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Thousands Protest Soviet Exit Fees: Justice Demanded for Soviet Jewry

Several thousand people lined the streets of the garment center during lunch hour today to protest the new exit fees being levied by the Soviet Union on Jews who wish to emigrate. Leading political and civic leaders termed the new development “ominous” and called on the American people to speak out against this “denial of freedom.” The crowds of protestors, carrying placards and shouting slogans, were joined by many passers-by at the rally which was sponsored by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R. NY) demanded “justice for Soviet Jewry as a condition for close economic relations with the USSR in trade and finance. Nations, like individuals, must not be allowed to use stratagems and circumventions of human rights to deprive even their own citizens of basic internationally-accepted rights,” he said. Javits claimed that the Soviets’ “ransom” techniques are similar to those of Adolf Eichmann, who tried to exchange Jews for motor trucks during World War II.

Calling it “our cause,” Mayor John V. Lindsay blasted the new Soviet policy as a “blatant act of extortion.” “The denial of freedom to any human being is equal to the denial of freedom to every human being,” he said. “New Yorkers, who live in the cradle of liberty, must raise the issue with the Soviet Union until the brave families are freed,” he stated.

NO FREEDOM WITHOUT DIGNITY

Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. George McGovern, who was greeted by loud cheers and

Additional speeches were given by E. Howard Molisani, first vice-president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Paulina Korenblit, a recent emigre from the Soviet Union whose husband Mikhail was sentenced to seven years at hard labor during the Leningrad trials of 1971. Molisani stated that he was “opposed to ransom and kidnapping,” which he labeled the Soviet policy towards Jews. Mrs. Korenblit told the crowd that she “was counting on you” and that she knew “that you would never forget the suffering of your brothers.”

The rally was closed with a group singing of “Am Yisroel Chai,” which had been shouted at intervals throughout the rally itself. Signs representing Jewish groups from Washington and New York were waved throughout the rally. Placards in support of Syrian Jewry were also evident among the crowds.

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