NEW YORK (May. 16)
Some 70 people, most of them members of the American Jewish Congress, demonstrated today in front of the Iraq Mission to the United Nations to protest the murder of five members of the Kashkosh family in Baghdad April 12. The demonstrators carried placards which read “Stop the Murder of Iraqi Jews.”
Congressman Mario Biaggi and Assemblyman Albert Blumenthal, both candidates in the New York Democratic Mayoral primary, joined the protestors. Blumenthal, who arrived at the beginning of the demonstration, delivered a letter of protest addressed to Abdul Al-Shaikhly, Iraq UN ambassador. Biaggi attempted to deliver the same protest letter but it was not accepted, apparently after the contents of the letter were read in the Iraqi Mission.
The letter read in part: “I believe that no government with any pretense to civilization can permit such acts of mindless vengeance against its own innocent and defenseless population…. The horror of these murders has universal implications. No man of conscience can sit by in helpless silence while innocent civilians are gunned down for no reason except that they are Jews.”
Speaking to those present about the murder of Iraqi Jews, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress, said that these murders represent “a sickening descent into barbarism that demands our unremitting condemnation….world opinion cannot become so inured to violence or allow its sensibilities to become so coarsened as to remain silent and unconcerned in the face of such events,”
Rabbi Hertzberg also claimed that “The destruction of Iraqi Jewry obviously has been programmed by Iraqi authorities,” and called upon the UN and the Red Cross to investigate these incidents and to prevent their recurrence. At the end of his speech Hertzberg, along with other members of the Congress tried to deliver a letter of protest to Al Shaikhly but were turned down. During the 45 minute demonstration, employes of the Iraqi Mission peeped out through the window panes.