NEW YORK (May. 18)
On the eve of President Nixon’s departure for Moscow, hundreds of thousands of petitions in support of Soviet Jewry, addressed to the President have been pouring into the White House and the offices of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, it was reported today by Richard Maass, NCSJ chairman. The total number of signatures now stands at close to 1.4 million and representatives of national organizations, local affiliates, and local community councils on Soviet Jewry continue to tally. No other single cause in recent history has drawn such tremendous response, Maass said.
The petition campaign, sponsored by the NCSJ and coordinated by local community councils and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, began 4 months ago. The petitions urge President Nixon “on behalf of 3 million Jews…to exert your influence to help free Jewish prisoners of conscience and to help Soviet Jews achieve the fundamental right to live as Jews and to leave for Israel and elsewhere.”
More than 30 states expressed their concern for Soviet Jewry by appealing to the President with special state legislative resolutions and Governors’ proclamations. A petition circulated by Rep. Jack F. Kemp (R.-C. N.Y.) was signed by 143 members of Congress from almost every state in the union. Maass stated that “dramatic proof of support for Soviet Jewry is clearly demonstrated by this massive response to the petition drive. We know that the impact of the petition campaign has been felt in the Congress and in the White House.”