2010-01-13 / World News

Micah Naftalin, 76, Soviet Jewry activist

Micah Naftalin, a leader in human rights activism on behalf of Soviet Jews, has died. Naftalin, 76, the national director of UCSJ, an independent grassroots human rights organization operating across the former Soviet Union, died in Washington, DC.

Under Naftalin’s leadership, UCSJ monitoring became the principal source of primary data on religious discrimination and, especially, antisemitic and xenophobic hate crimes and propaganda across the countries of the former Soviet Union, with special emphasis on Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In 2007, he initiated, with cooperation from the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Coalition Against Hate, an unprecedented consortium of 30 religious freedom and human rights NGOs from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, pledged to provide cooperative activism and monitoring of hate crimes.

In 1982, he was appointed Deputy Director and, later, Acting Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, where he served for five years. (JTA)

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