LONDON (May. 21)
A Labor MP suggested today that “the Israelis could easily rescue the Syrian Jews in a military operation lasting no more than a couple of days.” Raymond Fletcher, a non-Jew, made that remark at a special session of the monthly meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews which was devoted to the plight of Jews in Syria.
He said that “In the face of the appalling treatment meted out to Syrian Jews who are themselves completely defenseless, one sometimes wonders at the restraint of the Israelis in not seeking a military solution to this problem.”
(In Paris, Jewish organizations confirmed last week that 12 of 16 jailed Syrian Jews have been released by Damascus authorities, apparently under a presidential amnesty declared on May 11. The amnesty applied only to Syrian citizens and did not include Albert Elias, former president of the Jewish community in Beirut, Lebanon, who was kidnapped from that city by Syrian agents last fall.)
WANT TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
Fletcher accused the Syrian regime of “committing crimes against humanity in the name of Socialism” just as the Nazis did. He said the treatment of Jews in Syria “is not only inhuman, it is bestial.” He said the time has come for “a national protest here and a worldwide outcry against this tragedy enacted before our very eyes.” Claiming that both the British government and the opposition have failed to protest, and that the British people, “once made aware of the facts will rise up in protest.” Fletcher declared: “I and many other non-Jews want to stand up and be counted on this issue. We shall go on protesting, together with the Jews, until this tragedy comes to an end.”
Alderman Michael Fidler, president of the Board, said that before Syria can claim to be a civilized nation “she must stop the medieval torture and humiliation of Syrian Jews.” Lord Janner observed that Syria was the last of the Arab countries where “inhumanities are perpetrated against defenseless Jewish groups.” The Board urged the government to take steps to ameliorate the plight of Syrian Jews and permit them to leave.