NEW YORK (Mar. 13)
In what they declare “one of the most dramatic moments, perhaps one of the major turning points in Russian Jewish history,” 250 Jewish refusniks from cities across the USSR have issued a statement saying that “we shall very soon feel and experience the full depth of anti-Jewish prejudice being stirred up to vomit forth from the mouth of the volcano,” the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) and Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) reported today. The statement warned:
“During the last few months, we have seen an escalation in the growing stream of harassments against Jews. Today, it is an accusation of spying and treason in the newspapers. From there, it is not far to a dreadful trial. Already, all around us, we can hear the echos and murmurs of this anti-Jewish feeling in the streets, shops, buses, metro and schools where our children are pupils. Yesterday, it was only the refusniks under threat. Today, it is every Jew in the Soviet Union who is a potential victim for sacrifice.
“At this serious and dangerous moment in our lives we want you to know that no treachery, threat or libel can intimidate us. We shall continue to fight for our freedom. We shall do everything in our power to restore and maintain the honor and dignity of our people.”
Heading the list of singers were the three accused in March 4th’s Izvestia–Visdimir Slepak, Alexander Lerner and Anatoly Sharansky. The SSSJ and UCSJ said that the three also issued a separate appeal to Israel’s Knesset stating that “the Jews of Russia once again feel hanging over their heads the sword of Damocles of repression, persecution and pogrom. The situation is such that we feel exactly like hostages in the hands of terrorists who acknowledge no laws, national or international, and who are ready to take extreme measures at any moment.”