NEW YORK (Dec. 4)
A petition calling on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the U.S. government and the Soviet Union to help alleviate the plight of Soviet Jews is being circulated by 12 national Jewish women’s organizations in more than 50 American cities.
The petition, which already has hundreds of thousands of signatures, is part of a nationwide Women’s Plea for Human Rights for Soviet Jewish Prisoners to take place Dec. 12. The event, timed to coincide with Human Rights Week, is sponsored jointly by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council.
The appeal is focussed on the more than 40 Jewish “prisoners of conscience” in the Soviet Union and their families, but it also applies to any Soviet Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel. Jacqueline Levine of Essex County, N.J., national chairman of the event, said, “We hope that our efforts will result in granting all basic human rights to Soviet Jewish prisoners of conscience whose only crime is their desire to emigrate in order to live as Jews.” She said that copies of the petitions will be mailed to Soviet officials and will be presented to U.S. and UN officials.
In Philadelphia, a bipartisan inter-faith coalition of women’s groups announced plans for a rally Dec. 12 to demand the restoration of human rights to Soviet Jewry. It will be held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum Auditorium. Mrs. Saul Beckman, national chairman of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the American Jewish Congress, said the event would be co-sponsored by 13 local Jewish organizations and has received “extensive cooperation” from the Fellowship Commission of the Archdiocese and the Jewish Community Relations Council.