NEW YORK (Jun. 22)
The Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention was urged today to incorporate strong planks for a negotiated peace in the Middle East and on the rights of Soviet Jews to emigrate freely or to live a full cultural and religious life in the USSR. The Platform Committee, conducting one of its final regional hearings here, was addressed on the Middle East Issue by Irving Kane of Cleveland, chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and on Soviet Jews by Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. (See special news analysis on Page 4.)
Testimony heard by the Platform Committee at regional hearings all over the US over the past few months will be incorporated into a series of recommendations for the full committee to consider when it starts putting together the 1972 Democratic platform, a task scheduled to begin in Washington, D.C. later today. The Democratic convention opens in Miami Beach July 10.
Kane’s two key platform recommendations called for the promotion of Mideast peace through direct Arab-Israeli negotiations and the prevention of another war in the region through the supply of deterrent military equipment to Israel. Kane said AIPAC’s views are shared by an overwhelming majority of American Jews and noted that its proposals had the full support of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations which embraces 26 national organizations. “As long as the Middle East is threatened with renewed war it is essential to serve notice on the Arab states and the Soviet Union of our unswerving resolution to take action to preserve Israel’s survival and to promote an Arab-Israel peace,” he said.
Maass told the Platform Committee that the American people had issued a mandate to their elected officials to exert every effort on behalf of Soviet Jews. He referred to a petition campaign sponsored by his organization that resulted in the collection of 1.4 million signatures and observed that the governors, state legislatures, senators, congressmen and other elected officials had issued similar appeals on behalf of Soviet Jews.
He said a Soviet Jewry plank in the 1972 Democratic platform should include nine specific points, among them an endorsement of free emigration, an expression of concern over the harassment of Soviet Jews, a pledge to press the issue of Soviet Jews, before international bodies, support for a full hour of Voice of America broadcasts to Russia in Yiddish and Hebrew and efforts to obtain the release of 40 Jewish “prisoners of conscience” still in Soviet prison camps.