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January 24, 1975 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-01-24

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Quiet Jewish Dissident Dissects Soviet Society

Editor's Note: Dr. Peter Martin, reviewer of "To Defend
These Rights" by Valery Chalidze is a leader in the nation's
practicing and teaching fields of psychiatry, and is actively
interested in securing succor, for oppressed Russian Jewry.
He and Mrs. Martin have recently assisted in providing a
haven for a Russian Jewish academician's family and they
have enabled them to utilize their visas for settlement in
this country after a brief stay in Italy.


"To Defend These Rights,"
published by Random House,
is an important book. It pre-
sents a sharply etched pic-
ture of current conditions in
the USSR. It accomplishes
this important task through
a focus on how individual
rights and freedom are in-
fringed upon or destroyed by
the government.
For those who value the
dignity of man, it is a terrify-
ing book. It is terrifying be-
cause the handwriting is on
the wall: Mankind includes
within its midst a type • of
man who justifies his inhu-
manity to those who do not
agree with him by the insen-
sitive rationalization that the
end justifies the means.
Always, there are men who
seek power over others, who
enjoy power over others and
who are corrupted by power
over others. No set of laws,
no matter how democratic
they be, are immune from
disregard by fanatics in pow-
The above is the message
which the book held for me.
It is not the mesage which
Valery Chalidze wishes to
convey. His book, written in
a calm, juridical style, pre-
sents some proposals to the
Soviet Government whereby
they could reinstate democ-
racy through changes in So-
viet judicial procedures.
Chalidze does not want to
overthrow Communism. He
does not want to overthrow
the Communist party. He
wants them to become civili-
zed, and believes that this
is possible.
Unfortunately, in his quiet,
low key, ironic manner, he
paints such a devastating
picture of the irrational fa-
naticism of those in control
of the people, that he defeats
this purpose.
The reality is devastating;
the proposals, wishful think-
ing. For example, he shows
that any agreement which
the Soviets make, is based
on what is best for them at
the moment. If events make
a different course advisable,
they break the agreement.
To quote the book: "The
exaction of huge fees for ed-
ucation from those Jews who
are emigrating to Israel has
been temporarily halted, but
an oral promise to suspend
a law is no basis for regard-
ing that law as abrogated."
Among innumerable exam-
ples of Soviet manipulation
to accomplish its ends, is that

although the right of assem-
bly is guaranteed by the Con-
stitution, in practice an as-
sembly or meeting can be
held only if it is organized
by associations or authorities
recognized by the state.
Another message which
this book transmits to me,
though again, not intended
by its author is that man-
kind includes within its
midst masses of people who
submit meekly to the depri-
vation of their rights. They
wish to be led and submit to
the power hungry type.
It takes both types to per-
petuate for 50 years the loss
of human rights with which
this .bdok deals: loss of free-
dom of expression, freedom
of movement and emigra-
tion, freedom of religious be-
lief, the right to preserve
ethnic cultures, and decent
treatment of prisoners.
Chalidze does not see this
lumpishness in the Soviet
masses. He sees hope in the
Soviet citizens' developing
awareness and assertion 01
their rights and in the re-
gime's grudging but progres-
sive liberalization.
Soviet masses now have a
somewhat better access to
ideas and information from
abroad. The codification of
law and the observance of
legal procedure have advanc-
ed. But the possibility of a
reversal of policy by the re-
gime in power is ever pres-
Fortunately for mankind,
there is a third type of man
— the Valery Chalidze type.
Chalidze was born in Moscow
and has been a passionately
concerned participant in the
Soviet human rights move-
ment. He knows the every-
day problems of the Soviet
A physicist and self taught
lawyer, he was a co-founder
of the Moscow Human Rights
Committee, as well as editor
of the samizdot journal, So-
cial Problems. In 1972 when
he came to the United
States to lecture at George-
town University, he was de-
prived of his citizenship and
refused re-entry into Russia.
This was his punishment for
his active defense of human
rights and civil liberties.
Although the first part of
the book is difficult to read
through, it is well worth the
effort. Chalidze writes well
and with a delightful low
key, ironic sense of humor.
For example, the author in
describing how the Soviet
state takes care to make sure
that citizens absorb and dis-
seminate only "correct" in-
formation states: "At pres-
ent a person is not usually
persecuted for saying some-
thing incorrect by mistake—
provided, of course, that he
does not insist on keeping
the same opinion after his
mistake has been explained
to him.
One of the criteria which
I use in judging a book is
whether I feel that I would
like to know the author per-

