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Plan Unveiled to Respond to New Soviet Crackdown on Jews

November 28, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, announced today that initial steps are being taken by his group and its constituents to respond to the Soviet Union’s new crackdown on Jews.

His announcement followed telephone calls placed yesterday by the five New York City borough presidents to top public officials in the Soviet Union to urge an immediate end to the new wave of trials and the stepped-up persecution of Soviet Jews. They also spoke with Aleksander Luntz and Vladimir Slepak, leading Jewish activists, in Moscow, who said the situation “is worser than ever before. There is more harassment and more trials.” They cited the case of Aleksandr Feldman of Kiev who was sentenced to 3 1/2 years imprisonment last week.

The borough presidents, who made the telephone calls in the “action center” at City Hall to “dramatize to the Soviet government the deep concern among all Americans about this renewed surge of anti-Semitism in the USSR,” also cabled Soviet Communist Party Chairman Leonid I. Brezhnev demanding a halt to the harassment of Jews seeking to leave the USSR.

Hoenlein charged that the USSR “is taking advantage of events in the Middle East to intensify its harassment of Jews trying to emigrate from Russia.” The borough presidents pledged to continue their efforts in concert with the New York Conference to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jews.

Outlining plans, Hoenlein said a resolution will be introduced in the New York City Council urging the U.S. government to speak out against the trials, and to warn that further harassment of Soviet Jews can only serve to seriously hamper efforts to achieve a genuine detente; and tens of thousands of area residents are wiring President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger to urge that they intervene and call on the Soviet Union to call a halt to the trials.

In addition. Hoenlein said bar associations and civic, fraternal, and religious organizations that represent tens of thousands of people in the Metropolitan area are raising their voices in protest against the upsurge in the persecution of Soviet Jews; and a number of area Congressmen plan to speak out soon on the new crisis on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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