« ÎnapoiContinuați »
Based not upon qualification, but on religious beliefs, and/or nationality, Soviet Jews are restricted from many high-level jobs. Yet discrimination is outlawed by written legal documents.
Cultural rights are also denied Soviet Jews. Howard University Prof. David Korn says that Russia permits no Yiddish Theater, no Hebrew schools.
RESOLUTION 390 SUPPORTED Freedom to emigrate, to practice their religion, to maintain cultural identity, and to acquire jobs based on qualifications without fear of discrimination are four freedoms denied to Soviet Jews. The people of the United States are morally outraged at the denial of these freedoms for their fellow men and women. Enactment of House Concurrent Resolution 390 may help to alleviate this problem. This resolution calls upon the Soviet Government to permit the free expression of ideas and the exercise of religion by all its citizens in accordance with the Soviet constitution. It calls for the American Government to utilize formal and informal contacts with Soviet officials in an effort to secure an end to discrimination. It demands of the Soviet Government that it permit its citizens the right to emigrate, as affirmed by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It calls upon the State Department to raise in the General Assembly of the United Nations the issue of the Soviet Union's transgression of the Declaration of Human Rights. This is a strong and comprehensive resolution which clearly expresses to the Soviet Union and to the world our indignation at the denial of basic freedoms. Reports from the Soviet Union as of late have suggested that the Soviet Government has granted a greater number of exit permits. Perhaps foreign pressure on the Kremlin from France, Canada and other countries has done some good. I believe world opinion can be effective. However, the number of exit permits could be cut at any time; the present number needs to be increased. Let us be loud and clear and persistent.
As part of my testimony I should like to append the following letter which I have sent to Miss Yarger S. Nasriddinova, chairman of the Council of Nationalities, Supreme Soviet :
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
August 26, 1971.
DEAR CHAIRMAN NASRIDDINOVA: The Congress of the United States has repeatedly voiced concern over your country's policy towards its Jews. In light of recent and impending trials of Jews in the U.S.S.R., I, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, feel it necessary to reaffirm my position.
Our statements in the past have been ones of moral outrage. That sense of the Congress and of the country is in no way diminished. I feel very strongly, however, that there are also dispassionate, legal aspects of the problem that it would be appropriate for us to consider together as the legislators of our respective governments. It is with this in mind that I present the following ideas.
As a legislator, I am concerned with the serious effect the issue of Soviet Jewry has had on every aspect of U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations. You are, I am certain, aware of the intensity with which the American people has reacted to the Soviet Jewish question. The feeling against this one policy has inevitably exacerbated more general anti-U.S.S.R. feeling in this country on all levels. In a letter sent to Soviet
Foreign Minister Gromyko in December 1970, Secretary of State William P.
ONE LAWMAKER TO ANOTHER Speaking as one lawmaker to another, I address the issue of this reevaluation from a legal point of view, asking only that you carry out those laws that you have made. I am, in fact, deeply disturbed by what appears to be a very blatant contradiction between the law of the Soviet Union and its practices regarding its Jewish minority. I find such a dichotomy between the written and the executed surprising in view of V. I. Lenin's emphatically stated position that a constitution is fiction when law and reality part. Of course, this dichotomy is, to some degree, a weakness of every nation, not excepting my own. I am certain, too, we agree that both our governments must strive to eradicate such fundamental dichotomies. It is in this spirit that I ask for your consideration on this matter. Let me enumerate four specific areas of concern.
In the area of emigration, the following legal rights seem to hold. The U.S.S.R. voted for Article 13/3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own and to return to his country." The Soviet Union signed the United Nation's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which Article 12/2 states the doctrine that "everyone shall be free to leave any country including his own.” The same right is guaranteed by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; this was ratified by the Supreme Soviet. Not only, in fact, has the Soviet Union signed its name to these documents of international law, but its leaders have reaffirmed them verbally and in writing, to the United Nations and in policy statements. You reported to the United Nations, for example, that unless there was a case of an impending court sentence, jail term, or army service, there were no restrictions against a Soviet citizen emigrating for the purpose of reunification of families. In 1966 in a statement made in Paris, France, and subsequently printed in both Pravda and Izvestia, Premier Kosygin noted that “the door is open and no problem exists here."
