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Ajcommittee Appeals to Kishinev Citizens to Protest Trial

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The American Jewish Committee, which was established in 1906 as a direct result of a pogrom then against Jews in Kishinev, today urged the citizens of Kishinev to protest the trial of nine Jews in that city. In a letter addressed to Ivan Vasiliyevich Kuskevich, chairman of the City Executive Committee, Philip E. Hoffman, president of the AJCommittee, pointed out that although there is worldwide protest against the trials outside the Soviet Union, “the impetus to put an end to these legal atrocities must come from within.” Hoffman asserted that “Jews are on trial in Kishinev for the ‘crimes’ of wanting to emigrate to Israel, or wanting to live in the Jewish tradition.” Drawing a parallel between the pogroms which, at the turn of the century, spurred the founding of AJCommittee and the current trials, the letter said: “Although legal instruments are now used, the intent remains the same: the suppression of Jewish life and tradition.” In his appeal to the citizens of Kishinev, Hoffman drew attention to the fact that “prejudice against individuals because of race or nationality is outlawed by the Soviet Constitution, and freedom to pursue cultural identity is supposedly the right of all who live in the Soviet Union.” However, he added, these precepts are far from being practiced and only the citizens of the Soviet Union–the citizens of Kishinev–can influence their government in this respect.

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