Conference on Soviet Jewry Calls for USSR Reversal of Oppressive Policies

The presidents of 25 national organizations comprising the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, and key leaders representing 125 Jewish communities in 30 states, gathered here tonight to demand that Soviet authorities end their policy of denying religious. cultural and communal rights to the nearly three million Jewish citizens of the USSR. In an address before the group, at the Shoreham Hotel tonight, Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference, declared: “The sparks of hope that we were beginning to discern in token concessions to Soviet Jews have all but disappeared. The hysterical and vicious anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist campaign which the Soviet authorities have unleashed is indicative of the further deterioration of an already difficult situation.”

Rabbi Miller noted that “Jews are the last major minority group in the Soviet Union still subjected to a policy of deprivation, discrimination and depression.” “On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution, is it too much to expect that Jews will have restored to them the full rights guaranteed by the Soviet Constitution?,” he asked.

The Jewish organizational leaders are meeting tomorrow at the White House with Presidential Assistant Walt Rostow and at the State Department with Walt Stoessel, acting Assistant Secretary of State for East European Affairs. The Jewish communal leaders also have meetings scheduled with their individual senators and congressmen. Rabbi Miller will kindle an Eternal Light for Soviet Jewry on the steps of the Senate Office Building.

In his address, Rabbi Miller called upon the Soviet leaders to “eradicate the irrational factors that have determined their policy toward their Jewish citizens and to allow the reestablishment of communal institutions which will assure the continuity and secure the future of Soviet Jewry and permit them self-realization as Jews, as citizens and as human beings.”

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