LOS ANGELES (Jan. 26)
The Southern California Council for Soviet Jews and the California Students for Soviet Jews, which have engaged in self-described “friendly and reasonable” protests against Soviet anti-Semitism, asserted today that “Mindless violence is deplorable and to be avoided. but selective discriminating force is sometimes necessary.” Si Frumkin, chairman of the SCCSJ, and Zev Yaroslavsky, head of the CSSJ, protested the condemnation of the Jewish Defense League by what they called the “Establishment” Jewish organizations. “I feel,” said Yaroslavsky, “that the right to criticize those who seem to be overly active has to be earned and must be reserved to those who have been active in the past. The vast majority of the groups who are joining in the shrill chorus of hate directed at the JDL have not done anything on behalf of Soviet Jewry for the past 15 years (except for) the passing of a few resolutions.”
The result of the SCCSJ’s and the CSSJ’s “reasonable” tactics, Frumkin said, was “escalation” of Soviet anti-Semitism and the staging of trials of Jews. “It is conceivable,” he went on, “that our response must be escalated as well.” He added that “The trouble was not started by JDL, or anyone else in this country. The Russians were the ones who started the persecutions, and they must bear the consequences of their acts.” He asserted that “At a time when 11 people were sentenced to a lingering death in concentration camps for having dared to choose freedom. it is slightly grotesque to have Russian representatives complain about having their afternoon strolls interrupted.” Yaroslavsky and Frumkin, speaking to a joint membership meeting of their two groups, denied any intentions to kidnap Soviet diplomats as ransom for arrested Soviet Jews.
The Commission on Soviet Jewry of the Jewish Federation Council’s Community Relations Committee, stated here that “Disruptive tactics tend to be counterproductive” and that “We cannot condone violence; in fact, we condemn it.” In newly issued “Guidelines for Community Action,” the Commission recommended peaceful dissent and picketing to aid Soviet Jews. The Commission also announced creation of a Soviet Jewry Information Center. It cited a statement of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, of which the Los Angeles CRC is a member, that “Unfortunately the Jewish Defense League has fallen victim to the very tactics it claims to oppose. We consider its activities no less harmful and dangerous because it calls itself ‘Jewish.'”