I am puzzled by what seems to be evidence to the contrary. Certainly emigration restrictions have eased in the past several months but the openness guaranteed by the laws cited above simply does not appear to be a reality. Countless letters and proclamations have been received at the United Nations, in the United States, and in Israel expressing the desire of Soviet Jews to leave and the barriers preventing them from doing so : "I apply to you in an open letter, because to my repeated applications to the Soviet authorities with the request to permit me to emigrate to my relatives in Israel, I have been receiving refusals, which in accordance with the accepted order, were given orally, by telephone, without any stated reasons for the refusal nor any indication of the identity of the persons who made these decisions" goes a letter by a Russian woman in October 1966, very much characteristic of the scores I have read, that clearly show violations of the laws listed above.
SOVIET RIGHTS LISTED
I am also somewhat puzzled by what seems to be a violation of the legal rights of the Jews in the area of religion. According to information provided by the Soviet Union to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the following laws exist: freedom of worship is protected; twenty people can register and receive privileges of a religious group, including the rental of a building; religious groups are allowed to form a national association; it is permissible to publish letters using government paper and printing; and the government pro
vides religious articles. In 1959, the U.S.S.R. delegation to the United Nations noted that “In the Soviet Union freedom of . . . worship is scrupulously protected and safeguarded by the State as a constitutional right of Soviet citizens ...!” These rights were reaffirmed in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. I am not requesting special treatment; I am again only asking that, in the context of your ideology and legal framework, the religious rights granted by law be extended to the Jews.
According to letters from Jews in the Soviet Union, testimony of those who have emigrated, and accounts by visitors, the Jews are persecuted as a religious group far more severely than are other groups. Jews are not allowed to form a religious association serving as a uniting force both within the U.S.S.R. and with Jews outside the country. The right to religious articles is violated, too, in the case of the Jews, and all visitors to the U.S.S.R. report a real dearth of such articles as Tallisim and tfillin. There has been no Hebrew Bible printed since the Revolution; there is no religious periodical allowed; a small number of calendars have finally been published by synagogues in Moscow and Leningrad; and demands for prayer books have not been satisfied by the limited press runs of 1957 or 1969. The Government has officially noted that none of these privileges is needed any longer as atheism is becoming the dominant national religion. Yet according to observers, very few of these practices died natural deaths, and many were very blatant victims of government pressure. Furthermore, the throngs at Simchat Torah services and the Government's own charges that there is a black market for Jewish religious articles, testify to the demand for religious privileges and to the impression that the U.S.S.R. is, in fact, violating its laws on religion.
Discrimination, and more specifically, antisemitism, are outlawed by several legal provisions. The first decree of the Provisional Government abolished tsarist discrimination against minority groups. In November 1917, Lenin and Stalin signed the Declaration of Rights of Peoples which officially did away with "all national and national-religious privileges and restrictions." Article 123 of the 1936 ('onstitution states that:
Equality of rights of citizens of the U.S.S.R., irrespective of their nationality or race, in all spheres of economic, government, cultural, political, and other public activity is an indefensible law.
Any direct or indirect restrictions of the rights of . . . citizens on account of their race or nationality . . . is punishable by law. In 1962 the U.S.S.R. ratified the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, which says that nations must “abrogate statutory provisions and any administrative practices which involve discrimination in education."
In fact, according to the facts available to us, there appears to be discrimination. Jews are restricted from jobs in many areas of the government, including high-level and security-sensitive positions; the fact that Jews have been phased out of many elite positions was admitted by both Premier Khrushchev (in his "make room for our own intelligentsia” remarks) and Minister Furtseva (in a similar statement). There is also a numerous clausus in education, a fact verified by the following: the drop in Jewish enrollment in unive ities and colleges, a statement by Svetlana Alliluyeva that she knew such restrictions existed, and a 1963 statement printed in Kommunist and Bulletin of Higher Education that "annually planned preferential admissions quotas” were in effect.
