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Youth Group Pickets Presidents Conference for More Aid to Soviet Jewry

Fifty college and high school students calling themselves the Ad Hoc Committee to Revitalize the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry picketed for 90 minutes today outside the midtown building containing the offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. They charged Dr. William A. Wexler and Yehuda Hellman, chairman and executive director of the Conference of Presidents, with debilitating the American Jewish Conference by denying it autonomy and the legal status required for fundraising. They added that after seven years of existence, the American Jewish Conference had only one full-time paid professional on its staff and was unable to demonstrate until Sept. 20 for the Leningrad Jews arrested June 15.

The student group charged Dr. Wexler and Hellman with being “more interested in the prestige of the Conference of Presidents than in a strong Soviet Jewry body” which it described as an “obstructionist and near-sighted policy.” A student spokesman said “The American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry has tremendous potential, but the Conference of Presidents is strangling it at its very sources.” He added, without elaboration, that “If no policy changes are forthcoming from the Conference of Presidents, other actions will be planned.” The spokesman stated that no Jewish Defense League members took part in the demonstration.