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March 05, 1971 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1971-03-05

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

Organizations Differ Over Tactics to Aid Soviet Jews

(Continued from Page 36)

national meeting on the matter
could well lead to increased repres-
sion of Soviet Jews, he said. Asked
to give an example of increased
repression as a result of peaceful
protests to date, Rabbi Gross noted
the recently reported Soviet con-
sideration of a renewal of Jewish
relocation in Birobldjan. He added
that as a result of the late Rabbi
Stephen S.' Wise's call for a boy-
cott of Germany during World War
II, Nazi treatment of European
Jews worsened. Rabbi Gross was
elaborating on a statement he is-
sued in which he asserted that the
Brussels conference was the kind
of project that "will only kindle
the wrath of the Soviet govern-
ment, and whose accomplishments
for Soviet .Jewry are highly dubi-
ous."

Agudat Israel World Organiza-
tion disassociated itself from the
World Conference on Soviet Jewry
although representatives of the
Orthodox group attended the con-
ference as observers. Their posi-
tion was stated in a communica-
tion received by Claude Kelman.
chairman of the conference secre-
tariat. Agudat Israel said it was
acting on the advice of its rabbini-
cal authorities. A number of dele-
gates, mainly from religious
groups, questioned the whole pur-
pose of the conference and some
expressed the view that it could do
more harm than good for Soviet
Jews. A conference spokesman
said the position announced by the
World Agudat Israel was not new
because the group never partici-

pated in the conference at any
stage although it advised the con-
ference that It was sending ob-
servers.

Kahane Terms Conference
Platitudinous; Won't Name
Who Urged His Expalsioa
NEW YORK (JTA)--Rabbi Meir
Kahane, national chairman of the
Jewish Defense League, predicted
that the world conference on Soviet
Jewry, from which he was ousted,
would achieve nothing concrete.
end only "with platitudes" and
assailed those who "argue for dis-
sent in the Soviet Union, but won't
tolerate dissent among their own
people." Arriving at Kennedy Air-
port from London, Feb. 25, the
JDIe leader told newsmen that
Feb. 24 could be marked as "a day
of shame for all Jews," and that
the Jewish leaders presiding at
the conference had committed "an
act of disgrace by turning over a
Jew" to the Belgian authorities.
Rabbi Kahane also charged that
it was the Jewish leadership in
Brussels which had "pressured
the government" to expel him, and
that a top Belgian official had dis-
closed to him that his government
bad been requested to classify
him as an "undesirable." He told
newsmen that he knew the names
of those Jews who had urged the
action, but declined to name them.
Rabbi Kahane said he sought to
present to the conference a 10-
point program of action for Soviet
Jewry which, he said, "calls for
nonviolent civil disobedience dur-
ing the little time Soviet Jews have
left." Asked by newsmen to ela-

Youth Delegates to Brussels
Parley Affirm Their Identity
With Task Forces for Justice

EditorA Note: Five Detroiters were delegates to the World Con-
ference on Soviet Jewry. This delegation included Judge Lawrence
Dubow, Walter Klein, Fred Rose, Miss Helen Ouatowslci and Miss
Judith L. Grant. What follows is the young ladies' reactions.




