THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 8
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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8 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

b“Convocation on the Challenge of Building Peace” was con- bvened at the New York Hilton and was honored by the bpresence of then Under Secretary of State Elliot Richard- bson. More important was a ten-man Soviet delegation bheaded by the famous Soviet physicist and vice president of bthe Soviet Academy of Sciences, Mikhail D. Million- bshchikov. The convocation, which broke up into panels, was ban important effort on the part of both the American and bSoviet governments to implement their top-priority foreign bpolicy aim of détente.

bThus, it was a furious Mr. Millionshchikov who stormed bout of the room when a number of JDL people stormed into bit and interrupted a speech by Astronaut Colonel Frank bBorman to demand the right to speak to the panel. “Those bwho sit here and seek peace and security for themselves bhave no right to do so at the expense of freedom and justice bfor Soviet Jewry,” they asserted. Moments earlier, a second bJDL group had physically battled its way into a large panel bthat featured Georgi A. Arbatov, Director of the Academy bof Science’s Institute of the USA.

bThe panel chairman was Harvard economist John Ken- bneth Galbraith. Arbatov sat staring coldly at the audience as bI demanded and received two minutes to address the audi- bence and told them no one would ever have freedom unless bSoviet Jews had theirs. The audience listened quietly and bnot a few applauded.

bThe attacks on “culture” brought down furious criticism. bThe lovers of culture—who love art more than they love bpeople—reacted with an indignation one never dreamed bthey were capable of. That which we had never heard on bbehalf of Jews in the USSR suddenly erupted with a mighty broar on behalf of “culture.” It was outrageous to interrupt a bconcert or to desecrate a symphony, for art was above poli- btics. The JDL answer was given at a February 5 press confer- bence at the Overseas Press Club in New York when I stated:

b“Aside from the general purpose of highlighting the bproblem, our purpose is also to attack a program (the cul- btural exchange program) that is the deadly enemy of our befforts to awaken US citizen indignation to Soviet tyranny. bIt is impossible to arouse indignation when artists, athletes, b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 8
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper