10,000 Petitions on Behalf of Soviet Jewry on Way to Washington
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10,000 Petitions on Behalf of Soviet Jewry on Way to Washington

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A truckload of individual petitions on behalf of Soviet Jews, signed by more than 100,000 persons in Illinois and by Senators and Congressmen from all parts of the country, will leave here tomorrow for delivery to the Soviet Embassy in Washington. The petitions represent the fruition of a campaign begun early this year by Enoch Silverstein of the Community Council of Jewish Organizations of Chicago and his wife, Marjory, who along with 1,000 volunteers gathered signatures at shopping centers, schools, churches, synagogues and at meetings and door-to-door solicitations. The Silversteins will accompany the truck to Washington as will Judah Graubart, of the Chicago staff of the American Jewish Committee. They will be received at the Capital by Illinois and New York Senators and Congressmen.

According to plans announced by the AJCommittee office here, the delegation will proceed with the petitions to the Soviet Embassy. If they are not accepted by the Soviet Ambassador, Rep. Sidney Yates (D., III.), a former US representative to the United Nations, will take the petitions to the UN to present them to the US Ambassador George Bush who will be asked to turn them over to an appropriate UN agency. The petitions, addressed to the Soviet government, state: “We demand that you stop your inhuman persecution of the Jews in the Soviet Union. We demand that you allow the Jews to leave the USSR–This is their legal right, guaranteed by your government. This right of emigration is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 13-2. The language is clear and unequivocal. Everyone has the right to leave any country, his own. Your government is a party to this essential human right. You must honor your word.”

The Silversteins based their petition campaign on the premise that emotional appeals to Soviet authorities were ineffective and that only a legal approach would bring action. Among the US Congressmen who have signed petitions are Sens. Edmund Muskie (D., Me.); Birch Bayh (D., Ind.); Robert Dole (R., Kan.); Vance Hartke (D., Ind.): Jacob Javits (R., N.Y.); Edward M. Kennedy (D., Mass); George McGovern (D.,S. Dak.); Charles Percy (R.,III.); William Proxmire (D., Wisc.) and Robert Taft (R., Ohio).

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