BY HELEN OPATOWSKI and JUDITH L. GRANT
Not knowing fully or even partially what to expect from the
conference in Brussels, we inhaled each day as it came. At the
large Palais de Congres there assembled people from 50 different
countries, rabbis, statesmen, professors and students, religious and
secular — all Jews.
Each time we heard of Jewish suffering we knew how far removed
from it all we were. The news as always about another Jew in a
far off land.
We found ourselves saddened by the reports of anti-Semitism in
Europe, and sickened by the reports of Hitler's activities, but still we
never found ourselves shedding more than a few tears, and thanking
God that we were safe in America.
It was the environment of the World Conference on Soviet
Jewry that stirred emotions inside us. It was the beauty of knowing
that everyone around us was Jewish and felt a need to join together
in an attempt to achieve Jewish solidarity by which the world
would see that we as Jews will fight for the rights of our brethren
in any country where human rights are denied.
The consummate apathy that prevails amongst our contempo-
raries back home was nowhere evident in this electric atmosphere.
The Silent Jew of Eli Wiesel's "The Jews of Silence" was absent
from this conference.
At the conference, some basic facts became very important. Why
is It that Judaism, unlike other religious groups in Russia, cannot
publish periodicals and religious literature, including journals, prayer
books and Bibles? After years of protest, 10,000 prayerbooks were
permitted to be printed in 1968, but only a few hundred were actually
distributed. Jews cannot have any contact with co-religionists abroad.
yet many other faiths have this freedom to sudy abroad in theological
seminaries. The Jews cannot publish except In Isolated instances.
Even the Jewish calendars, which are indispensable guides to the
religious holidays and observances, are not permitted.
Synagogues have been closed in almost systematic fashion as
a result of both direct and indirect government action. In 1956 there
were 450 synagogues in the Soviet Union. Today, there are only 65
synagogues. Many people are unaware of the fact that the Jew Is
the only one of the Russian citizens who is not entitled to identity
through geographic location. All of the ethnic groups in Russia (Geor-
gians, Ukrainians, etc.) have their homeland within the boundaries
of the Soviet Union.
Many of the rabbis at the conference wondered bow people our
age became so involved. The only response that we could make
was that we were Jews. If this answer is not good enough for you,
the What Is year answer?
We in this community have no right to be Urea. Nor have we
the time We have not the right to wait until it is too late for action.
The time for action is now. We must look around and see bow difficult
it is becoming to survive, and how painful it is to be confronted with
the truth,. Our cause is strengthened by all of us working together.
We should all ask ourselves, "What have I done to help?"

411—f4ldri, Mora 5, 1971

TIE 99TOOIT MOW NEWS

borate on this pessimistic note,
Rabbi Kahane asserted that the
Kremlin "might change hands"
within the next year or two, and
that be felt the new regime would
be emphatically more anti-Semitic
and employ "physical abuse"
against the Jews. He added that
the program would be initiated
with a mass rally March 21 in
Washington. He maintained that
events had angered hundreds of
conference delegates who had
wanted to "hear his side."
Rabbi Kahane declared that
"only through dialogue can people
see who is right on an issue." All
the major Jewish organizations
have refused to sit down and talk
with us. This is not democratic nor
was there democracy in Belgium
yesterday." At the close of the
news conference, Rabbi Kahane
said, with a wry• grin, that he still
intended to emigrate to • Israel
"after all the courts try me, find
me innocent and .free me."
Prof. Herbert Marcuse, the lead-
ing theoretician of the New Left,
denied that he had been invited to
attend the World Conference on So-
viet Jewry in Brussels. Reports
from the Belgian capital had said
he would be there, but he dismiss-
ed them as inaccurate. Speaking
to the JTA by telephone from San
Diego, where he is a professor of
philosophy at the University of
California, Marcuse asserted: "No-
body ever got in touch with me,
and I never considered It" He
added: "I cannot go to Europe
now." Marcuse declined to com-
ment on the conference until he
saw "how it turns out." But he
stressed that he has spoken out
against Soviet treatment of Jews.
(A 50-page "propaganda pamph-
let" entitled "Soviet Jews: Fact
and Fiction," mailed by the USSR
to Americans who signed petitions
on behalf of Soviet Jewry, wrote
to the Soviet embassy in this coun-
try or to Kremlin officials in Rus-
sia, is described by the Anti Defa-
mation League as "more fiction
than fact and is an obvious at-
tempt to stem criticism of Soviet
treatment of Jews.")
More Soviet Jewish Activists
Expected to Leave for Israel
TEL AVIV (JTA) — Two Soviet
Jews who arrived here early Tues-
day morning with their families
named nine others who, they said,
have received permission to leave
Russia and can be expected in Is-
rael shortly.
The new arrivals are David
Drabkin and Victor Fedosayev,
both from Moscow and both con-
sidered activists in the forefront
of Jewish demands for emigration
rights.
They told reporters that their ex-
it. visas were held up by Soviet
authorities until after last week's
World Conference on Soviet Jewry
in Brussels, in order to prevent
them from attending the gather-
ing. Drabkin, his wife and daugh-
ter, told newsmen in fluent English
that the Russians are sensitive to
public opinion and pressure on be-
half of Soviet Jewry must be kept
up, but they specifically ruled out
acts of violence.
- They said - the national spirit
among Russian Jews was on the
Increase and claimed that Soviet
authorities are Issuing exit visas
in greater numbers to Jewish acti-
vists, possibly to be rid of them.
Drabkin and Fedosayev said that
among the Jews issued visas re-
cently were the Yiddish poet Yossef
Kerler, the opera singer Michael
Magod, a Jew named Balabanoff,
Meir Gilfond and the Finger, Katz,
Feinblum, Jacobson and Rominson
families.
Report Soviets May Review
Emigration Rights, Policy
LONDON (JTA)—Reports from
Moscow Indicated the Soviet au-
thorities might be reviewing their
policy toward Jews and their de-
mands for emigration rights.
It was promised at the end of
February to a group of at Jews
who staged a sit-he at the Supreme
Soviet building la downtown Was-
cow, a rare, almOst unprecedented
act in the USSR.