sonally. 'When I finished re-
reading this book, I felt that
I would like to know Chalidze
personally not only because
he would be interesting to
know but also because he is
a nice person.
He is not the flaming rev-
olutionary with the dedica-
tion to the cause that excuses
murdering other people. His
is a calm, stubborn insis-
tence on democratic process
that follows law and order.
He does not advocate right-
ing a wrong with a wrong of
one's own.
I admire his restraint. I
hope he is right in believing
that dissent expressed in re-
strained, precise language
can have power in the long
run to overcome the cruelty
within man. May the Jewish
people live as long as it
In psychiatry there is a
clinical entity called Folie
'a deux. In this entity, one
mate of a couple is grossly
psychotic, with wild halluci-
nations and delusions. In or-
der to get along with the
stronger, fanatical partner,
tne other mate must adopt
all of the delusions as her
own or else antagonize the
sick one. This is the impres-
sion one gets of the current
situation in the, Soviet Union.
The psychotic, powerful
party demands complete ac-
ceptance of its dictates. The
weaker party (the masses)
must mouth the same ideas
or suffer the consequences.
This is what was so fright-
ening to me in this book.
Can the voice of reason pene-
trate the blackness of the de-
lusional system? Even with
help, it is a difficult task.
Will the help tome in the
USSR from the voice of
Chalidze and others like him
in the Russian democratic
This brings us to the sec-
tion in this book on the rights
of persons declared mentally
ill. The Soviet government
has developed a technique of
ridding themselves of those
who express dissent by de-
claring them mentally ill and
committing them to a mental
It certainly makes a farce
of human rights, when a gov-
ernment uses hospitalization
in a mental institution as an
instrument to limit the right
to new ideas by denigrating,
original or unorthodox scien-
tific, social, political, and
philosophical ideas through
juridical determination of
their authors as mentally ill
or incapable of mental crea-
I am in agreement with
Chalidze that the belief of
people, especially psychia-
trists, that there exists some-
thing resembling a proper
"norm" for man, is alto-
gether unjustified and
fraught with the danger of
its being used for discrimina-
tion. The danger is especially
great in a country like the
Soviet Union where the au-
thorities try to educate the
inhabitants according to a
single standard.
B'ut do not think this can-
not happen in America. Dur-
ing World War II, the poet
Ezra Pound was hospitalized
as mentally ill, a case which
had many aspects of a poli-
tical imprisonment.
Chalidze uses the history of

the Jews leaving Russia for
Israel as evidence of the pos-
sibility for change in Soviet
policy. He felt gratified that
the persistence of the Jews
who want to emigrate and
the support of foreign public
opinion have prompted the
Soviet authorities to take a
comparatively realistic posi-
tion, and to permit Jewish
emigration on a scale one
could scarcely have hoped
for at the outset.
The Jewish emigrants were
the first large group in the
history of USSR to break the
50-year-old barrier.
However, the problem cer-
tainly cannot be regarded as
solved. Jewish scientists and
technical specialists among
others with no accountable
reason still encounter serious
The late December issue
of Soviet Jewry Action News-
letter reports that internal
anti-Jewish harassment and
reports of difficulties in ab-
sorbtion in Israel and else-
where have taken a toll. As
of late December, 16,537 So-
viet Jews • reached Israel
during 1974 compared to 32,-
500 for 1973.
In conclusion, I would
stress that this outstanding
painting of daily living in
the USSR that is so frighten.
ing to one who craves free-
dom and individual rights,
looks attractive to newly de-
veloping countries w h o s e
_people would be so easy to
Also, even with our Ameri-
can Constitution, written to
protect individual rights, fa-
natical leaders can ignore
these rights if we are lump-
ish and do not fight to defend
these rights.

22—Friday, January 24, 1975
Choice of Faisal
as 'Man of Year'

NEW YORK — Following
Time magazine's selection
of Saudi Arabia's King Faisal
as man of the year, the Jop-
lin i(Missouri) Globe scored
the choice as giving "a mea-
sure of misplaced esteem to
a •man who has displayed a
rather callous contempt for
the havoc being inflicted on
the world economy today by
extortionist oil prices."
"If a popularity election
were held today in the U. S.,
or throughout Western civili-
zation for that matter, Faisal
wouldn't be among the top
vote-getters. And he won't be
until he and the oil cartel ac-
cept the responsibility to
others that goes with power."

It's Nice
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David Rockefeller
Seeks Arab Funds

Chase Manhattan Bank Chair-
man David Rockefeller ar-
rived in Jerusalem to inves-
tigate possibilities for in-
creasing the bank's activities
in Arab countries.
In Israel he was scheduled
to meet Premier Yitzhak
Rabin, Finance Minister Ye-
hoshua Rabinowitz, and Bank
of Israel governor Moshe
Zanbar. He was also to tour
Jerusalem as a guest of
Mayor -Teddy Kollek.
Although the Chase Man-
hattan has been negotiating
to open a branch in Cairo,
'Rockefeller told newsmen his
bank had no plans to open a
branch in Jerusalem, too.
Rockfeller rejected Israeli
requests for $150 million in
long term loans and the bank
branch request.
Israeli sources believe that
Chase Manhattan's interest in
Arab projects caused Rocke-
feller to deny the requests.

Technion Honors
U.S. Professor-



as a gift

MIMI' 11E1E1

1MM 111=111 'SWIM

To: The Jewish News


HAIFA—Prof. Jacob Wolfo- !
witz of the University of Illi-
nois has been 'awarded an
honorary degree of Doctor. of
Science by the Technion-Is-
rael Institute of Technology.
He was honored for con-
tributions to the fields of
probability theory, informa-
tion theory, and mathemati-
cal statistics and for his long-
standing relationship with the

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