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May 01, 1992 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-01

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



Philosphically, we knew all
along that (Syrian Jews)
were kept as bargaining
chips by Assad. Still, the tim-
,-= ing was somewhat of a sur-
\ prise."
The Syrian announcement
came after several days of
intensifying rumors about
an impending change in that
nation's policy, and two
• weeks after the release of Eli
and Selim Swed, brothers
/-" who had been jailed by
Syrian authorities since
1987.
The Sweds had been the
focus of a growing advocacy
\ , effort by the administration
/--- and leading members of
\ -, Congress. Recently, Sen.
(
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.,
, brought up the case in a
letter to President Assad
signed by 68 senators.
Several weeks ago, Presi-
dent Assad met with a dele-
gation of leading Syrian
Jews, the first such meeting
during his regime.
Most observers suggested
that the Syrian-policy shift
was designed primarily to
)-- affect U.S official and public
opinion.
"We've had reports coming
back to us that Assad has
been watching the Syrian
\ _ movement in the United
'-- States very closely in recent
months," said Seymour
__, Reich, chair of the National
,-- Task Force on Syrian Jewry
\ _ of the Conference of Presi-
dents of Major American
Jewish Organizations. "He
has been aware of our ads,
our demonstrations.
"He is aware of the fact
that we are prepared to put
the Syrian Jewry question
• on the same high plane as
Soviet Jewry."
"We believe that Assad
has responded to the grow-
ing international concern for
/.= Syrian Jews voiced most
acutely by our administra-
• tion and by leading members
of Congress," said Mr. Kahn.
"This has been raised in a
number of bilateral discus-
sions between our govern-
ment and Syrian leaders, by
members of Congress in
\-,
/ letters to the Assad govern-
' ment and in private
meetings with Syrian offi-
cials."
,
Assistant Secretary of
State for Near Eastern and
,› South Asian Affairs Edward
Djerejian, in particular, has
been active in recent months
'
\, in raising the issue during
routine diplomatic contacts

with Syrian officials.
"The administration de-
/=' serves a good deal of credit
for its role in this," said
Malcolm Hoenlein, ex-
ecutive director of the Con-
ference of Presidents. 0

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