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June 24, 1983 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-06-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

10 Friday, June 24, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

New Russian Tactics Look Ominous for Soviet Jewish Refusniks

(Continued from Page 8)

taken in not paying suffi-
cient attention to ethnic
languages, monuments,
and historical events. This
suggests a strategy of sym-

In another departure
from Brezhnev, Andropov
also stated that the Soviet
government had been mis-

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Precedents exist both for
the formation of a Soviet
committee of prominent
Jews and a Soviet campaign
against Zionism. In 1941,
the Soviet government
created the Jewish anti-
Fascist Committee (JAFC),
composed of leading Jewish
writers and scholars,
primarily to influence pub-
lic opinion in Western coun-
tries toward better relations
with the USSR.
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rallying point for Jewish
ethnic assertion. Its chair-
man, actor Solomon
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bolic gestures to assuage
ethnic demands, such as
giving publicity to a small
Yiddish theater production
or publishing a Yiddish
language book in limited
editions.
Early in 1983, for exam-
ple, it was reported that the
Soviet would publish in
1984 a Russian-Yiddish dic-
tionary, 'which had origi-
nally been promised for
1979. According to another
report, a Yiddish elemen-
tary school primer was pub-
lished in 10,000 copies and a
Yiddish course at the Gorky
Institute of Literature in
Moscow, begun in 1982, was
continuing. These reports
have not been confirmed,
and may turn out to be un-
true.
If accurate, the reports
indicate that Yuri An-
dropov sees Soviet society as
an irreducible whole, and is
reluctant to release any of
its parts. The former KGB
director sees treatment of
one nationality group
closely linked with treat-
ment of the others, espe-
cially those with foreign
connections, and this makes
"bargaining" over Jewish
emigr4ion more difficult.
* * *

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January 1948, and in No-
vember 1948 the JAFC was
disbanded. Like the JAFC,
a new anti-Zionist commit-
tee would seek to influence
Western opinion, but would
aspire to something less
than improving East-West
relations; it would aim
chiefly to cut ties between
Soviet Jews and the world
Jewish community and to
counter Western assertions
of Soviet human rights vio-
lations.
Another precedent was
the Soviet anti-Zionist
campaign of 1969-1971, a
time when emigration
levels were equivalent to
those projected for 1983,
about 1,000-1,300. The
Soviet campaign was a re-
sponse to two developments.
First, news of the Israeli
victory in 1967 created a
wave of pro-Jewish and
pro-Israel sentiment among
Soviet Jews, prompting re-
newed identification with
the Jewish people and re-
quests for emigration to Is-
rael. Second, Jews outside
the USSR began to press the
case of Soviet Jews in inter-
national fora. In November
1969, Israel Prime Minister
Golda Meir appealed to the
UN Subcommission on
Human Rights to act on be-
half of Georgian Jewish
families who had petitioned
to emigrate. This was the
first group that reached
public notice in the West.
Similarly, the first Brussels
Conference raised the issue
of Soviet Jewry before the
international community.
To counteract pressure
for emigration and alle-
gations of human rights
violations, the Soviets
mounted a media cam-
paign against "Zionism,"
that is, Jewish ethnic as-
sertiveness. Jewish
writers, teachers and
workers, many prev-
iously unidentified with
the Jewish community,
were asked to write arti-
cles and to participate in
radio and television
broadcasts and news
conferences in support of
the program. The media
portrayed Israel as a de-
generate and unfeeling
society, and pictured the
Soviet Union as a haven
for Jews and as the coun-
try most solicitous of
Jewish achievement.

gion in the West, a group of
government-appointed
Jewish religious leaders is-
sued a statement denounc-
ing "Zionism's provocative
acts." Soviet Ambassador to
the UN Yakov Malik
criticized "Zionist use" of
the United Nations system,
and Lt. Gen. Dragunsky,
appearing on the "Today"
show, claimed that Soviet
Jews suffered no discrimi-
nation.
Gen. Dragunsky and
Samuil Zivs, a member of
the State and Law Institute
in Moscow, repeated this as-
sertion at the aforemen-
tioned press conference in
Brussels called on the eve of
the first World Conference
on Soviet Jewry, in Feb-
ruary 1971.
The Soviet campaign
against Zionism, to be sure,
complemented other Soviet
efforts to vilify Israel. The
Soviets have used anti-
Zionism to advance their
standing among Arab
states; for instance, the
USSR was the only de-
veloped nation to sponsor
the "Zionism is racism"
resolution in 1975. The
1969-1971 drive, then, was
inspired by foreign policy
concerns as well as concern
for Western public opinion
and Soviet Jewish pressure
to emigrate.
The campaign ended with
a decision to increase sub-
stantially the levels of
Jewish emigration to "let off
steam" domestically, and to
use Jews as a bargaining
chip in trade negotiations.
(Soviet Jewish emigration
levels rose from 1,027 in
1970 to 13,022 in 1971.)

