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Sharansky: US Was Willing to Fight for Shared Vales

Sharansky: In Soviet Russia I sought comfort in knowing that the U.S. was willing to exert power in defending our shared vales.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/6/2012, 7:19 PM

Chairman of the Jewish Agency and former refusnik, Natan Sharansky appeared in a timely video released by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on March 5, in which he recounted a personal anecdote of seeking comfort in understanding that America not only shared his ideals and beliefs in fighting against totalitarian regimes, but was willing to exert force in fighting for these values.

“I spend nine years in Soviet prison as the one who was fighting for the right of Soviet Jews to go to Israel and for the human rights of the Soviet Union,” Sharansky began to recount.

“There was the one day when we forgot about precautions and, like crazy, we were sending to one another messages by Morse code or talking through toilets.  It was the one day when we read in Soviet newspaper Pravada the article against President Reagan, who dared to call the Soviet Union an evil empire. We believed that was the turning point when we finally believed our cause will win.”

“Soon after I was released I went to America and there I met with President Reagan, and when I told him about the great day in prison, when we heard about his speech, he looked happy as a little boy; he almost jumped.  He said to the others, ‘Come here, listen to what this man says’ and asked me to repeat the story.  I understood that he probably suffered a lot for that speech, and it was very important for him to hear how it was accepted behind the Iron Curtain,” he continued. 

“As some moments, when you feel yourself so lonely, that under the totalitarian regime fighting for human rights, that look all the world is against you. Where… what is your hope for?,” he asked.

“And you that that you are not lonely because there is the one country, the United States of America, who firmly believes in those principles for which you are fighting. And they not only believe," he continued, but "they put their power where the belief is. And that’s why it helped us a lot not to feel lonely in this struggle.”