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Reagan: Human Rights for Jews and Others in USSR is Highest Priority

March 23, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Reagan has pledged that in all of his Administration’s discussions with the Soviet government “we have no higher priority” than human rights for Soviet Jews and others in the USSR.

“Those who care about the fate of Soviet Jews should know that we are with them today and will be with them tomorrow,” the President said in a statement issued to mark the International Day of Concern for Soviet Jews last week.

The day also marked the seventh anniversary of the arrest of Anatoly Shcharansky. Reagan noted that Shcharansky’s “courage and determination to stand up for” human rights “have earned him the respect and admiration of countless people worldwide. But, he added, the day is not dedicated solely to Shcharansky but “is a day when men and women of good will reflect on all aspects of the situation of Jewry in the USSR.

“That situation has deteriorated over the past year. Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union has fallen to its lowest levels since the late 1960s; officially tolerated anti-Semitism manifesting itself in broadcasts, articles, and the widely publicized formation of an ‘Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public’ has increased; and individual refuseniks continue to be subjected to harassment. All in all, this is a grim picture. But we will not be disheartened.”

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