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The number of Jews in the scientific field has also been declining sharply. In 1958, over 10% of Soviet scientific workers were Jewish ; in 1966 the figure had dropped to 8%.
The quota system at universities, the key to advancement in Soviet society, operates, according to one study, “to the particularly severe disadvantage of the Jewish population.” In 1935, Jews represented 13% of all university students, but by 1970 they comprised only 2.5%.
Q. How have Jews reacted to this policy?
A. Despite hostile pressures, there are ever-increasing expressions of courageous Jewish identification.
In 1969, Jews from all over the USSR began to assert their self-expression by petitioning leading governmental and Communist authorities, as well as the United Nations. They demanded freedom to go to Israel where they can live as Jews.
Tens of thousands of young Soviet Jews, who know little Yiddish or Hebrew, have gathered to sing and to dance outside synagogues in various cities. Initially held on Simchat Torah, this practice has spread to other festivals including the Sabbath.
In the western areas, under Soviet control only since World War II, the determination of those with traces of Jewish backgrounds to remain Jewish is clearly evident. Hebrew is being taught; informal study groups are being conducted; Jewish and Hebrew texts are circulated and/or reproduced by hand.
According to the 1970 census, nearly 380,700 Soviet Jews officially regard Yiddish as their "mother tongue". Thousands of others consider it a "second language”, not listed on census tracts. The Soviet authorities speak of the lack of interest in Yiddish, but despite this, thousands of Soviet Jews have jammed the halls for the rare Yiddish concert occasionally permitted.
In the earlier protest period, individual Jews, such as Boris Kochubiyevsky, have publicly protested, usually on pain of imprisonment. Since then many thousands of Jews have publicly demanded to be allowed to emigrate, despite harrassment and pressures at school and at places of work.
Groups of Jews, from many Republics, have staged sit-ins at local Party Headquarters, and have even demanded to be received by the Central Committee in Moscow in order to have their demands heard, notably the right
to live as Jews in Israel. Q. What has been the Soviet response to Jewish activism ?
A. Not only was a major propaganda effort launched in the USSR, and in the West, but the Soviets have tried to crack down, while avoiding the most extreme of Stalinist practices. In 1970 and through mid-1971 trials were staged in Riga, Kishinev and Leningrad at which the incriminating evidence included collections of Bialik's poems, Hebrew literature, and similar “illegal” material.
In December, 1970, the Soviet government brought nine Jews and two nonJews to trial for allegedly plotting to hijack a plane in order to flee the country. Hoping to break the back of the Leningrad activist group, and to exploit the world-wide anti-hijacking sentiment existing at that time, the authorities imposed death sentences—which were later commuted-on some of the "conspirators.” Today these and other “political/religious" prisoners of conscience are languishing in "strict regime” prison camps, where they are required to do hard labor on semi-starvation rations.
Q. Can anything be done to change Soviet policy?
A. The voices of concern have been growing. Thousands of human rights advocates throughout the world, including eminent Soviet scientists, have protested, despite Soviet denials of anti-Semitism.
Major Communist and Socialist parties, including those in France, Holland, Austria, Britain, the United States and Australia, have publicly reflected their concern as has the Council of Europe, the United States Government and the Socialist International. The American Jewish community and others have demonstrated a determination to continue to expose the pattern of discrimination against Soviet Jewry until Soviet policy is reversed.
In 1964, the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry was organized. Other groups interested in advancing the cause of human rights for Soviet Jews have been formed in the United States, Europe, Israel and Latin America. In February 1971, many groups met in Brussels, at the World Conference of Jewish Communities on Soviet Jewry, where the delegates declared :
Profoundly concerned for their fate and future, we denounce the policy pursued by the government of the Soviet Union of suppressing the historic Jewish cultural and religious heritage. This constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights which the Soviet Constitution pledges to uphold. . . . To cut them off from the rest of the Jewish people, as the Soviet authorities are
attempting to do, is a crime against humanity. Q. Have protests and interventions been helpful?
A. There is evidence to indicate that the Soviet officials are increasingly concerned about the unfavorable impressions circulating abroad. For example, they sent representatives to Brussels to hold a "counter-conference" and in 1971 various apologists, including Colonel General David Dragunsky, went to the United States and to South America.
When public protests became world-wide, the Soviet government launched a major public relations campaign and made new promises and minor concesssions. (A major concession was the commuting of the death sentences for those convicted in the first Leningrad trial, in December 1970.) After the Brussels conference, the Soviet government also quietly increased the number of Jews allowed to emigrate to Israel.
Articles on Soviet Jewry by NOVOSTI Press Agency and in publications such as Soviet Life, aimed almost exclusively for foreign consumption, appear more frequently. Other examples are:
Official condemnation in 1964 of Kichko's book; and in 1970 of Shevtsov's books;
A lifting of the ban on matzoh;
The publication of the Yiddish literary journal, Sovietish Heimland. This tokenism however still fails to provide the basic cultural and religious instrumentalities essential for Jewish survival, nor does it answer the demands of those Jews who no longer believe that Jewish life in the Soviet Union is possible and wish to emigrate to Israel. However, it does give hope that ultimately the Soviet government will act on the demands of a world-wide enlightened and outraged public opinion.
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
(Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the Constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
1. Everyone has the right of freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his poverty.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. 2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.