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Harvard Prof Predicts There Will Be ‘more and More’ Shcharanskys in the USSR

January 27, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor active in the Soviet Jewry movement and particularly in efforts to free Anatoly Shcharansky, predicted today that there will be “more and more” Shcharanskys in the USSR in the near future,

“The circle is closing on Jews in the Soviet Union,” Dershowitz said at the Union of Council’s for Soviet Jew ‘s fourth biennial Congressional briefing on Soviet Jewry. The meeting was dedicated to Shcharansky.

Dershowitz, who is on the Union of Council’s advisory board, explained that there is increasing discrimination against Jews and increasing anti-Semitism in the USSR. He said that anti-Semitism is one of the Soviets’ major exports to the Third World. Anti-Semitic material is being produced in 20 languages but particularly Arabic, he said.

As discrimination and anti-Semitism increase, more Jews will want to emigrate from the USSR, Dershowitz said. He predicted that they will be refused visas and will thus become more militant and eventually find themselves in conflict with the authorities and face imprisonment as did Shcharansky and other refuseniks.

Mark Azbel, a physicist and author of the autobiographical, “Refusenik, ” said that Soviet emigration figures are a “barometer” for future relations with the U.S. He said the decrease in emigration has in the past signalled Soviet moves such as the invasion of Afghanistan.

This seemed to be confirmed by Raymond Smith of the State Department’s Soviet Desk who noted that the Soviet Union has turned away from contacts with the West at the same time as it has “tightened the screws” on Soviet Jews.


Smith and Paula Dobriansky of the National Security Council said the Reagan Administration is committed to raising the issue of Soviet Jewry in all dealings with the USSR.

R, Spencer Oliver, staff director and general counsel of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that at the Madrid Conference on the Helsinki Agreements, the West has demonstrated that it can match the Soviet Union in waiting out the issue of human rights. He said the U.S. is making it clear to the Soviet Union that when it signs agreements or makes promises on human rights, “We expect them to be kept.”

Lynn Singer, president of the Union of Councils, said that in a brief meeting with Secretary of State George Shultz this morning, he promised continued efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry. He also said his most moving time since taking office was his meeting with Shcharansky’s wife, Avital, according to Singer.

Sen. Charles Percy (R. Ill,), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would personally put some pressure on the Soviets when he meets with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobryin soon. He said that Dobryin told him that when the time was right he would meet with the committee to discuss the issue of Soviet Jewry. Percy said the time is right now in view of the new government in Moscow.

Percy, who met with Shcharansky in Moscow in 1975, said he and other members of Congress who have met with Soviet Jewish activists can never forget those we met. But Rep. Norman Lent (R. N. Y.) who recently visited the Soviet Union with a Congressional group, headed by Tom Lantos (D. Calif.), said the “greatest fear” expressed by the Soviet Jewish activists with whom he met “is that they will be forgotten.”

Lent, who headed the Congressional Vigil on Soviet Jewry last year, received an award of appreciation from the Union of Councils. He and Rep. Timothy Wirth (D. Col.) who heads the vigil this year, said he hoped to increase the number of participants from the 165 now enrolled to all members of Congress.

Rep. John Porter (R. III.) said he and Lantos are sponsoring a move to create a Congressional Human Rights caucus to monitor human rights violations every-where including the Soviet Union. He said individual Congressmen can only do so much.

Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (D. N.Y.) and Charles Grassley (R. Iowa) called on the Administration to do more in aid of Soviet Jews. Grassley said the renewal of agreements with the Soviet Union be tied into the release of prisoners and longtime refuseniks.

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