Fifty-five Jewish and non-Jewish activists were arrested here yesterday for participating in a civil disobediance exercise protesting the harassment of Soviet Jews and other dissidents by the Soviet government.
While TV cameras rolled and supporters sang “We Shall Overcome,” 20 rabbis marched solemnly through police barricades to padlock themselves to the fence surrounding the Soviet Consulate. The contingent of clergymen was followed by groups of community leaders and other concerned citizens.
One by one, members of the San Francisco police force approached them, read them their rights and finally led them away to waiting vans which took them to the Hall of Justice. They were cited for tres-passing and obstruction of an officer in carrying out his duty and released.
“It’s absolutely essential that both the Soviet Union and the United States understand that you cannot separate issues of diplomacy from issues of integrity,” declared Rabbi David White of Congregation Kol Shofar.
The Rev. Douglas Huneke, one of several Christian clergymen participating in the demonstration, pointed out that the event would lift the spirits of refuseniks. “The word of the protest is going back to the Soviet Jews because of the press,” he said.
“We will never forget them, we will never stop doing this, not until the last Jew is free to leave,” added Lillian Foreman, president of the protest’s sponsor, the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews, and one of the lay leaders arrested.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.