Ottawa (Oct. 19)
More than 12,000 Jews from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa massed here today near the Soviet Embassy and conducted a peaceful demonstration against the visiting Soviet Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin on behalf of Soviet Jewish rights. Some 60-65 buses from Toronto and some 40 buses from Montreal packed with Jewish demonstrators were detained outside the Ottawa city limits after police received an anonymous phone call reporting that a bomb had been placed in one of the buses.
Police led the passengers from the buses and conducted a thorough search but no bomb was found. The buses then proceeded to the capital without further incident but highway traffic was clogged for miles as a result of the bus brigade. Meanwhile, the Canadian Jewish Congress asked all Jewish organizations and business firms in Canada to close today in protest against Soviet policy.
Earlier today, Rabbi Meir Kahene, chairman of the Jewish Defense League, was deported from Canada after arriving in Montreal last night with six other JDL members from New York. The group flew to Canada in an effort to meet with Kosygin to request that the Soviet Premier intercede on behalf of the Leningrad Nine. Before leaving Kennedy Airport in New York last night, Rabbi Kahane told newsmen that he would try to disrupt Kosygin’s visit to Canada. The seven JDLers were stopped by Canadian immigration authorities upon arrival at Dorval Airport in Montreal and kept overnight in detention cells. Rabbi Kahane was placed aboard an Air Canada plane this morning for return to New York.
RABBIS HOLD FAST, PRAYER VIGIL
The other six JDL members, who were not deported with their leader, harassed the New York-bound passengers in retaliation for the deportation and told them and Canadian authorities that “if Rabbi Kahane is refused entry into Canada so should Kosygin.” The demonstrators left the airport after a 15-minute meeting with officials. Canadian immigration officials gave no reason for Rabbi Kahane’s expulsion but it was believed this was part of a general tightening of security after Kosygin was assaulted yesterday in Ottawa by a Hungarian refugee.
Also yesterday, Kosygin was confronted by nonviolent Jewish protesters. The New York-based Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and a Canadian affiliate, the Jewish Student Council for Soviet Jews, chanted freedom songs on Parliament Hill and displayed the food served in “strict regime” Soviet prison camps, to which several Jews have been sent for alleged anti-Soviet activities. A similar demonstration was staged outside Kosygin’s hotel. Also, 70 shawl-garbed Canadian rabbis gathered outside Government House after a 24-hour fast and prayer vigil, and sang “Am Yisroel Chai.”
Rabbi Gunther Plaut of Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto, national chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress’ Religious Affairs Committee, explained: “We are here to draw the attention of Mr. Kosygin to the plight of our Jewish brethren in Soviet Russia and ask him to allow these of them who wish to leave for Eretz Yisrael to do so.” The rabbis will try to present a petition to Kosygin today. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau apologized yesterday for the Hungarian’s attack on Kosygin, who was uninjured. Trudeau said such an act made it “increasingly difficult for me to raise with Mr. Kosygin humanitarian problems regarding the reunion of families.” Violence, said Trudeau “can only have an adverse result.”