NEW YORK (Jun. 23)
Rep. Mario Biaggi, Democrat of New York, yesterday became co-counsel with the National Committee on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA), an Orthodox Jewish lawyers group, in the defense of the 15 persons who were arrested and charged with criminal trespass on June 14 after they had handcuffed themselves to the U.S. Mission to the UN to protest alleged State Department failure to take “meaningful” action to aid Soviet Jewry. The 15–12 rabbis, 2 Jewish professors, and the national coordinator of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry–were yesterday also charged with disorderly conduct for the June 14 affair when they appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court. They entered a plea of not guilty and the case was adjourned until tomorrow. Biaggi said he had entered the case because he felt the rabbis were focussing attention on a very important problem and said he hoped U.S. Ambassador to the UN. George Bush, would respond favorably to the three demands made by the rabbis when they were arrested. The rabbis then had demanded a “strong statement” by President Nixon on the plight of Soviet Jews and on the Kishinev trial; the institution by the Voice of America of Yiddish and Hebrew broadcasts to Soviet Jews; and the issuance of 30,000 emergency visas to Soviet Jews. He said he hoped Bush would give special attention to “the nature of the accusations” against rabbis who felt that they had a point to make.