MONTREAL (Jun. 28)
Bayard Rustin, the American Black civil rights leader, urged last night that the groups which worked for freedom for Angela Davis “mobilize their strength now in the cause of freedom for Syrian Jews.” Rustin, director of the A. Philips Randolph Institute and a former associate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., addressed 400 Jews and non-Jews attending the first meeting of the recently formed Committee for the Defense of Syrian Jews here.
He said it was inconceivable that Syrian Jews were deprived of their civil rights, including their right to higher education. He supported the committee’s plea to the Syrian government to permit its 4000 Jewish citizens to emigrate. Rustin said he was gratified that some Arab leaders, such as the late President Gamel Abdel Nasser of Egypt, allowed Jews to leave their countries if they wished.
The committee adopted a resolution urging the Syrian government to permit Jewish emigration and to “cease its discrimination against the pathetic remnants of a once prosperous and numerous Jewish community.” Father Don Mathys, Abbot of the Saint Benoit monastery here, delivered the invocation. He reminded the audience of the Vatican II injunction against persecution and anti-Semitism wherever it may occur. Former Canadian Premier John Diefenbaker sent a telegram supporting the committee’s aims. Mrs. Therese Casgrain, a former member of the Canadian Senate, presided.