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U.S. Jewish Leaders, Kahane, Rogers Say Firebombing Reprehensible

January 28, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

American Jewish leaders today denounced as “senseless,” “shameful” and a setback to the cause of Soviet Jewry the fire bombings yesterday of the offices of impressario Sol Hurok and of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. One woman was killed and 13 other persons were injured in the fire in Hurok’s office. Secretary of State William P. Rogers condemned the incident as “reprehensible and harmful to our national interest.” In Jerusalem, Rabbi Meir Kahane, chairman of the Jewish Defense League, said the perpetrators had to be “insane” and denied that any one connected with the JDL could have done this.

Rogers, speaking at a State Department forum for editors and broadcasters, said that the violence of the kind witnessed in the firebombing was “very serious indeed.” He noted that Soviet diplomats are “greatly concerned” by violence, which included the shooting into a Soviet official’s apartment at the Soviet Mission in New York several months ago.

Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, said he was “appalled” at the “abominable attack” and added that “the senseless brutality terribly damages and compromises the fight for Soviet Jews.” Rabbi Lelyveld, calling upon the police to “do everything possible to find those guilty of this atrocity,” declared: “Whoever did this thing, no matter what his motive, must be found and made accountable under our system of law.”

Philip E. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee, noting that it was not known who had committed the “despicable crimes,” said that until further evidence develops “it must be assumed that these crimes could have been perpetrated by irrational, anti-social elements in the community–fanatics, hooligans, provocateurs.” He contended that “the case of Soviet Jewry is placed in jeopardy by such actions.”

David M. Blumberg, president of B’nai B’rith, denounced the apparent bombings as “shameful and senseless” and asserted that “insane violence in the name of Soviet Jews is a cruel disservice to their struggle.” Rabbi Oscar Groner, assistant national director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, said college youths who are militant on behalf of Soviet Jewry were “outraged by such tactics that are undermining to a humanitarian cause.”

Jacob Stein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, declared: “We denounce without reservations this senseless act of violence. We cannot accept this as a legal form of protest–if it was a protest. We hope that the perpetrators will be caught speedily and punished to the fullest extent of the law.” Rabbi Seymour Siegal, professor of ethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, strongly condemned the “outrageous criminal acts.”

The condemnation of the blasts by Bertram Zweibon, national vice chairman of the Jewish Defense League, was repeated later yesterday afternoon in Jerusalem by Rabbi Meir Kahane, who said: “Anyone can say ‘never again,'” the JDL slogan that was used by anonymous phone callers to the news media just before the blast. “In the past, too, there have been several cases in which crimes have been committed and then someone phoned newspapers and said ‘Never again,'” Kahane stated.

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