Left-wing Rabbi Denounces Ussr; Urges World Jewry to Support Soviet Jews

An American-born Canadian rabbi known for his left-wing views and his support of Hanoi in the Indochina War, denounced the Soviet Union here as “a monolith afflicted with paranoia.” Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Rabbi Emeritus of Toronto’s prestigious Holy Blossom Temple, addressed 500 Jewish youths and adults at a teach-in for the liberation of Soviet Jewry sponsored by the Montreal Jewish Youth Council. Rabbi Feinberg appealed to Jews everywhere to come out “in support of their Soviet brethren before the roots of their Jewish culture are erased forever.” He urged them to use “every form of protest except violence.” He warned the audience against those that use the Soviet Jewish problem for cold war purposes by representing Israel as a bulwark against Communism. “This is not anti-Communism that I support here but by own pro-Jewish feelings,” Rabbi Feinberg declared. “I believe that Israel is the unlucky victim of a cold-blooded policy of Middle East penetration and I consider the fact that Israel must depend on arms supply from the United States and Richard Nixon as a moral tragedy of modern Jewish history, comparable with the holocaust.” Rabbi Feinberg was assailed by some members of the audience for his radical views. When pressed to state whether his Judaism or his radicalism came first, he replied sharply. “I am a radical because I am a Jew. I am not interested in any Left, old or new, when it has as its goal the extinction of the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Feinberg, who is in his sixties and was once a professional singer, recently produced an album of radical songs. He is donating the proceeds to the war orphans and maimed children of North and South Vietnam. The indoor teach-in for Soviet Jewry replaced an outdoor rally that had to be cancelled owing to the Canadian government’s institution of war measures to combat terrorism in Quebec. Another speaker at the teach-in, Erich Goldhagen, director of East European Jewish studies at Brandeis University, read exerpts from letters from Soviet Jews smuggled out of Russia. He said “the time for silence has passed, the time for noise and action has come. Everything we do in the Free World for Soviet Jewry is immediately heard in Russia through Kol Israel.” Dennis Prager, a graduate student of the Russian and Middle East institutes at Columbia University, discussed his recent visit to the Soviet Union. “The Jews of dynamism and idealism are in the Soviet Union while the Jews of silence unfortunately are in America,” Prager said. He predicted that if restrictions on emigration were lifted, one half of Russia’s three million Jews would go to Israel.

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