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Ajcongress Demands Assurances Soviets Won’t Bar Jews at Olympics

The American Jewish Congress has called on the United States Olympic Committee to demand assurances that the Soviet Union will not discriminate against Soviet Jews or Jewish visitors from abroad when it hosts the 1980 Olympics. Howard M. Squadron, president of the AJCongress, declared:

“We have been informed that Chief Rabbi Bent Melchior of Denmark has been denied a visa to Moscow as a tourist, ostensibly because hotels in that city are booked and the rabbi would have no place to stay. This despite the fact that Rabbi Melchior’s travelling companion–Erik Holst, a member of the Danish Parliament–was granted a visa though he, too, had no hotel reservation.”

Squadron called upon the United States Olympic and International Olympic committees to take adequate steps to assure: the unhampered participation at the Games of all athletes and their coaches and trainers; the equitable distribution of tickets, hotel space and airline seats to visitors from all countries; the non-discriminatory distribution of tickets to citizens and tourists; and the unimpeded attendance at the Games of all ticket-holders, including Soviet Jews.

Moscow’s treatment of Melchior “underscores the fact that there is reason for concern,” Squadron stated. “We need a concerted effort to prevent comparable abuse and discrimination, direct or indirect, against any who may be affected by the Moscow Games, whether as athletes, spectators or residents.”

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