1,500 at Rally Protest Torture, Imprisonment of Syrian Jews

More than 1,500 persons participated in a rally this afternoon at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza opposite the United Nations to protest the imprisonment and torture of 12 Syrian Jews and appeal for their release. The rally was sponsored by the Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry. Mayor John V. Lindsay proclaimed Thursday “Save Syrian Jewry Day” in support of the protest. A telegram was read at the rally from Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, supporting efforts aimed at “convincing the Syrian government to end its discriminatory policies, to free all who are unjustly imprisoned and to allow those Jews who wish to leave to do so.”

A recent report of the Committee of Concern, headed by Gen. Lucius D. Clay, detailed how the 4,000 Jews in Syria live under constant surveillance, suffer frequent arrests, house searches and interrogation under torture.

Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, called on American Jewry “to mobilize all its forces for an intensified struggle to ameliorate the conditions under which 4,000 Syrian Jews must live today.” In his message, Miller castigated the United Nations on the issue. “It is most disturbing that instead of facing this situation–when the lives of 4,000 people are in grave danger–the UN and its Secretary General are busily dealing with accusations against the imaginary mistreatment of Arabs in Israel.” Miller said.

He declared that “the treatment of Syrian Jews explodes the myth of Arab tolerance so diligently spread by Arab propagandists in the West.” He asked, “Why has the UN failed to conduct an investigation of the situation of Jews in Arab lands, particularly Syria, which is a member of the Security Council?” A message was also read at the rally from William J. vanden Heuvel, former president of the International Rescue Committee and vice-chairman of the Committee of Concern, calling “for the release of those who are in Syrian prisons for no other reason than their desire to be free men.”

NEXT STORY