According to sources, Alexander
S. Dumin, deputy chief of the Su-
preme Soviet, promised that a. de-
cision on emigration rights would
be announced March 1. The decl-
aim "will cover not only the com-
mon problem of all Jews but your
personal desire to leave," Dumin
reportedly told the group after 'a
nine-hour confrontation. He said,
"This is the decision of very high
government officials."
Meanwhile, some 30 Soviet
Jews, most of whom took part in
the two sit-ins in government of-
fices recently, were reportedly
told Tuesday that they would be
given permission to emigrate. Thb
report could not be confirmed of-
ficially.
Some of them have reportedly
received their exit papers already,
and officials indicated that some
formalities would be waived to
hasten their departure.
Several Jews who, bad been
seeking emigration permits with-
out success for many months—
and in some cases years — have
received them in recent weeks.
Maces in Russia reported that
jadiclal authorities of the Rassian
Republic are reviewing the docu-
ments in the eases of nine Jews
facing trial in Leningrad and five
In Riga on charges growing out
of an alleged plot to hijack a So-
viet airliner last June, Nine Jews
are serving prison terms imposed
after a hijack trial in Leningrad
last December.
A second Leningrad trial opened
Jan. 6 but was adjourned Immedi-
ately because one defendant was
said to be ill. It never reopened.
The long-delayed Riga trial was
supposed to begin this week but
sources said they had learned un-
officially that the trial documents
were being reviewed in Moscow.
Lev N. Smirnov, chairman of the
Supreme Court of the Russian Re-
public, reportedly told relatives of
five of the Leningrad defendants
that he was reviewing the papers
which came to 40 volumes and that

reading them might take another
three weeks.
Observers here noted that It was
unusual for the Supreme Court to
review trial documents of a lower
court before the trial opened. They
said the higher authorities could
order the cases dismissed, ask that
the charges be reframegl, call for
further investigation or order the
trial to proceed.
Sources said the Leningrad rela-
tives were promised that they
would be notified by the high court
as soon as a decisioa-was made.
The Soviet trade union news-
paper Trud called Tuesday for the
expulsion of Anthony Astrachan,
Moscow correspondent of the
Washington Post, for' . articles
about the problems of Soviet Jews.
The paper described Astrachan's
articles as "slanderous concoc-
tions." Ills predecessors as Mos-
cow correspondents of the Post,
Stephen Rosenfeld and Anatole
Shub, had been expelled.

