LONDON (Jan. 28)
Reports received here today from virtually every Jewish community in the free world emphasized the depth of emotion, anger and despair with which the Jews received the news that nine Iraqi Jews had been hanged following a secret drumhead trial in Baghdad and their bodies exposed to indignities and the derision of howling mobs.
Here in London, Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jacobovits and the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, the Haham, Dr. Solomon Gaon, called on all British rabbis to recite the memorial prayers for the executed Iraqi Jews at Sabbath services this weekend. The Board of Deputies of British Jews organized an all-night vigil, attended by some 5,000 Jews, in front of the Iraqi Embassy and appealed to all international and national organizations concerned with human rights to express their “abhorrence of this act of judicial murder” to the Iraqi regime.
In Jerusalem, the Chief Rabbinate designated Thursday as a day of public prayer and fasting in mourning for the slain Iraqi Jews. In Rome, an emotion-charged but orderly crowd of 2,000 Rome Jews marched on the Iraqi Embassy and massed outside the bolted, shuttered building. Most Jewish shops in the capital were closed. Some had signs on their door reading: “closed to mourn the victims of the Baghdad massacre.” In Montreal, 100 members of Betar, the Zionist-Revisionist youth organization, braved biting cold and freezing winds to demonstrate against the hangings in downtown Dominion Square. The Jewish Community Council and Zionist organizations scheduled a giant mass meeting of protest.
International and national Jewish organizations leaped into action in the belief that the Iraqi executions presaged a wave of killings of the Jewish hostages in Iraq and possibly other Arab countries. In Paris, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, World Jewish Congress president, cabled UN Secretary-General Thant urging UN action to secure the immediate emigration of the entire Jewish communities of Iraq. Syria and Egypt. He said these Jews, estimated today by an Israeli Foreign Ministry official to number about 10,000 were “in mortal danger.”
In New York, Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, urged the U.S. to initiate, through the UN, an investigation into the condition of the Jews in Iraq and other Arab states. Earl Morse, chairman of the board of trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), urged President Nixon to have the U.S. lodge an immediate protest with Iraq, asserting that only a firm protest by the U.S. and other countries could avert “further atrocities of this nature.”
Fifteen nationally known Catholic and Protestant clergymen, all officials of national and international church organizations, telegraphed President Nixon demanding that the U.S. condemn Iraq forthemass trials and executions “with the same vigor with which we have condemned other acts of terrorism and reprisal in the Middle East.” The 15 rejected the Iraqi Government claim that the executions were an internal affair and characterized them as “a matter for men of conscience of all creeds and beliefs to decry.” Among those who signed the message to President Nixon were the Most Rev. Joseph L. Bernadin, general secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference; Dr. Alford Carleton and Rev. Dr. Truman B. Douglass, vice presidents of the National Council of Churches; the Rev. Dr. Ben Mohr Herbster, president of the United Church of Christ.
The Canadian Jewish Congress revealed in Toronto that it had asked the Canadian Government to use its good offices “to protest this violation of fundamental human dignity and freedoms.” In Brussels, the Belgian section of the WJ Congress telegraphed a plea to Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens for Belgian intervention to prevent further crimes against the helpless Jewish populations in Iraq and other Arab states.