Let My People Go: The Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89

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Hybrid Publishers, 2015 - History - 273 pages
This story chronicles a largely unknown but important aspect of 20th century Australian political history during the Cold War, when the Communist leadership closed down many Jewish organisations and declared Zionism an ideological enemy. Soviet Jews often suffered hardships, not being allowed to enlist in universities, work in certain professions or participate in government.For three critical decades, 1959-89, Australian Jews and their community leaders were deeply involved in the international Soviet Jewry movement, with distinctive contribution to international affairs by some leading Australians including Bob Hawke, Garfield Barwick and Malcolm Fraser. By any measure, Australia played a role above and beyond what might be expected from a middle-ranking nation with limited international influence.But the lead actor was Isi Leibler, and this is very much also his story. Widely recognised and honoured internationally, his involvement and leadership - his 'magnificent obsession' - with the refuseniks and Soviet Jews, merit a full account.The emigration of over a million Jews to Israel, after an international campaign lasting more than three decades, redefined the notion of human rights. Indeed, Natan Sharansky, the leading 'Prisoner of Zion', claims it as the 20th century's most successful human rights movement.

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About the author (2015)

Sam Lipski is an Australian journalist, born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1938. He earned his BA at the University of Melbourne and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Monash University (2008). He has worked for The Age, The Australian, The Bulletin, The Sydney Morning Herald, and others as a reporter, columnist and a Washington Correspondent. He is the co-author, with Suzanne D, Rutland, of Let My People Go: The Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89. They were joint winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian history.

Suzanne D. Rutland was born in Sydney, in 1946. She is a Jewish Scholar, Writer, and an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney. Her work includes The Edge of the Diaspora: Two Centuries of Jewish Settlement in Australia, and The Jews in Australia. She is the co-author, with Sam Lipski, of Let My People Go: The Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89. They were joint winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian history.

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