RIGHTS TO NATIVE LANGUAGE
Cultural rights are more difficult to view in this legal pattern. In examining the legal aspects of cultural questions, I do, however, find one area in which there appears to be a fairly clear-cut violation. The 1936 Constitution guaranteed in Article 121 the "right of instruction in schools ... in the native language.” In 1959, Russia adopted a statute titled, “Concerning the Strengthening of the Connection of the Schools with Life and the Furthest Developinent of the System of Peoples' Education in the R.S.F.S.R. ;" Article 15 reads, "The education in school will be conducted in the native language of the students; the right is given to parents to decide with what language to register their children." There is a provision for a class in a language if the number of parents requesting it is at least ten. In 1962 the U.S.S.R. signed the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, in which Article 5 stated that nations were “to recognize the right of members of national minorities to carry on their own educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and ... the use of the teaching of their language.
In reality, such an opportunity evidently does not exist for Jews who wish to have schools in Yiddish. Soviet officials note that the Jews are too widely dispersed; yet there are several other widely dispersed groups who do receive the option of education in their own tongue. Officials have also noted that the Jews are so far along on the process of assimilation that there is no demand. I cannot help but be concerned with the fallacies in this kind of reasoning. First of all, if the Jews are assimilating, which some, of course, are, it is partly because they were not given the opportunity to have such institutions to preserve their national identity as Yiddish schools. Furthermore, it is absolutely impossible to believe that there are not ten Jews who want this privilege; it certainly seems that the practice must be strongly and officially frowned on so that parents are afraid to make requests.
In stating these four points, I have tried to present as accurate and concise a picture as possible. I would hope that you respect the sincerity of my concern and, as a lawmaker, appreciate the validity and urgency of my arguments. Again in the interest of friendship between our nations, I urge you to act on my recommendations. Yours sincerely,
MICHAEL J. HARRINGTON.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOSEPH E. KARTH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues. As a cosponsor of two of the key resolutions concerning the suppression of Soviet Jewry, I welcome the opportunity to place my views before this subcommittee. This is an issue of international importance that needs to be directly addressed by concurrent resolution. I urge this Subcommittee on Europe to present to the full Foreign Affairs Committee a resolution such as House Congressional Resolution 391, or House Congressional Resolution 421 for consideration by the House.
In my remarks today I would like to briefly discuss the historical background of Russian antisemitism as an aid to understanding the situation we face today and to directly address myself to five reasons why this Congress must go on record in support of the rights of Soviet Jews.
While I would hardly qualify as an expert on Russian history, I, like many of my colleagues, have found it valuable to research the historical background leading up to the present day. I have found the work done on this subject by Rabbi Eugene Lipman to be a very useful resource in my analysis of this subject. Such a historical background is of great help in placing this issue in the proper perspective.
While Russia came to Christianity rather late in Christian history, events over several centuries resulted in Russia's capital of Moscow becoming a "third Rome." The historical "second Rome" of Constantinople fell to the Moslem Turks in 1453 and with this loss Russia began to think of Moscow as the "third Rome" with the czar thought of as a Pope.
IN CZARIST RUSSIA From an analysis of the history of the czars we see that Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) was the first to issue a decree that forbid entry of Jews into Russia—this policy was continued by Peter the Great (1682– 1725). While this reveals an example of religious exclusivity, religious persecution had not yet entered into the picture since Russia proper was not inhabited by Jews.
The problem, however, became more complex under Catherine the Great with the partition of Poland in 1722. With this she inherited over 200,000 Jews of White Russia. The problem from a religious exclusivity standpoint became even greater for Catherine with the second and third partitions of Poland. Catherine the Great found herself having the largest single concentration of Jews in the world within the boundaries of the country that considered its capital itself the "third Rome." Holy Russia managed to retain its sacred status by the Pale of Settlement which confined the Jew to his areas in Poland.
With its background of religious bigotry it is of little surprise that several different attempts were made to solve the Jewish problem.