William Scranton, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, termed the beatings of a group of Soviet Jews Last week and the arrest of 25 activists as the latest “instance of unashamed barbarism in the Soviet Union.” He declared, “At all times, working through the Helsinki accords, we must pressure the movement of that totalitarian system towards standards for human rights.”
The envoy was guest speaker at the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s award dinner at the Pierre Hotel honoring W. Averell Harriman, former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Tatsuro Goto, president of Mitsui (U.S.) as “Men of Conscience.” The Foundation is an interreligious organization headed by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of the Park East Synagogue. Some 500 Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Greek Orthodox religious and communal leaders attended the dinner.
Taking note of criticisms of American policy, particularly as they relate to those countries where freedoms are being suppressed, Scranton said: “What part of our ideology justifies cooperation with such a regime? Simply put, it is this. Today, in a world dominated by tensions between nuclear superpowers, events on any continent can jar the delicate web of global balance. The probable alternative to peace is not just war but mutual annihilation. One of our primary foreign policy goals is therefore to maintain that peace, to reduce suspicion and rivalry.”
RABBIS PROTEST ARRESTS
In a development related to the Soviet Jewry developments, 30 New York area rabbis chained themselves to the fence at the UN today in protest against the arrest of the Jewish activists. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spokesman for the Ad Hoc Committee of Concerned Rabbis for Soviet Jewry, read a statement which said, in part:
“We, rabbis of the New York metropolitan area, have chained ourselves to the fence of the United Nations. We have taken this action to call upon the UN to act on behalf of the Soviet Jews now imprisoned for protesting the denial of their most elemental rights….
“We cannot be indifferent to their struggle…. We call upon the UN, the leaders of this nation, our fellow clergy, and all who care about human rights to speak out in support of Soviet Jews’ fight for freedom.” Lookstein is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun and vice-chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry.
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.