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700 New Yorkers Protest Terrorism Against Jews in Western Europe

Public officials, religious leaders and members of the diplomatic corps joined over 700 other New Yorkers at a memorial gathering at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan yesterday to protest acts of terrorism against Jewish communities in Western Europe.

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York and its 30 member agencies, the program memorialized the victims of the October 20th synagogue bombing in Antwerp, as well as those maimed and killed in a series of attacks on Jewish communal institutions in Paris, Vienna, Antwerp, Rome and other cities over the past 12 months.

JCRC President Laurence Tisch, who presided at the gathering, called for “a reawakening of conscience by decent people the world over that may result in sterner government action by our own country and by the international community against those who have displayed so little regard for human life and the fabric of our civilization.”

SILENCE CONTRIBUTES TO TERRORISM

Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations deplored the fact that anti-Semitism “is no longer unfashionable, as we discovered in the long AWACS fight. When the UN adopts anti-Zionist resolutions and Europe and the third world stands silently by”, Squadron said, “we know they are talking about us and contributing to an atmosphere that allows synagogues to be attacked. Every threat to Israel threatens Jews everywhere. We must therefore give the world the message that there is no distinction — being Jewish is being Zionist and supporting and defending Israel, and the world will just have to live with that,” he said.

N. Y. State Attorney General Robert Abrams called the Antwerp bombing “another blow at humanity that is part of an upsurge of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in many parts of the world, including here in the United States.” New York City Council President Carol Bellamy cited the hate mail received by many Senators prior to last week’s AWACS vote as indicative of the “anti-Semitism that still exists just beneath the surface of American life. In Antwerp two weeks ago,” she said, “we saw old demons in new clothing. We must assure that our collective voice is heard — be it a bombing in Antwerp or vandalism in Brooklyn — because silence and inaction can only be interpreted as tolerance,” she said. City Comptroller Harrison Goldin called the day’s gathering a way to tell the world that Americans see terrorism as an affront to civilization.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-L-R-N. Y.) called on New Yorkers “to continue to hold hands and see to it that hatred and intolerance do not become contagious.”

BELGIAN CONSUL REASSURES JEWISH COMMUNITY

Ambassador Baron de Vieschauwer, the Consul-General of Belgium, noted that his Prime Minister had voiced “what every Belgian feels – indignation at this senseless murder,” and had assured the Jewish community his government would do all it could to safeguard its security and intended to take part in any international initiative to oppose all kinds of terrorism.

Ambassador Naftalie Lavie, the Consul-General of Israel in New York, lamented the fact that Israel had had to learn to deal with terrorism “and warned the world about it, but in vain.” Tolerance of terrorism, whether voluntary or induced by fear, can only encourage further terrorist acts, Lavie said.

Rabbi Judah Washer, President of the New York Board of Rabbis, recited psalms for the victims of the recent attacks.

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