WASHINGTON (Aug. 23)
About 400 members of the Jewish Defense League from some dozen major cities in the United States and Canada concluded their week-long march from Philadelphia to Washington on behalf of Soviet Jewry with a peaceful rally this afternoon at Lafayette Park. Many of the youthful male marchers, wearing fatigues, combat boots and yarmulkas, led by JDL national chairman Rabbi Meir Kahane, ended the rally by delivering a letter to the White House addressed to President Nixon urging him to “stand tall and firm in the Middle East as you have done elsewhere.” The letter, signed by Rabbi Kahane, called upon the President to “quietly drop the Rogers Plan that would destroy Israel,” and to support Israel “with all the weapons needed and tell the Soviets that their intervention will not be tolerated.” The letter deplored what it termed United States acquiescence to the Soviet plan which, under the “guise of diplomacy…would emasculate Israel and force it to return to the impossible borders that guarantee another war.” It also urged President Nixon not to let it be said “to your dishonor that the United States presided over the death of the nation it helped come into existence.”
The marchers, who began their trek last Sunday in protest against Soviet aggression in the Middle East and oppression of Jews in the Soviet Union, arrived in Washington on Friday and headed for the Soviet Embassy where they attempted to deliver a letter warning that “world Jewry cannot sit idly by while your armed forces emulate the Hitlerite fascists.” When an Embassy aide refused to accept the letter, Rabbi Kahane read aloud the contents of the letter which hinted that the JDL would increase their actions against Soviet missions to the U.S. and commercial firms unless their protest was heeded. “We wish to advise you that our patience is growing thin,” Rabbi Kahane read from the letter. “It is obvious that more plagues must be visited upon you.” Citing such events as the JDL seizure in New York of Tass, the Soviet news agency, Amtorg, the Soviet commercial firm, Intourist, the Soviet tourist agency, and a three-day protest in front of the Soviet embassy, Rabbi Kahane declared: “The forces of justice and freedom are too much for the gusanos of oppression and the pigs of tyranny. Let the Jews of the prison known as the USSR go.” The leader of the JDL had complained before the march began and during the course of the march, that his call to Jewish organizations to aid the marchers by providing housing and other facilities had met with little response. Seymour D. Wolf, president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the JDL had asked for no such aid from the Council, just to cooperate in the rally. The Council, Mr. Wolf said, is opposed to “vigilantism” and thus “does not recognize the institutionality” of the JDL” nor could it, under the circumstances, co-sponsor the rally. He said the Council did ask Jewish leaders in the area to give JDL “the hospitality in the traditional manner of Jews toward fellow Jews.” During a meeting Thursday night in Silver Spring, Md., Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., a congressional candidate from Montgomery County (Md.) and son of the Louisiana Representative Hale Boggs, said he would sponsor a House resolution on Soviet Jewry.