Menu JTA Search

On the Eve of the Reagan-gorbachev Summit: U.S. Jews Urge Reagan to Keep His Pledge to Raise Issue O

The American Jewish community is mobilizing rapidly to urge President Reagan to fulfill his pledge to raise the issues of human rights and Soviet Jewry when he meets with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at their preparatory summit in Reykjavik, Iceland Oct. 13-14.

Morris Abram, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, said 100,000 telegrams will flood the White House this week, wishing the President success in his efforts to achieve peace and to strengthen the cause of human rights, including free emigration for Soviet Jews, guaranteed by the USSR as a signatory to the Helsinki Accords.

The same call was issued from thousands of pulpits at Rosh Hashanah services all over the U.S. this past weekend, Abram said. He also told a news conference that there would be a Jewish presence in Reykjavik during the summit, which coincides partly with Yom Kippur. There is no official Jewish community in Iceland.

JEWISH LEADERS TO MEET IN WASHINGTON

Abram, who is chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said representatives of more than 100 Jewish communities across the country will meet in Washington Wednesday for a “national leadership assembly.” They will be briefed at the State Department and will meet with the chairmen of key Senate and House committees to promote a million-signature petition campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry.

Abram was joined at his news conference by Alexander Goldfarb, whose seriously ill father, Dr. David Goldfarb, has been waiting for a Soviet exit visa since 1981.

The elder Goldfarb, a scientist, is a personal friend of Nicholas Daniloff, the American correspondent arrested in Moscow last month for alleged spying and released last week in exchange for a Soviet spy held by U.S. authorities and for prominent Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov.

Alexander Goldfarb said: “While we are gratified that Yuri Orlov, a great human rights activist, was released by the Soviets following the release of Nicholas Daniloff, and while we hope for the release of my father and many other long time refuseniks, I want to make this clear: We are not fighting for individual tokens of goodwill … but for the intrinsic right of human beings to live in the country of their choice.

“When the free world accepts tokens of goodwill instead of demanding the fundamental human right to live where one chooses, it condones a modern from of the slave trade and that is profoundly disappointing and distasteful to us.”

NEXT STORY