NEW YORK (Jul. 16)
The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry held a demonstration yesterday against the Impending Soviet Union’s tax on charity dollars from abroad, claiming it is “blatant Injustice,” The demonstration, a mock fund drive in order to present 10,000 pennies to the Soviets, was held outside 280 Park Avenue, the location of the U.S.-USSR Trade and Economic Council.
Eugene Gold, Kings County District Attorney and Conference chairman, asserted that “if the Soviets are so desperately in need of money that they have to tax charity dollars–when they can afford to spend billions to send men into space–then they will accept these funds.”
The tax, which will go into effect January 1976, adds 30 percent to the already existing 35 percent on all money entering the country from abroad. Gold explained that “although this tax seeks to deprive individuals in the USSR of foreign assistance, the Soviets cannot hide their true intentions. The principal targets of this oppressive tax are Soviet Jews who have been fired from their jobs, and who rely on outside financial assistance merely to survive.”
OTHER GROUPS SUPPORT RALLY
Also present, in an endorsement of the demonstration, were representatives from Catholic Charities, United Negro College Fund, Goodwill Industries, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. The American Red Cross, Save the Children, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the Metropolitan Coordination Council on Jewish Poverty.
Margy Davis, associate director of the Conference, when asked why the Conference chose this particular site for their demonstration, replied, “We hoped that because this is a joint American-Soviet Council, they would intervene in our behalf.” The Council is composed of private American businessmen and the foreign trade organizations of the Soviet Union.
After a number of representatives explained the purpose of the demonstration to people gathered on the street, about 20 members of the Conference entered the building, in the company of security guards, to give the Soviets pennies. They were admitted into the building.
Malcolm Hoenlein, director of the Conference, still in the presence of the building’s security guards, spoke with an American member of the Council, William D. Forrester, director of communications. After a short dialogue, Hoenlein announced the Council’s statement to the group waiting in the hall. He stated, “Mr. Forrester of the Council assures us that although the Soviets will not accept the pennies, and although the Soviet members did not want to appear, he will deliver our message of complaint and outrage to the Soviets. They will receive notice of the purpose of our demonstration.”