NEW YORK (Dec. 4)
A panel of American religious and civic leaders yesterday called on the leaders of the U.S.S.R. to permit large-scale emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. The call came in a “verdict” issued by members of the Ad Hoc Commission on the Rights of Soviet Jews based on testimony and reports presented at a public hearing here last March 18.
Bayard Rustin, Negro civil rights leader, chaired the tribunal and headed the list of signers who made public their findings today. They were: Dr. John C. Bennett, president, Union Theological Seminary; The Rev. George B. Ford, pastor emeritus, Corpus Christi Church; Emil Mazey, secretary-treasurer, United Automobile Workers; Telford Taylor, professor of law, Columbia University; and Norman Thomas, veteran Socialist leader.
Mr. Rustin said the commission would present its findings to United Nations Secretary-General U Thant. The Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly will begin a debate next week on draft documents outlawing racial and religious bias. The commission’s call on the U.S.S.R. to grant permission for emigration cited the “natural right to group life” and the “equally natural right” of Soviet Jews “to seek fulfillment through their own group. “For those Soviet Jews who can find self-realization only in a Jewish state, this would mean the right to leave the U.S.S.R. in order to create a new Jewish life for themselves in Israel,” the statement declared.