THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 46
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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46 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bCharles Bray condemned the “senseless acts of vandalism” band JDL coordinator Neil Rothenberg declared that “we bapplaud all actions that might lead to freedom for Soviet bJews.”

bThey not only might, they already were. Despite all the bwarnings by everybody that JDL actions would exacerbate bthe situation for Russian Jews, on February 15 it was sud- bdenly announced that a number of Soviet Jewish activists bhad been granted exit visas for Israel, after years of refusal. bThey included the parents and family of Yasha Kazakov b(the father had been an open irritant to the Soviets); David bDrabkin, his wife, and daughter; Sarah and Edward bGurevich; and Vadim Barshavsky, his wife, and child.

bIt was only the beginning of a process of concessions that bwe had insisted must come. On March 2, thirty Soviet bJewish activists in Moscow were told that they would be bgiven permission to emigrate and by the middle of that bmonth it was clear that a stupendous and revolutionary bchange had taken place. The March 16 issue of the New York bPost carried a copyrighted Los Angeles Times dispatch from bMoscow under the banner headline “Soviet Letting Jews bOut at Record Rate.” The story read:

b“An average of about twenty-five Jews a day are now bbeing allowed to go to Israel in a wave of emigration unprec- bedented in the fifty-three-year history of the Soviet bUnion. The emigrants represent all age levels and virtually ball occupational levels except the very highest, despite re- bpeated public pronouncements by Soviet officials that Jews bof military age and those holding important position would bnot be permitted to leave.

b“Since the first of the year, more than 470 Soviet Jews bhave been allowed to emigrate to Israel, a figure far higher bthat the 92 recently disclosed in Jerusalem. Last year about b1,000 Soviet Jews were permitted to leave, which represents ban average of about 83 per month. The rate thus far this byear is 188 per month.”

bThe eventual rate would go much higher because if any- bone was satisfied with the change in Soviet policy it was not bJDL. We understood exactly what was happening because bwe had “programmed” it. The Russians, master business- b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 46
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper