1972

HIAS

In response to a special request from the U.S. government, HIAS joins with other refugee aid organizations to assist Asians expelled by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. HIAS resettles 117 of these refugees in the U.S.

SOVIET UNION

In August, the Soviet Union levies an exorbitant “diploma tax” on departing Jewish emigrants, supposedly to reimburse the state for the expense of providing higher education.

U.S./WORLD

A National Solidarity Day for Soviet Jews is observed in more than 100 American cities. The American Jewish Congress issues a Briefing Kit for Travelers to the USSR, encouraging American tourists to make contact with refuseniks.

U.S. president Richard M. Nixon visits China as a step toward normalizing relations between the two countries.

In October, the U.S. and the Soviet Union sign a three-year, $750 million grain deal. In response to the Soviet Union’s imposition of the “diploma tax” on Jewish emigrants, U.S. Senator Henry Jackson introduces a bill that links most-favored-nation trade status to human rights and withholds such status should the USSR continue to deny its citizens the right to emigrate freely.

Israeli athletes are murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Olympics in Munich.

STATISTICS

  • Jewish emigrants from the USSR: 31,681
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 453
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 31,652

Looking Back

During U.S. president Richard M. Nixon’s visit to Moscow, Jewish activists are placed under arrest and hundreds of Jews (including people who “look Jewish”) are pulled off trains, planes, and buses bound for Moscow.

In response to vehement protests from the West against the “diploma tax,” Soviet authorities cut off employment to anyone who has applied for exit visas, rendering them “parasites,” and thus liable to prosecution under the law. Jews face harassment in other areas of life as well. Letters of invitation from relatives in Israel (a prerequisite for exit visas) are intercepted and withheld, and telephone contact abroad is restricted. Jewish dissidents are arrested in Moscow, Leningrad, Kyiv, Kharkov, Novosibirsk and Riga. Anti-Jewish riots take place in Dnepropetrovsk.