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January 30, 1987 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-30

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

S

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34

Friday, January 30, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEWS

Shcharansky, Orlov
On Rights Violations

Washington (JTA) — Natan
Shcharansky and Yuri Orlov,
the two leading human rights
activists who were recently
allowed to emigrate from the
Soviet Union, warned Jan. 23
against granting the USSR
trade benefits before there is a
marked increase in emigra-
tion.
"First improvement of emig-
ration, then improvement of
trade," said Orlov, the founder
of the Moscow Helsinki
Monitoring Group. "But not in
reverse order."
Orlov and Shcharansky, who
were released from Soviet
labor camps in apparent ges-
tures to the Reagan adminis-
tration, testified before a com-
mission of inquiry, sponsored
by the Union of Councils for
Soviet Jews on Capitol Hill, to
demonstrate the Soviet
Union's violation of the Hel-
sinki Accords.
They were questioned by
Sens. William Armstrong
(R.-Colo.) and Charles
Grassley (R.-Iowa), former
Sen. Richard Stone (D-Fla.)
and Stuart Eizenstat, the
UCSJ's legal counsel and a
former special assistant to
President Carter.
Orlov
and
Both
Shcharansky said the West
should not be taken in by ges-
tures such as their release.
Shcharansky said there is a
"desire in the West to be de-
ceived" by such gestures be-
cause of the fear of nuclear
war.
Both former Soviet prisoners
said that Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev, while
seeming to placate the West
with gestures such as the re-
lease of some Soviet prisoners
and allowing emigration for
the reunification of families,
balances this with harsher re-
strictions at home.
Shcharansky noted that the
new emigration law which
went into effect Jan. 1 starts by
claiming a free emigration pol-
icy. But then, he noted, it
makes emigration procedures
more restrictive allowing
emigration only for those who
would be reunited with close
relatives, defined as parents,
children or brothers and sis-
ters.
He said that as far as Soviet
Jews are concerned, even if all
30,000 who fit this category
were allowed to leave, it would
be only ten percent of the
380,000 who have earlier re-
ceived invitations from Israel
and have been denied visas.
Shcharansky urged Con-
gress not to continue with
vague calls for increased emig-
ration, which totalled only 914
in 1986, but to set fixed
guidelines. He said if 20,000
Jews were allowed to emigrate
one concession could be made,
if 50,000 left another and if all
who asked to leave were
allowed to go the Jackson-
Vanik Amendment could be
lifted.

Eizenstat said that in 1979

Natan Shcharansky
after 50,000 Jews were allowed
to emigrate he brought Carter
a proposal from then Rep.
Charles Vanik (D.-Ohio), the
co-sponsor of the amendment
that links U.S. trade benefits
for the Soviet Union to in-
creased emigration, to tempo-
rarily lift the restrictions. But
nothing was done because Sen.
Henry Jackson (D-Wash.) and
most Jewish groups were op-
posed, he said.
He noted that the next year
emigration dropped to 21,471
and has fallen yearly ever
since. He wondered whether

Shcharansky
proposed a
carrot-and-stick
approach.

the Carter administration had
made a mistake, but
Shcharansky said he -believes
the large emigration in 1979,
at a time when he was in
prison, was an effort by the
Soviet Union to clean house.
He said at the same time Mos-
cow was restricting new invi-
tations for those who wanted to
leave.
Shcharansky rejected the
charge that the large number
of Soviet emigrants who go to
the United States, instead of
Israel, is the reason for the
drop in emigration. He said
that while as an Israeli citizen
he would like to see more Jews
— from the U.S. as well as the
USSR — go to Israel, the large
number of dropouts is only an
excuse used by Moscow and has
nothing to do with the clamp
down on emigration.
Meanwhile, Lynn Singer, a
former president of the UCSJ,
said that she learned that Lev
Blitshtein, a 56-year-old Mos-
cow refusenik who had been
denied an emigration visa
since 1975, was told he could
leave.
Blitshtein was forced to di-
vorce his wife, Buma, so that
she and their children, Boris
and Galina, could emigrate.
They have lived in the United
States since 1976.
Singer noted that Blitshtein
has over the years been espe-
cially helpful to the families of
Jewish Prisoners of Con-
science.

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