Jewish Groups Charge Fulbright Appeases Despotism, Oppression
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Groups Charge Fulbright Appeases Despotism, Oppression

Download PDF for this date

Two national Jewish organizations today accused Sen. J. William Ful-bright of “disdain” for the moral considerations of U.S.-Soviet trade relations and “appeasement” of “totalitarian despotism and oppression.” The American Jewish Congress, in a statement by its president Rabbi Arthur-Hertzberg, and Harold Ostroff, president of the Workmen’s Circle, denounced the Arkansas Democrat’s speech last Wednesday attacking the Jackson Amendment.

Fulbright chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an address to the American Bankers Association in Washington that the Jackson Amendment amounted to interference in Russia’s internal affairs and would “redress only one of many injustices of the Soviet system.” He contended that the amendment was flawed in that it supported the right of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union but ignored “the right of Palestinians to return to the homes from which they were expelled.”

Rabbi Hertzberg declared that “Senator Ful-bright’s statement betrays an ignorance of the most important facts concerning the emigration policies of foreign governments” and “displays an depressing disdain for the most significant moral considerations of American-Soviet trade relations.”

He said that “The fact is that only the Communist-bloc countries deny their citizens the right and opportunity to emigrate. . . The fear expressed by Senator Fulbright that the Jackson Amendment would require us to cut off trade with an indeterminate number of countries’ is therefore utterly without foundation.” Rabbi Hertzberg stressed that while the AJ Congress supports detente, “a major obstacle to that detente lies in the Soviet policy of restricting emigration. . . The most appropriate use of America’s economic might is to help those struggling for human freedom.”


Ostroff accused-Fulbright of raising the “spectre of an American brand of appeasement.” He charged that Fulbright’s “allusion. . . to the plight of Palestinian Arabs and comparing them to the plight of Soviet Jews” Is “an effort to light the fuses of Arab terrorism and extinguish the flames of hope for Soviet Jews.”

The Workmen’s Circle president added: “For a man who applauded the actions of Governor (Orville) Fanbus at Little Rock (Ark.) and who has remained mute about Wounded Knee, his own dismal record on civil and human rights hardly qualifies him to lecture the 77 Senators and 185 House members who support the Jackson Amendment. . . .His opposition to the ratification of the Genocide Convention is strange for a man who talks about detente in this world.”

Fulbright’s speech was also assailed by Rabbi Samuel Kenner, chairman of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston. “For such a powerful voice in Congress on the immorality of this nation’s involvement in Southeast Asia to now propose that moral concern by this nation’s Congress for the freedom and human rights of all those persecuted who seek to leave their prison (not only the Jewish people). . .is to deny the moral premise on which this nation was founded,” Rabbi Kenner said.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund