NEW YORK (Mar. 30)
Mayor John V. Lindsay proclaimed today “Soviet Jewry Day” in New York City and the occasion was used for a rally and press conference of white and black civil rights leaders on behalf of Jews in the Soviet Union. The rally took place at the Isaiah Wall near United Nations headquarters and was timed to coincide with the opening today of the 24th Soviet Communist Party Congress in Moscow. An appeal to the Congress urging human rights and emigration rights for Soviet Jews was presented at the rally by Eleanor Holmes Norton, chairman of New York City’s Human Rights Commission. The appeal was signed, among others, by Rep. Herman Badillo, film producer Otto Preminger, civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, N.Y. Congresswoman Bella Abzug and Roy Innis a militant black civil rights leader. The rally was organized by the Center for Russian Jewry and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. The groups are seeking signatures on a nationwide petition to he sent to the Communist Party Congress.
Some of the demonstrators picketed American Communist Party headquarters in New York today and returned to the Isaiah Wall to begin an “Exodus Vigil” for Soviet Jews which, they said, would be maintained until Passover eve, April 9. Innis, likened the situation of blacks in the United States to Jews in the Soviet Union. He said both countries were “the most repressive in the world” and “inheritors of the evils of the Pharaohs of the past.” He accused many Jews of “failing to extend to blacks the right of ethnic identity” but said that black nationalists have come to realize the parallel that exists between the oppression of blacks and the oppression of Jews and the need for both groups to work together. The appeal to the Communist Party Congress urged the Soviet leadership to permit the emigration of Jews who seek to leave the Soviet Union; free imprisoned Jews and permit full religious and cultural expression for those who choose to remain. The appeal quoted the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said at a Soviet Jewry Human Rights Day rally in 1966 that “The denial of human rights anywhere is a threat to the affirmation of human rights everywhere.”