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April 24, 1970 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-04-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Soviet 'Concessions' Fail to Ease Jews' Plight, Mission Reports

NEW YORK (JTA) —A three-
man delegation of the Appeal of
Conscience Foundation has con-
cluded after a 12-day visit to the
Soviet Union that despite "minor
concessions" by the givernment,
"There has been no change for
the better in the situation of the
Soviet Jews as far as their reli-
gious opportunities and cultural
activities are concerned."
They quoted Peter Nlakarstev of
the ministry of cults of the Council
of Nfinisters of the USSR as telling
them that while Jews officially
have the right to emigrate to
Israel, nevertheless "These people
are our people, and we have a re-
sponsibility to try to dissuade them
from making a great mistake."

The delegation, which reported
its findings at a press conference
here Sunday, consisted of Rabbi
Arthur Schneier of Park East
Synagogue, Nev: York, president
M the foundation; the Rev.
Charles M. Whelan, S.J., pro•
fessor of constitutional law at
Fordham University and editor
of the Jesuit weekly "America";
and former Congressman Francis
E. Dorn of Brooklyn, secretary-
treasurer of the foundation and
a Catholic.

The three told of "concessions"
by Makartsev that included allow-
ing the foundation to provide Soviet
Jews with religious artifacts; per-
mitting the "sprucing LID" of the
Nfosco• synagogue; allowing a
Nfuscovite Jewish student to attend
the Budapest Jewish Seminary;
and facilitating the production of
matzo. But Rabbi Schneier recalled
that on the first of the foundation's
four recent Soviet visits, in 1966,
he situation was "very gloomy
from a religious and cultural sur-
vival point of view," which "con-
tinues to be the story today."
Fr. Whelan, who commented that
no group could continue to exist
without the right to religious free-
dom, was nonetheless optimistic
about the future of Soviet Jewry—
"The Jewish community will find
a way to survive." But he called
the existing situation "extremely
serious." especially regarding the
prohibition on rabbinical training.

Soviet Jews are "tense and
badly worried" and "living un-
der constant fear." The delega-
tion concluded that the govern-
ment's anti-Zionist campaign
may lead to a "breakout of active
and perhaps violent anti-Semi-
tism," despite the Kremlin's
"best intentions."

. the "indubitable right" of Soviet
E Jews to emigrate there.
The letter, in response to an
article "To Whose Tune Do the
Zionists Dance?," has been refer-
' red to but not previously made
public. The signers, who detailed
their addresses, were Vitaly Sve-
chinsky, Dora Kolyaditskaya, Mark
Elbaum, Tina Brodetskaya, Lev
I Freidin and Bluma Dislcina.
Their letter, addressed to the
article's authors, stated: "You
write about Israel that it is 'so to
say' the historical motherland of
the Jews. Do you know of any other
historical motherland of the Jews
which is not 'so to say?' Perhaps
you wish to say that the Jews, un-
like other peoples, have no his-
torical motherland, or at least
should not have one . ."
, The writers further challenged
Berenstein and Fridel: "You come
out to speak in the name of the
Jewish population of the Soviet
Union — Are you able to read
Peretz Nlarkish, Leib Kvitko, Itik
Feffer, David Bergelson? Do you
know even one Jewish letter? Are
you proud of the spiritual heritage
of the Bible, the Nfaccabees, Bar
Kochba, Yehuda Halevy, Maimon-
ides, Moses Nlendelssohn, Chaim
Nachman Bialik and Shimon Frug.
If this is not your spiritual heri-
tage, all that remains to you is the
bare field of class struggle."
The letter notes that this "class
struggle" is freely carried on in
Israel by "the only legal Commun-
ist Party in the entire Middle
East," which has representatives
"sitting in the same Knesset which
seems to have provoked you to
' write your article."
The six called on the Izvestia
writers to "understand . . . that
the right to leave any country is
; the lawful right of every person,
' and is nowhere regarded as
'treachery' or 'betrayal' " outside
the Soviet Union. "Do you hear,
Be.renstein and Fridel? What can
you say to that?," the writers ask-
ed.

