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European Committee for the Defense of Soviet Jewry Established

May 22, 1984
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Declaring that “Russia’s Jews have entered a high risk zone,” Jewish community leaders from 10 Western European countries and Israel agreed after a two-day meeting here to establish a “European Committee for the Defense of Soviet Jewry” to counter what they said “all objective factors” show to be a “hardened” Soviet policy toward Russian Jews in recent months.

Claude Kelman, vice president of the Brussels Conference on Soviet Jewry, told a press conference that the Jewish leaders have “definitely rejected a timid approach” and conceded that traditional “so-called humanitarian gestures have lost their efficacy.” The meeting decided to seek a new strategy and adopt new tactical measures.

It reportedly decided to use the forthcoming elections for the Parliament of Europe to obtain definite commitments from the candidates on behalf of the struggle for Soviet Jews. The elections will be held next month in each of the 10 member-states of the European Economic Community (EEC). The Jewish leaders will also call on the International Postal Union to ask the USSR to observe its international agreements by ceasing measures to cut Soviet Jews off from contact with the rest of the world.

The meeting called for the liberation of dissident Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, who are living in internal exile in Gorki and are on a hunger strike. Pressure is being put on President Francois Mitterrand by his own Socialist Party to cancel his upcoming trip to Moscow unless freedom for the Sakharov’s is granted.

The meeting here was attended by France’s Chief Rabbi, Rene Sirat; Greville Janner, head of the Borad of Deputies of British Jews; Israeli Education Minister Zevulun Hammer; Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives; and Theo Klein, president of the Representative Council of Major French Jewish Organizations (CRIF).

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