NEW YORK (Jan. 5)
A spokesman for the Jewish Defense League said today that 12 members occupied the offices here of the American Friends Service Committee in an effort to persuade the Quaker group to cancel plans for a national conference near Washington Feb. 11-14. The Friends, in a statement last month, said the purpose of the conclave was to take the opportunity in the period immediately after the new Administration is installed to induce President Jimmy Carter and Congress to include the Palestine Liberation Organization in any Mideast peace negotiations.
The JDL spokesman said that, unless the Quakers accede to the JDL the members plan to stay overnight. Asked what the plans of the protesters were in the event the Quakers did not agree by tomorrow morning to cancel the February conference, the spokesman said “We’ll play it by ear.” He said the initial response of Quaker officials was to start discussing the demand with the protesters and that they did not call police.
The JDL said that it had been asking for four years that the Friends act on behalf of Syrian Jews. Mrs, Bonnie Pechter, JDL director, said the Quakers were “the only group with the power to get into Syria and help relieve the misery of the 4000 Jews imprisoned there.” She said the Quakers “have repeatedly though of excuses not to intervene” in Syria though they “do not hesitate to rush to the aid of the PLO, a terrorist gang responsible for the deaths of innocent Jewish men, women and children.”