TEL AVIV (Oct. 2)
Louis A. Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, said today that Jews should “bless” President Nixon for the manner in which he deals with the issue of Soviet Jewry. He stressed, however, that the struggle over the visa fees demanded of educated Jews is not over and appealed to Jews all over the world to continue to press the fight vigorously.
Jewish Agency sources in Jerusalem said later that Pincus’ encouragement of a continued public outcry over the ransom was not at variance with Nixon’s policies. Pincus, addressing the first convention of the “Prisoners of Zion,” a Russian emigre group, said, “if President Nixon declares he is informed of the problem and wants to deal with it in his own way, we have to bless him for it.”
He added that whatever Nixon does need not prevent any action on behalf of Soviet Jews on the part of world Jewry. “Israel will not be quiet until this ransom law is abolished,” he said. “If we give in on this we may face even more oppression. It is a struggle not only for aliya but for the survival of our nation. The struggle will be long and we cannot limit it.” Pincus declared. He referred to last month’s London conference of Jewish leaders to deal with the visa fees and noted that “Nothing has happened since then…that can free the Jewish people from the public struggle” against the exit charges.
President Nixon last week told a group of American Jewish leaders supporting his re-election that he preferred to work through “diplomatic channels” to help Soviet Jews and that he did not want to “demagogue about” the matter or “engage in harsh confrontation” with Soviet leaders which he claimed would be “counter-productive” to the interests of Soviet Jews. Nixon’s supporters praised the President’s stand but other American Jewish leaders criticized his position as ineffective as long as it finds no expression in practical action.
Another speaker at today’s conference, Absorption Minister Natan Peled said, “We shall be able to reach achievements in our struggle for aliya from Russia only if Israel and the Jewish nation form a united front to prove to the Russians that their policy of persecution, which now takes the form of ransom demands, will undermine Russia’s own essential interests.” Leaders of the Prisoners of Zion organization said the aims of the group were the release of all Jewish prisoners in the USSR. They demanded that Moscow compensate Jews for the years they were held in prison.