NEW YORK (Oct. 28)
American Jews are planning mass demonstrations in Washington if and when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev goes there for a summit meeting with President Reagan, Morris Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said here Wednesday.
The chances of a summit appeared more likely this week as both Washington and Moscow announced that Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze would arrive in Washington on Friday, apparently in part to discuss the possibility of a Gorbachev visit.
Demonstrations planned to coincide with the summit will bring Jews from all over the country in support of President Reagan’s demand from Gorbachev “for the full redemption of Soviet Jews,” Abram said at a wide-ranging luncheon briefing for representatives of the Israeli and American Jewish media.
He said that despite the glasnost (openness) policy in the Soviet Union and the release of almost all of the Jewish long-time refuseniks and prisoners of conscience, Soviet Jews are still not given permission to emigrate freely.
Abram said the situation of Soviet Jews was discussed with Secretary of State George Shultz in at least four meetings Shultz had with Jewish leaders in recent weeks. He praised Shultz’s commitment to the freedom of Soviet Jewry and his unflagging efforts on their behalf.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Presidents Conference, added that Shultz knows as much about Soviet Jewry as any American Jewish leader and knows the names of individual refuseniks and their cases.
CAMPAIGN TO RESCIND U.N. RESOLUTION
Abram said another matter on the agenda of the Presidents Conference is the major campaign already under way to rescind the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 1975 equating Zionism with racism.
According to Abram, the resolution “is more damaging than the Protocols of the Elders of Zionism. Therefore it is imperative to mobilize all forces against this infamous resolution.”
Abram said that in his conversations with Shultz, the secretary of state accepted the request that the United States “put its forces” behind the campaign to rescind the anti-Zionist resolution. He predicted that when the General Assembly opens its session next fall, a majority of the countries will favor such action.
A sense-of-the-Senate resolution urging the United Nations to support efforts to have the General Assembly rescind the resolution was adopted last Friday night. It was introduced by Daniel Moynihan (D-N.Y.). A similar resolution has been introduced in the House by Reps. Hamilton Fish and Benjamin Gilman (both R-N.Y.).
Abram also reported that he has been informed by United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar that he will announce on Oct. 31 his decision on whether to open files on Nazi war criminals at the U.N. archives in New York. The 17 former members of the defunct United Nations War Crimes Commission, which originally maintained the file, will meet again on Oct. 30 on the issue. To date they have been unable to reach unanimous agreement on opening the file.
Abram said “I have full faith in the secretary general in this matter.” He added that he had pointed out to the secretary general recently that he has the authority to open the files to public inspection regardless of the attitude of the former members of the war crimes commission.
Abram said the Presidents Conference supports the State Department’s order to close the Palestine Information Office in Washington, because there is a “legal basis” to do so. He said that while the conference would like to see the Palestine Liberation Organization’s observer office in New York closed, there is no legal basis at present because it is operated under U.N. jurisdiction.