This bill would release Russia and Moldova from the provisions of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which had placed trade restrictions on the Soviet Union as a punishment for its limitations on Jewish emigration. The bill also imposes new sanctions on individuals in Russia who commit human rights abuses.
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) originally helped draft and lobby for the 1974 amendment to pressure the Soviet Union to allow Jewish emigration, primarily, at Israel’s request, away from the U.S. and to Israel. The flow of Jewish emigration was carefully controlled and channeled toward Israel, where new citizens were populating the occupied Palestinian territories.
After the U.S.S.R. eased restrictions on emigration and Jewish life and improved diplomatic relations with Israel, the NCSJ and CPMAJO led a coalition of 8 Jewish organizations in lobbying to free Russia from the Jackson-Vanik restrictions. Together they sent a letter to members of Congress urging passage of this bill. Reportedly, signatories of the letter included AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America, B’nai B’rith International, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. That letter was seen as key to advancing the legislation.
See also: *H.R. 6156 of 7/19/12
Last major action: 12/6/12 passed in Senate 92–4.