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Edgar Bronfman, Former World Jewish Congress President, Dead At 84

Edgar Bronfman, the billionaire businessman and former World Jewish Congress president who pressured the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate, has died at the age of 84.

The Bronfman Foundation said the longtime chief executive of his family's Seagram's liquor company died on December 21 at his home in New York.

The foundation said in an obituary that Bronfman achieved a series of diplomatic victories, chief among them agreements with the Soviet Union that led to the "release of Jewish prisoners of conscience and to greater freedom of religious practice and emigration among Russia’s Jewish population.”

The Canadian-born Bronfman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1999 for working "to ensure basic rights for Jews around the world."

With reporting by AP