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June 16, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-16

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

The Added Touch's
SUMMER SALE

The Added Touch along with
W.M. Fraser's, a leader in stain-
less steel flatware and holloware,
are reducing its prices on New
York and Aspen styled flatware,
and 24K GOLD accented holloware
over 40% from national retail prices.

Jewish Groups Cautiously OK
Easing Of Soviet nade Ban

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The Aspen and New York styled,
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for eight plus an additional 5 piece
server set at NO additional cost. These
2 styles RETAIL AT S170.00, but are now at

The National Conference of Soviet Jewry this week
recommended waiving the Jackson-Vanik law if certain Soviet
assurances are met.

New York

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BACKGROUND

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JAMES DAVID BESSER

W,M,Fraser's Holloware

Washington Correspondent

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36

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 1989



ashington — The
simmering issue of
a possible waiver of
Jackson-Vanik limits on trade
with the Soviet Union came
to a boil this week, with ac-
tion on a number of fronts
here.
Most significantly, after two
days of heated debate, the
board of governors of the Na-
tional Conference on Soviet
Jewry recommended that the
15-year-old Jackson-Vanik
law be waived for one year —
`if' President Bush received
"appropriate" assurances
from the Soviets on four
priority issues.
Those issues are: sustaining
high levels of emigration; eas-
ing restraints on Soviet Jews
said to have knowledge of
state secrets; resolving the
"poor relatives" problem,
where family members object
to being abandoned financial-
ly by relatives desiring to
emigrate; and increasing the
emigration rate of long-term
refuseniks.
The decision, which mark-
ed the first time the Soviet
Jewry movement in the
United States has supported
any relaxation of the Jackson-
Vanik restrictions, seemed to
please most of the 47 national
NCSJ member organizations
and the more than 300 local
groups concerned with the
Soviet Jewry who attended
the long-awaited board of
governors meeting.
The vote was overwhelm-
ing, with only the Student
Struggle for Soviet Jewry and
two community federations
dissenting.
The NCSJ statement
acknowledged the "imp-
rovements in Jewish emigra-
tion from the USSR and the
environment in which such
emigration is taking place."
At the same time, it warned
of the instability of the cur-
rent situation in the Soviet
Union. "The USSR today is
suspended between the op-
pression of its past and the
promise of its future," the
group said.
At a news conference an-
nouncing the group's deci-
sion, NCSJ president
Shoshana Cardin of
Baltimore denied that the
organization was simply

repeating the original criteria
laid out in the 1974 Jackson-
Vanik amendment, which
links favorable trade ar-
rangements with the Soviet
Union to improvements in
that country's human rights
performance.
"What we're suggesting
now is that when the presi-
dent recognizes that there are
assurances, that he can then
initiate the process towards a
waiver of Jackson-Vanik; we
will support that effort," Car-

Shoshana Cardin:
Not rubber-stamping.

din said in response to a
question.
President Bush said last
month that he was willing to
ban the Jackson-Vanik ban on
normal trade relations if the
Soviets make good on their
promise to codify new emigra-
tion laws and implement
them.
"I think this was a really
positive step," said Steve
Silbiger,
Washington
representative
of the
American Jewish Congress.
The AJ Congress was the first
major Jewish group to call
publicly for a Jackson-Vanik
waiver. "I think the real story
here is the fact that the state-
ment explicitly rejects the use
of codification as a criteria for
supporting a Jackson-Vanik
waiver."
In recent months, some
Soviet Jewry activists have
argued that a waiver should
not be granted until changes
in Soviet emigration behavior
was actually codified in
Soviet law, a goal which has
proven elusive. Other groups,
like the AJ Congress, argued
that Jackson-Vanik simply
called for improvements in ac-
tual performance, not

changes in Soviet law.
While some participants
felt the NCSJ statement may
be too tenuous and cautious
to have any clout, Silbiger
disagreed. "In effect, this
statement told the Soviets
that the United States Jewish
community will not be a bar-
rier to Most Favored Nation
status, given recent im-
provements in emigration
performance," he said. "We're
satisfied that this is a signifi-
cant and positive statement."
Among Soviet Jewry ac-
tivists, there is a widespread
belief that Secretary of State
James Baker has already
received the required
assurances from the Soviets,
and has conveyed this infor-
mation to the president. "So
everything I've seen suggests
that a waiver is just a ques-
tion of time," said one top
Soviet 'Jewry activist here.
`And probably not much time,
given all the pressure
building up."
But this week, Cardin said
that she was aware of no such
assurances.
With Jewish groups now
supporting an easing of the
trade barriers, the pressure
will continue to build in Con-
gress.
Rep. Thomas Downey, (D-
N.Y.), spent part of the week
consulting with Jewish
groups over a proposed resolu-
tion urging President Bush to
issue a waiver. According to
Capitol Hill sources, Downey
was under strong pressure
from Jewish activists to tone
down an early draft of the
bill, which called for an im-
mediate waiver.
And at a NCSJ session for
congressional staffers, the
issue of China's current
troubles was brought into the
Jackson-Vanik debate.
Representatives of hard-line
legislators, including Sen.
Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa),
argued against concessions to
Communist regimes because
of the fragility of change in
those countries.
But supporters of a waiver
rejected that argument, in-
sisting that a Jackson-Vanik
waiver could help reinforce
Soviet leader Gorbachev's
liberalization policies, as well
as provide the incentive for
further improvements in that
country's emigration
policies. 0

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