have inherited Hitler’s fascist mantle.

“The anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet public, an officially sanctioned group, continues to lead the propaganda against Jewish refuseniks and ‘Zionists.’ A Soviet TV documentary and a new Soviet ‘White Book’ have alleged links between ‘Zionist’ activities and Western intelligence organizations.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund