WASHINGTON (May. 31)
Richard Sifter, a newly appointed United States deputy representative to the United Nations, has urged Jews to stop “fingerpointing” on what American Jewry did or did not do during the Holocaust and concentrate their efforts on helping Soviet Jewry.
“I for one believe that rather than spend time now to second guess what could or should have been done 45 years ago, we should focus on what it is we can do now for the two million Jews in the Soviet Union,” he said in receiving the Washington Jewish Week’s first annual Leadership Award last Thursday.
Shifter, who has been U.S. representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva since 1981, said that during the last ten years Soviet anti-Semitism has not just been aimed at restricting emigration or in arresting activists but “has engulfed all Jews, activists and non-activists. ” He said the situation today is “what it was during the days of the Czars.”
The 61-year-old Shifter was born in Vienna and lost both of his parents in the Holocaust. Now a Washington lawyer and Jewish activist, he said today that he left Germany at the age of 16 for the U.S. shortly after Kristallnacht.
Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne, who noted that he served on the Israeli delegation to the Human Right Commission, praised Shifter’s efforts there on behalf Soviet Jewry.
Dr. Leonard Kapiloff, publisher; Charles Fenyvesi, editor; and Clara Gordon, general manager of the Jewish Week, hosted the leadership lunchon at the Washington Hilton attended by some 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders from the Washington area.