Washington (Dec. 10)
B’nai B’rith International today appealed to the government of Ethiopia to save that nation’s Jewish population from a reign of terror conducted by the governor of the Province of Gondar.
Noting that today is the 33rd anniversay of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Philip Lax, chairman of the International Council of B’nai B’rith, charged in a letter to Tesfaye Demeke, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States that the governor “has lawlessly imprisoned, tortured and killed Ethiopian Jews. He has failed to enforce the government’s land reform program, thus permitting Jewish peasants who seek to gain control of the land that is now lawfully theirs to be shot and killed by their vengeful former landlords.”
The B’nai B’rith leader charged also that the governor of Gondar has refused to allow visits to the province’s Jews by their co-religionists from other countries. “On this day consecrated to the equality of all individuals and peoples, we ask the government of Ethiopia to move swiftly to ensure that the rights of Ethiopian Jewry, guaranteed by the Ethiopian revolution, are respected by all its officials … and urge the government permit, on humanitarian grounds, the universally sanctioned reunification of families,” Lax said.
He pointed out that B’nai B’rith’s concern has been heightened by reports in recent months from observers returning from Ethiopia as well as from press reports about conditions of Jews there. He asked Demeke to pass on the request to officials in Addis Ababa.