Menu JTA Search

150,000 at ‘solidarity Sunday’ Rally for Soviet Jews

About 150,000 people, according to police estimates, gathered at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the United Nations, for the tenth annual rally for Solidarity Sunday for Soviet Jewry today.

The marchers paraded for ten blocks down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, led by a group wearing prison uniforms to represent Jewish Prisoners of Conscience in Soviet prisons and labor camps. They carried pictures of Soviet prisoners Anatoly Shcharansky, Vladimir Kislik, Kim Fridman and those of many others jailed.

Richard Allen, National Security Advisor at the White House was greeted with boisterous chants of “No arms to Saudi Arabia.” Allen said that the United States’ “determination to oppose terrorism in no way contradicts our support for human rights.” This statement was greeted with more chants.

LARGEST RALLY EVER FOR SOVIET JEWS

Allen stressed that the foreign policy of the U.S. is essentially linked to human rights. Dr. Seymour Lachman, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, said Allen’s appearance was the highest Presidential representative sent to a gathering of this kind. Lachman also said that “this is the biggest demonstration for Soviet Jewry” in the history of the demonstrations.

Actress Jane Fonda, in what was believed to be her first appearance at a rally for Soviet Jews, said that Ida Nudel,now serving a prison term on trumped-up charges of hooliganism, had been convicted for “fighting for the right of Jews to emigrate.”

Gov. Hugh Carey of New York said that “we will not … avert our eyes or lower our voices or lessen our concern” for the rights of Soviet Jewry. “To do so would be not only to betray Soviet Jewry or Israel or our allies, it would be to betray ourselves.” He also said “the Soviet Union is put on notice that its violations of human rights, abrogation of international law, its intimidation of other nations and its disregard for the dignity of the individual, leave it outside the pale of civilized nations.”

losef Mendelevich, who was released recently from a Soviet prison and settled in Israel, received from Mayor Edward Koch the key to the city he was recently awarded. Mendelevich told the crowd “because of your prayers and hard work, I was finally able to leave the Soviet Union and to resume the practice of my Jewish faith without fear of persecution.” Fonda, Carey and Mendelevich were enthusiastically applauded at the rally.

Mayor Koch announced that a street would be named for Shcharansky “to serve as a reminder of the persecution of men and women” who battled for freedom.

Near the close of the rally, some 20 members of the Jewish Defense League demonstrated on Fifth Avenue in front of the office of Aeroflot, the Soviet airline. A bottle was thrown at the window which was apparently shatterproof. Nothing happened to the window but the bottle broke.

Some 20 police officers, many on horseback, forced the yelling JDL members away from the Aeroflot office. There were two arrests made.

NEXT STORY