NEW YORK (May. 21)
An appeal to “those who are concerned with the fate of Jews who wish to emigrate from the Soviet Union” was issued by 42 Moscow Jewish activists to American Jews urging them not to be lulled by Soviet offers to grant token concessions on emigration rights if American Jews refrain from demonstrating during Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev’s visit to Washington next month.
The appeal noted that Dr. Henry Kissinger, President Nixon’s national security advisor, reportedly gave Brezhnev a list of Soviet Jews who, have been refused exit visas. The list was given to Dr. Kissinger by a group of American Jewish leaders who met with him just before he left for the Soviet Union earlier this month. When he returned, he told a White House press briefing that Soviet leaders were assured they would be treated with courtesy and respect during their visit, “and we have every hope that all Americans will bear in mind that Mr. Brezhnev will be here as a guest of the U.S. government for extremely important purposes in connection with the peace of the world.”
“PEACE . . . BUT NOT AT OUR EXPENSE”
The appeal stated, in part: “We want peace and prosperity for all, too–but not at our expense. We presume that in the next few weeks some well-known names will be offered in exchange for maintaining silence during Brezhnev’s visit. We congratulate the lucky ones. But remember, no Jew is worth more than another. No one’s liberty should be paid by the captivity of, and at the expense of, others. Only if all those families (who have been refused exit visas) are granted permission to leave could it be considered a gesture of good will that the Soviet Union is so eager to demonstrate, and that the civilized world would be eager to applaud. As long as those people are here, all promises made for the future will not be convincing.”
In addition, the appeal stated that “we must not forget the desire of our brothers and sisters presently in labor camps and prisons to go to Israel. Presently, without any need to change a line in Soviet legislation, their sentences can be revised.”
The appeal was released here by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and the Minnesota. Action Committee for Soviet Jewry. Among the signatories were Alexander Lerner, Vladimir Slepak, Kiril Henkin, Viktor Polsky and Alexander Voronel.