Leader Who Battled Bush on Loans Praises U.S. Record on Soviet Jews

An American Jewish leader who directly challenged the Bush administration on delays in loan guarantees for Israel has high praise for its record in rescuing Jews from the former Soviet Union.

Shoshana Cardin fought the longstanding reluctance of the outgoing administration to grant loan pledges to Israel for resettling immigrants from the former Soviet Union, last week cited the “outstanding role” played by the Bush White House on behalf of their freedom to emigrate.

Cardin who is the outgoing chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, spoke at a reception honoring her upon the completion of her chairmanship of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry.

Among those at the reception, held during the group’s annual leadership assembly, was acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.

Eagleburger praised both Cardin’s leadership and the administration’s record on Soviet Jewry. He said the United States had made a “fundamental” decision to make Soviet treatment of Jews and other minorities “a determining factor in American policy toward the former USSR.”

“The well-being of world Jewry has influenced more than just our policies toward the former Soviet Union,” he said. “It has been a defining element of overall U.S. foreign policy throughout the postwar period.”

Also speaking at the three-day leadership assembly were three diplomats from the Soviet successor states: Andrei Kolosovsky, deputy chief of mission at the Russian Embassy; Ernst Jaakson, Estonian ambassador to Washington and the United Nations; and Victor Batiouk, Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations.

Richard Wexler, taking up the chairmanship of the National Conference, pointed to continued efforts on behalf of Jews in the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union.

“We will work to ensure the security and well-being of all of those Jews who remain in the region, as well as to affirm the right to emigrate of all those who seek to leave for Israel or elsewhere for family reunification,” he said.

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