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U.S. Negro Leader Urges Americans to Protest Soviet Policy on Jews

June 11, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a top leader of the American Negroes, appealed last night to all Americans to “speak but against the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.” He made his appeal in a telegram sent to a mass-meeting here protesting Soviet suppression of Jewish culture and religion.

Expressing his regret that he could not attend the meeting in person, Rev. King said in his message: “We in the civil rights movement have repeatedly made clear our commitment to the freedom of all men regardless of color, race, or creed. In light of this principle, we deplore anti-Semitism as we deplore discrimination and segregation in Mississippi and Alabama.” He assured the audience that he will lift his voice against harassment of Jewish faith in Russia.

Morris B. Abram, U.S. Representative in the United Nations Human Rights Commission and president of the American Jewish Committee, told the meeting that “we do not say that the Soviets are operating gas ovens or firing squads against Jews.” But, said Mr. Abram, it was correct to emphatically charge “that the Soviet Union is harassing, persecuting and practicing willful discrimination against every person in its jurisdiction who was born a Jew and who wishes to remain one–to practice his religion, to retain cultural ties, to remain who he is, to continue the heritage from which he springs, and to pass that heritage to his children.” Mr. Abram pledged that protests would continue until discriminatory Soviet practices are halted.

The chairman of the Greater Washington Committee on the Plight of Soviet Jewry, Dean William E. Moran of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, said that many felt guilt and shame for inadequately responding to Nazi barbarity. In the face of present oppression of Jews by the USSR, he said, “we shall not be silent,” Dr. Moran stressed that special treatment of Jews was not being asked but only the same rights accorded other minority groups in the USSR.

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