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The Soviet Union labeled a leader of Soviet Jews seeking emigration as a CIA agent this month, in an attempt to destroy the credibility of Soviet Jewish dissenters, two speakers at a meeting on Soviet Jewish emigration said last night in the Freshman Union.
The March 5 issue of Izvestia accused Anatoly Sharansky of being a CIA agent. Following this, Soviet authorities arrested Sharansky.
The Harvard Radcliffe Committee on Soviet Jewry sponsored the meeting to aid Sharansky and other Soviet Jews denied emigration, Monica S. Rosner '79, committee chairman, said last night.
In his speech, Mark M. Kuchment, a recent emigrant from the Soviet Union, said the Soviet action is "a crude attempt" to destroy Sharansky's credibility.
The Soviets are creating an "atmosphere of pogrom" for Soviet Jews denied emigration, added David Manon, the other speaker.
The labeling of Sharansky as a CIA official exposes him to charges of treason, Manon said. Under Soviet law, treason is punishable by death.
The Soviet government is publishing photographs and phone numbers of the Jewish emigrant leaders to further pressure the leaders and their families, Manon said.
Another harassment is the Soviet Union's current ban on the importation of matzo during Passover, Kuchment added.
Kuchment said the Soviet Union granted him permission to emigrate in 1974 after the Senate passed the Jackson Amendment to the 1974 U.S. Trade Bill. Under the amendment, the granting of "most favored nation" trade status depends upon a country's respect for human rights.
Kuchment's case proves that American pressure on the Soviet government to relax emigration restrictions does work, Manon said.
Kuchment agreed with Manon and discussed the trade-off between detente and human rights.
"I was disgusted that some American businessman would do anything to make a profit out of detente," Kuchment said. He specifically cricitized Donald M. Kendall, president of Pepsi-Cola.
"Kendall said that American businessmen didn't support the Jackson Amendment in 1974," Kuchment said, adding that he owed his freedom to the bill.
Kuchment said, "I just don't buy Pepsi-Cola anymore."
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