NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
Six persons demanding that a statement be read over West German television urging the German people to oppose their government’s plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia staged a peaceful sit-in at the West German Consulate General here today.
The sit-in, organized by Americans for a Safe Israel, began this morning. Hans Rehfeld, Press and Political Officer at the Consulate, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency late this afternoon that the sit-in was still in progress and that “as long as they are nice and behave themselves,” they can remain on the premises. The Consulate General is located on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Rehfeld said he conferred with the group, on and off during the day and indicated their demands would not be met. He suggested that if they wished to have a statement broadcast, they should contact the West German television which has an office in New York.
The sit-in coincided with the arival in Israel today of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for a fiveday official visit. A spokesperson for Americans for a Safe Israel told the JTA that the participants in the sit-in included Rabbi Avraham Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and Father Bruce Bramleff, Rector of St. Marks Episcopal Church in Teaneck, N.J. In addition, there were two Holocaust surviyors, Alex Friedman and Madelaine Oklavek.
The statement they wanted read on German TV called on the German people to “realize that no matter what rationalization your government puts forth in the arms deal, the (money) you are receiving is being obtained in exchange for the murder of Jews. It is blood money…”
The statement added, “It is inconceivable that today the German government and German people are now again propared to become accomplices in the war against the Jews. You are repeating history. We appeal to you to pressure your government to stop this horrendous act before it is too late…”
Rehfeld told the JTA, ” We have respect for the concerns of the Jewish people.”