I

In San Francisco, six Jewish
leaders left the captain's cabin
of the Soviet freighter Ostro-
gozsk when the skipper became
incensed over their attempt to
involve him in the problems of
Soviet Jewry.

Asked to convey their "con-
cern" to Soviet leaders, the cap-
tain angrily exclaimed, "I refuse
to discuss political questions. This
is a merchant ship. Go to the em-
bassy in Washington. Your speech-
es I don't like."
The six visitors were Joel
Brooks, northern California direc-
tor of the American Jewish Con-
gress; Harold Light, chairman of
the Bay Area Council on Soviet
Jewry; Lawrence Goldberg, chair-
man of the Jewish Community Re-
lations Council of San 'Francisco,
Marin and the Peninsula; Roland
Elefant, chairman of the Jewish
Community Relations Council of
Alameda and Contra Costa; Eph-
raim Margolin, president of AJ
, Congress' northern California di-
vision; and Robert Gladnick, AJ
Congress official and area director
for Histadrut, who acted as spokes-
man for the group and spoke to
the captain in Russian.

Rabbi Schneier said the delega-
tion particularly emphasized to
Makartsev the pleas to the UN of
18 Georgian families seeking emi-
gration to Israel, and pointed out
to him "the necessity to imple-
ment" the Kosygin "promise."
One hopeful sign, the delegation
remarked, was that the anti-Jewish
campaign had ironically resulted
in a new "awareness" and "search
for identity." on the part of Soviet
Jewish and non-Jewish youth. But
with the lack of rabbinical train-
ing facilities, the rabbi observed,
"it is not hard to foresee the time
when the Jews of the Soviet Union
will have no spiritual leaders at
all."
The foundation relies on contacts
with religious and political leaders
Goldberg commented later
to ease restrictive policies, rather
that despite the anger of the
than on sponsoring public protests.
skipper, "We are sure that he
Its chairman is Kenneth B. Keat-
got the message." He said the
ing, U.S. ambassador to India and
captain was "understandably
former U.S. senator from New
reluctant to discuss political
York. The board of trustees in-
matters." The Ostrogozhsk was
cludes ex-Postmaster General
only the second Soviet freighter
James A. Farley, Protocol Chief
here in the past 2• years.
Angier Biddle Duke and former
Dr. Jerome Westin, chairman of
Congressman Orrin G. Judd.
the Soviet Jewry Action Group,
The full text of a letter by and 18-year-old Kenneth Schachter
Six Soviet Jews to the Russian were arrested by the Coast Guard
newspaper Izvestia, in response after spraying the freighter from
to an anti-Israel article, was pro- a rowboat with a Mogen David
vided to the Jewish Telegraphic and the statement "Let the Jews
Agency by Sir Barnette Janner, Out!" after the six-man delegation
legisator and communal leader.
was rebuffed by the captain.
The heated, reply scores the
They were charged with mali-
authors, identified as "Berenstein cious mischief and released on
and Fridel," for questioning the their own recognizance. Action
historical status of Israel as a Group pickets marched along the
Jewish homeland, and underlines pier with signs reading "Let Them

22—Friday, April 24, 1970

Be Free," "Russia, Is a Prison for Yevtushenko's famous poem, "Babi
I Jews" and "Let Them Live as Yar," dealing with the Nazi massa-
1 Jews or Leave as Jews." This was cre of Jews in the Ukraine.
The Sephardic synagogue was '
i the group's fourth protest against

packed with the largest crowd it
I visiting Russians.
I The Conference on Soviet Jewry ever held since it was built in
1619,
according to Jewish coin-
' of the New York Jewish Community
; Relations Council placed an ad in munity leaders. The rally was
presided over by Prof. L. Ku-
Sunday's New York Times urging
"the Soviet Pharaoh" to "Let My kenheim, rector of the Univer-
sity of Leiden. It was addressed
People Go" during the current
' Passover season. by Simon Wiesenthal, of Vim-
The
Conference,
which
is
orga-
na,
the archivist of Nazi war
'
nizing a Passover Exodus March crimes; by Sir Barnett Janner,
British
MP- and Dr. Pieter
in New York on Sunday, called for
Koets, deputy mayor of Amster- -
massive participation by syna-
dam.
gogues and community groups

It was announced from the pulpits
of various churches in Holland,
whose patsors urged their congre-
gants to participate.

