NEW YORK (Sep. 27)
Prof. Mikhail Zand, the Soviet Jewish orientalist who won the right to emigrate to Israel last spring after a prolonged struggle, urged American Jews at two separate meetings here yesterday to keep up the drum-beat of protest against the denial of exit visas to Jews because Soviet authorities are sensitive to the pressures of world opinion. “We Russian Jews need the help of every free man over the world,” Dr. Zand declared at a meeting of the Board of Governors of B’nai B’rith District 1 which embraces more than 100,000 members in New York and New England. “The Soviet government should know that its Jews have sympathizers all over the world. We need not only Jewish support. It is a general humanitarian problem. It is a problem for every human being who has a conscience,” he told the annual fall meeting of the Board of Governors.
Earlier in the day Dr. Zand addressed 1,000 persons at a Babi Yar Memorial rally at Congregation Keilath Jeshurun sponsored by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. “It is not a coincidence,” he said, that Soviet Jewry’s opportunities for emigration peaked when American and world pressures were exerted in their strongest form. He said Soviet Jewry was not facing “physical genocide” but “a national and cultural genocide.” “Help us,” he pleaded, “by using the only slogan we are in need of. ‘Let my people go,’ not ‘Let my people live.’ “
Dr. Zand claimed that there was no possibility of Jewish life in the Soviet Union “except as slaves.” He said the Jewish struggle was against the Soviet government, not the cultural and national feelings of the Soviet people. He urged American Jews to write letters to “Soviet authorities, international organizations and to our people in the Soviet Union.” Dr. Zand is touring the US under the auspices of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry. At the B’nai B’rith meeting yesterday he was awarded a special citation by Phillip F. Faneull, of Boston, president of District 1.