NCSEJ Mourns the Death of Former Secretary of State George Schultz

Mark B. Levin

WASHINGTON D.C. February 8, 2021  

NCSEJ Chairman Jim Schiller and CEO Mark Levin on behalf of the entire NCSEJ leadership mourn the death of former Secretary of State George Schultz, a great statesman and advocate on behalf of Soviet Jewry. As Secretary of State during the Reagan administration, he repeatedly pressed the leaders of the Soviet Union for the freedom of Soviet Jews and played a crucial role in bringing about freedom for millions.

NCSEJ worked closely with Secretary Schultz from the beginning of his appointment as Secretary of State.

Former NCSEJ Chairman Ed Robin, then an officer of the organization,  remembers the first meeting of Jewish community leaders with Schultz.

"In June 1983, I was privileged to be included in Secretary Shultz’s first meeting with Jewish community leaders after his becoming Secretary; it was on the issue of Soviet Jewry.  During the meeting, we learned that not only was the Secretary sympathetic to Soviet Jews but that he believed their cause should be an integral part of US policy toward the Soviets.  This was a change for us from supplicant to full partner.  From then on, our cause had the full support of the State Department and U.S. policymakers.  He also developed a close relationship with NCSEJ Chairman Morris Abram, which enhanced our connection to him immeasurably."

CEO Mark Levin said. "I had the honor of working with Secretary Schultz for six and a half years. He always remembered that this was a movement about freeing human beings and he understood what the cost was to them as they were harassed, intimidated, or imprisoned.  He was committed to ensuring the right of Jews to freely leave the USSR, and laid the groundwork for the eventual exit of hundreds of thousands of Jews to make aliyah or emigrate elsewhere. He was a seminal figure in Jewish history and his contributions will be remembered."

In 1986 NCSEJ and ADL presented a joint publication.  "A Uniquely Jewish List: The Refuseniks of Russia" to Secretary Schultz on the eve of his meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

In a dramatic show of support for the Soviet Jewry movement,  Secretary Schultz made a pledge during a Passover Seder held on April 13, 1987, at  U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock's residence, Spaso House in Moscow, attended by sixty Refuseniks. He said,

"You can be sure  that we will continue to struggle on your behalf to talk {about the issue} on every occasion when we meet the Soviets on whatever topic is supposed to be our topic"

"You are on our minds. You are in our hearts. We think about you, we pray for you, we are with you."  
1120 20th Street NW, Ste. 300N Washington, DC 20036-3413
Telephone: +1 202 898 2500  |
Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.