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Carson Urged by Two Soviet Jewry Committees to Refuse to Do Show in Moscow

August 4, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two Soviet Jewry organizations have asked entertainer Johnny Carson to refuse publicly the invitation to him by Intourist-Aeroflot to televise his “Tonight Show” from Moscow for two weeks. The California Students for Soviet Jews, based in Los Angeles, said the invitation should be rejected “on the grounds that anti-Semitism is still rampant in the Soviet Union and the Jews wishing to go to Israel are not permitted to do so.” Carson should accept only if the Soviet government “can promise him that all those Jews now incarcerated in prison and other Jews wanting to go to Israel would be permitted to do so.” said CSSJ chairman Zev Yaroslavsky. Referring to Carson’s questioning of whether a Russian audience would understand his jokes, Yaroslavsky declared: “This is no joking matter. Soviet treatment of Jews is a deadly serious matter of the struggle of a people to survive. If Carson goes to Moscow to tell jokes he will not be remembered favorably among those who struggled for freedom when Soviet Jewry had their backs to the wall.” Yaroslavsky recalled that, “knowing Carson’s concern for other people’s rights,” he wrote the NBC-TV star a year ago asking that he study the situation of Soviet Jews.

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