NEW YORK (Jun. 14)
The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry today mailed 30 packages to the Soviet Union for families of Jewish “Prisoners of Conscience.” The act came as a group of Congressmen and other public officials held a press conference on the steps of New York City’s Main Post Office to protest new Soviet restrictions going into effect in the Soviet Union tomorrow on the size and value of parcels being sent into the USSR.
Eugene Gold, chairman of the GNYCSJ, said the new restrictions are designed to further harass Soviet Jews and others who have been denied work after applying for exit visas. Rep. James Scheuer (D.NY) said that the action was a violation of the Helsinki agreement. He and the other Congressmen said they would seek legislative action. Richard Rosenbaum, Republican State Chairman, said the New York Republican Committee has asked Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon to intervene.
The new regulation will increase the duties on some packages by up to 200 percent, according to Malcolm Hoenlein, GNYCSJ executive director. Other participants in the press conference were Reps. Benjamin Gilman (R.NY) and Herman Badillio and Mario Biaggi, New York Democrats; City Comptroller Harrison Goldin and aides of Sen. Jacob Javits (R.NY) and Reps. Bella Abzug. John Murphy and Benjamin Rosenthal, all New York Democrats.
A similar protest against the new Soviet tax on parcels was held in San Francisco last week by the Ad Hoc Humanitarian Committee, which maintained a one-hour vigil outside of the Soviet Consulate.