* * *

Campaign Signals
More Repression

Since the April 1 appeal,
the anti-Zionist committee
which has now become the
official Soviet body respon-
sible for enunciating policy
on Soviet Jews, released a
statement in Pravda on
May 18 condemning the
Israel-Lebanon peace
agreement and on June 6
held a press conference at

which the emigration ques-
tion was said to be closed
and at which Zionism was
compared to Nazism.
Because Soviet citizens,
including Jews, are accus-
tomed to dismissing stories
carried in the Soviet media,
it is improbable that the
anti-Zionist committee will
change Jews' minds about
ethnic attachments and
emigration. There is great
concern, however, that
statements by the commit-
tee will legitimize anti-
Jewish feelings in the popu-
lation and intimidate Soviet
Jews. This means that the
challenge facing world
Jewry and the West in this
matter is much greater than
before.
The formulation of an
anti-Zionist committee is
particularly troubling for
those Jews hoping to emi-
grate. Emigration has
dropped precipitously in the
past few years. In 1979, an
average of 4,160 Jews were
allowed to leave each
month; in each of the first
four months of 1983 an av-
erage of 105 Jews were
permitted to emigrate. Fur-
thermore, between 400,000
and 500,000 Soviet Jews
have requested and re-
ceived invitations from Is-
rael, thus completing the
first stage of the emigration
process. Declarations by
leaders of the anti-Zionist
committee that those 'Jews
who wished to leave have
already left the USSR indi-
cate that the hundreds of
thousands of Jews who have
begun the emigration proc-
ess will not be permitted to
emigrate.
The new Soviet campaign
against Zionism aims to
convince the West that
there is no "Jewish prob-
lem" in the USSR. Asser-
tions by the committee's
leaders must be challenged
consistently to deprive the
campaign of success. If this
Soviet effort fails, then per-
haps Soviet leaders will
alter their decision to bar
emigration and moderate
their harsh policy toward
Jewish culture.

Survey Says Most Yordim Are Sabra

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A
survey of yordim, Israelis
who live permanently or
semi-permanently abroad,
has shown that 60 percent of
Western public opinion
them were born in Israel,
also was targeted by the
according to Prof. Aharon
Soviet government in its
Fein of the Hebrew Univer-
propaganda venture. Rec-
sity who based his study on
ognizing the status of reli-
interviews with 8,662 yor-
dim who came to Israel for
brief visits.
Israel Tour
The number of yordim
Focuses on Arts
who were immigrants to Is-
The Israel Ministry of rael but left because they
Tourism and ISRAM tours were unable to adjust suc-
have planned a tour of Is- cessfully, is secondary, Fein
rael this fall, concentrating reported. He said that 28
on the country's dance, percent of the yordim were
music and art.
in the 22-30 age bracket; 24
The tour, which leaves percent were between 31
from New York Oct. 17, will and 34; 26 percent between
be led by Rhoda Gersten, di- 35 and 39; and 22 percent
rector of the Creative Arts over 40.
Therapy Institute of De-
Fein found that 31 per-
nver.
cent of the yordim were
For information on the single and 60 percent mar-
tour, contact ISRAM travel, ried.
630 Third Ave., New York,
According to the survey,
N.Y. 10017.
about 30 percent of those

interviewed said they
planned to return to Israel
within two years; 31 percent
were uncertain that they
would return; and 38 per-
cent said they would not re-
turn within two years.

Jew Elected
Deputy Mayor
of Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG
(JTA) — Eddy Magid has
been elected deputy mayor
of Johannesburg.
Magid served in Israel's
first tank squadron, which
he said consisted of only 20
men and two tanks, both
now mounted as monu-
ments in Tel Aviv. He re-
turned to South Africa in
1950 and started a political
career.
When the area in which
he lived was incorporated
into Greater Johannesburg
in 1969, he was elected to
the city council.

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