Michigan, a leader in health
programs, is one of the few states
to have a cancer research center
—the new G. D. Cummings Cancer
Products Development Center lo-
cated at Lansing.

STRIKE IT
RICH!

The gathering unanimously
from the whole metropolitan area."
' The march will begin at the Soviet adopted a resolution urging Soviet
Mission and end up at the United authorities to let Russian Jews
emigrate to Israel if they so de-
:Cations headquarters.
sire and to grant them the same
' The ad referred to the recent
, hunger strike outside the UN by rights enjoyed by other ethnic
Yasha Kazakov; Mrs. Lea S1ovin, minorities in the Soviet Union. The
esolution stressed the pleas of
representing 117 Jerusalem motn- r
ers seeking Soviet emigration Russian Jews to be allowed to re-
rights for their children; Boris unite with their families in Israel

Kochubiyevski, an engineer, quoted and other countries.
The event was sponsored by
as saying, "If I live till my release
(from the Soviet Union), I will four Dutch Jewish congregations
get to the homeland of my ances-
tors, even on foot;" and the 18
Soviet Georgian families who have
appealed directly to UN Secretary
General 1.7 Thant for emigration
aid. The ad declared: "This march
from the Soviet Mission to the
United Nations is the most direct
way of showing that American
Jews care."

Fifteen members of the Jewish
Defense League, including its
leader, Rabbi Meir Kahane, were
arrested Sunday afternoon after
they chained themselves to the
fence in Tat of the Soviiet Mis-
sien to th United Nations: Dem-
onstrating against the treatment
of Jews in he Soviet Union, they
set up a seder table with table-
cloths, matzot, wine and candles
on the sidewalk opposite the
mission headquarters and then
chained themselves to the fence.
Police arrived 10 minutes later
and removed the chains with metal
clippers. Kahane, an Orthodox
rabbi, scuffled briefly with police-
men. The JDL has recently adopted
the plight of Soviet Jewry as its
cause.
Rabbi Kahane and several of his
youthful followers were arrested
two months ago after invading the
offices of Tass, the Soviet news
agency here.
Two college students and three

high school students chained them-
selves to the Soviet Embassy Wed-

nesday to dramatize their plea to
the Kremlin to allow Jewish emi-
gration to Israel.
It took the police 52 minutes to
sever their chains. The Washington

students, age 16-18, were booked
at police headquarters. In addition
to the chaining, they had smeared
on themselves and the embassy
five pints of what they described
as their own blood.

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Declaring that they were
"just young Americans, not revo-
lutionaries," and "representing
only ourselves," the five, all of

them Jewish and one of them

a girl, issued a statement calling
on the Soviet Union to act on
emigration in observance of
Wednesday's occurrence of Len-
in's 100th birthday anniversary
and the first day of Passover.
"Even Pharaoh let the Jews go,"
they asserted.

This was the third group, and
the first with high schoolers' par-
ticipation, to demonstrate in front
of the Soviet Embassy since last
November. The first two were from

Philadelphia and Washington.
Some 4,000 persons gathered in

Amsterdam's 351-year-old Sephar-
dic synagogue Sunday, half of

them non-Jews, to participate in
pre-Passover services and a mass
rally on behalf of Soviet Jewry.
The meeting was followed by a
torchlight parade to Schousburg,
the place where Dutch Jews were
herded by the Nazis for deporta-
tion during World War II.
The assembled throng sang Ha-
tikva, Israel's national anthem,
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS and heard a reading in Dutch of

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