BRUSSELS (Feb. 3)
The Belgian government is standing firm against concerted pressure by Arab and Soviet diplomats to have it cancel the Second World Conference on Soviet Jewry to be held here Feb. 17-19. The pressure is being applied to Belgian ambassadors in Arab countries and the USSR, through articles in the Arab and Soviet press and political statements in those countries.
The Soviet Deputy Minister of Interior was quoted today as calling the conference a “provocation” He said that “if Soviet Jews do not emigrate it is because they have been disappointed by Israel.”
The Belgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement today stressing that “It has traditionally been Belgium’s policy to permit all conferences as long as they do not create a public disturbance or are contrary to public morals.” The statement said that the government would grant permission for similar conferences, if requested to do so, “on behalf of other communities such as the Palestinians.”
The statement noted that the ministers and members of parliament who will participate in the World Conference on Soviet Jewry will do so “as private persons” and not as representatives of the government.