NEW YORK (Oct. 7)
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Icelandic government have agreed that an eight-member NCSJ delegation will fly to Iceland Friday for a press conference and return immediately to New York.
Earlier. Iceland’s Prime Minister, Steingrimur Hermansson, had denied landing rights to a delegation of 50 U.S. Jewish leaders who wanted to protest Soviet treatment of Jews during the October 11-12 U.S.-Soviet summit meeting in Reykjavik.
Hermansson was reported as saying that “I hope that these Jewish people will just stay at home because I want to avoid any demonstrations.” Some members of Congress immediately responded with calls for President Reagan to repudiate that statement.
However, an NCSJ spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tuesday that NCSJ staffer Jerry Strober and Icelandic officials had come to an agreement.
“It’s not that Iceland won’t allow us in,” explained the spokesperson. “They have tremendous problems with security. They negotiated this as a compromise. They want a Jewish presence.”
The delegation, to be led by NCSJ chairman Morris Abram and executive director Jerry Goodman, will fly into Iceland at 9 a.m. Friday, hold an 11 a.m. press conference at an as yet undetermined site and depart Iceland at 3 p.m., the spokesperson said. The six other delegates have not yet been determined.
In addition, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Arnold Resnicoff, a Conservative rabbi, will be sent to Iceland to lead Yom Kippur services for U.S. Jewish personnel assigned there during the summit, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council reported.