Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz was honored for his efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The American Jewish Historical Society presented Shultz, who served as secretary of state from 1982 to 1988 under President Reagan, its Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award for his diplomatic work during the Soviet Jewry movement. Shultz credited Reagan with sensing that it was possible to free Soviet Jews. “Reagan saw that the USSR was an evil empire, and he saw that its internal failings would ultimately bring about its demise,” Shultz said at Wednesday’s awards banquet in New York. “His vision saw that change was a possibility.” Shultz often was the mediator between Reagan and Soviet leaders during the negotiations that ultimately brought about the release of 1.5 million Jews from behind the Iron Curtain. Negotiations were key, he said, and even when the Soviets “misbehaved,” Shultz and Reagan felt it was important to keep dialogue intact, at least to express their anger. In 1987, Shultz notably shared a seder in the USSR with Soviet refuseniks.
Shultz cited for Soviet Jewry push