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Interfaith Group Pickets U.S. Mission to UN to Demand Firm Aid for Soviet Jews

Intervention by the U.S. State Department was credited with preventing the arrest of six rabbis, a Protestant Minister and a Catholic nun who picketed the U.S. Mission to the United Nations today demanding that the U.S. government take a stronger stand on behalf of Soviet Jews. The rabbis, represented by the N.Y. Civil Liberties Union, appeared at Federal Court here this morning to apply for an injunction against a ban on picketing directly in front of Mission headquarters which is adjacent to the UN. They had been warned by police that they would be arrested if they violated the ban which, the police claimed, stemmed from an international treaty. The judge reserved his decision until next Tuesday. According to Glenn Richter, national coordinator of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, the State Department, which was named in the injunction request, rushed a message to the court saying that it did not object to the close proximity of the pickets to the Mission building and that it recognized no ban. The pickets marched for two hours this afternoon carrying placards demanding “Freedom for the Kishinev 9″ and “Why Doesn’t The U.S. Speak Out.” A large police contingent was present but did not interfere with the pickets.

According to Richter, a representative of Ambassador George Bush, the U.S. representative to the UN, appeared and accepted a document containing three demands. They were; A firmly worded public statement by President Nixon condemning Soviet treatment of Jews; the inauguration of Yiddish or Hebrew broadcasts on Voice of America programs beamed to the Soviet Union; and government support for bills pending in both houses of Congress for 30,000 emergency visas for Soviet Jews. The pickets said they would return next Tuesday if there was no response from the government, even if the Federal Judge denies their injunction appeal. The eight were; Rev. Robert B. Carey, a member of the New York Annual Conference of United Methodists; Sister Rose Thering, coordinator of the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Relations at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.; Rabbi Irving Greenberg, of the Riverdale Jewish Center; Rabbi Steven Riskin, of Lincoln Square Synagogue; Rabbi Abraham Weiss, of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Monsey, N.Y.; Rabbi Aryeh Gotlien of the Jewish Community Center, Paramus, N.J. and Rabbi Charles Sheer, Jewish student chaplain at Columbia University.

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