Arab Raises Issue of Jewish Emigration from Russia at U.n.; Opposes It
Menu JTA Search

Arab Raises Issue of Jewish Emigration from Russia at U.n.; Opposes It

Download PDF for this date

The issue of emigration by Soviet Jews to Israel was raised today by an Arab delegate at a meeting of the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The Subcommission is considering the issue of the right of the individual to leave any country, including his own, and his right to return to his country.

The Arab delegate was Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Ghani of the United Arab Republic who said that the right to leave one’s country should be recognized by the state as an individual right and not as the right of “collectivities.” He argued that mass emigration would bring about serious dislocations in the affected countries.

He cited the “appeals” to the Jews living in the Soviet Union and other countries of the world to emigrate to Israel. He argued that such emigration would also tend to perpetuate “the present state of things in Palestine.” On the other hand, he said, there was no impediment to recognition of the collective right of people to return to their country as this was “a normal movement.”

V.I. Sapozhnikov of the Soviet Union objected to plans of the rapporteur of the Subcommission to use material received from non-governmental organizations and individuals. He said that, for the “sake of objectivity, ” only material received from governments should be used. He argued that, on the whole, the non-governmental organizations having consultative status with the United Nations, did not represent “in a balanced way” the various parts of the world.

The representative of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Maurice Perlzweig, referred to the argument put forward in the discussion that the special rapporteur should not concern himself with the right to travel but with discrimination in recognition of this right. He pointed out that in certain countries general restrictions could not strictly be construed as discriminatory. Nevertheless they affected large numbers of people who wished to leave those countries. Incidentally, he noted, this was one of the reasons why the material made available by non-governmental organizations could be useful.

Mr. Perlzweig continued that the right to leave a country could not be recognized only in the case of individuals, to the exclusion of groups. Such an interpretation, he said, as advocated by Mr. Abdel-Ghani, would amount to re-defining this right as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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