West Coast Department Store
Agrees to Remove Soviet
Products From Shelves
SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)—In con-
junction with the Brussels confer-
ence on Soviet Jewry, the City of
Paris, one of the leading depart-
ment stores here, has agreed to
remove all Soviet products from Its
shelves in response to a request
from Soviet Jewry Action Group.
Steve Sloan, a San Francisco
stockbroker and spokesman for the
group, stated, "We thank Mr. Has-
kell Titchell, who represented City
of Paris, for his understanding, and
for demonstrating humanitarian
concern for the oppressed Jews of
Soviet Russia. We don't enjoy pick-
eting our fellow Americans, but
what would we think if a store was
selling German goods In 1942?"
He added that Action Group In-
tends to stop totally the sale of Rus-
sian goods in San Francisco. Simi-
lar economic boycotts- are under
way, according to the group, in
other cities throughout the world.

• • •
Behind Scenes of Kahane Expulsion

By S. J. GOLDSMITH
JTA London Bureau Chief

BRUSSELS (JTA)—Samuel Sho-
shan, • a New York engineer and
close supporter of Rabbi Meir Ka-
hane, national chairman of the
Jewish Defense League, told me
that he was with Rabbi Kahane
until the rabbi left Brussels after
having been expelled. He said they
were treated well by the Belgian
police. In fact they were not ar-
rested but merely held for question-
ing. 'The American consul imme-
diately intervened to ascertain the
facts. After four hours of quite
pleasant conversation in which
Kahane said he would not discuss
ideology with the police, a point
the interrogators did not press,
Rabbi Kahane was told that be
would have to leave Belgium on
the same day on an order of the
foreign minister. Shoshan was told
he was free to stay in Brussels.
Rabbi Kahane then left Brussels.
Dov Sperling, an Israeli supporter
of the 39-year-old rabbi, told me
he had met Rabbi Kahane at Brus-
sels Airport on Wednesday morn-
ing. They went immediately to the
conference hall and told the
steward, a Belgian Jewish youth,
that the rabbi wanted to send a
note to the chairman of the con-
ference.

They were admitted to the lobby,
and the rabbi wrote his note and
sent it up. Meanwhile, television
cameras gathered around, and the
Belgian security people were alert-
ed. Rabbi Kahane received a reply
from the conference chairman say-
ing that they would have to con-
sider whether to admit them.
Whereupon several stewards told
him that be could not stay in the
lobby. He left with. Sperling. On
their way to the hotel they were
approached by three security men
who politely told• the rabbi that
both must come with them. Sho-
skin was also asked to lade.

Sperling was held for only two
hours.
There is not 'a .scrap of evi-
dence that anybody in the confer-
ence had anything to do with the
arrest In fact, a high-ranking
Belgian official told me: "We read
the Herald Tribune (of Paris) and
we know who Kahane is. Our pur-
pose was merely to ensure that
there are no unpleasant incidents
in our capital, and we were not
involved in the entire matter
otherwise. We have never had an
approach from anybody connected
with the conference in which Ka-
hane or his supporters were men-
tioned."
Rumors about Arthur Goldberg
trying to arrange a meeting be-
tween the conference presidium
and Soviet Jewish Gen. David
Dragunsky are completely un-
founded.
It transpires that there were a
number of messages to the con-
ference by Soviet Jews in various
parts of Russia which never reach-
ed the conference. One, Ilya Ell-
berg, telephoned Israel and asked
them to ascertain If messages ar-
rived in Brussels. Some private
persons in Brussels had similar
telephone inquiries from Russia.
Grischa Feigin told me in a spe-
cial interview that "Jews of the
world do not do enough for Israel.
Having come out of Russia and
gone to Israel, I am perhaps in
a better position to assess the
portance of Israel for the Jewish
present std: future than those of
you_who know it intimately from
its
light of this
overwbeilisharatieWence on reach-
ing Israel, I take the liberty of
saying that Jews of the world do
not do enough for Israel. At 'the
same time I can only endorse whit
has been said on the platforM,
namely that the campaign for So--
viet Jews has not been as effec-
tive as it might have been, but this
I can see, is now being remedied." -

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