THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 295
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain
 
 
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Wherever There Is Jewish Pain 295

bto be raised in every conversation, and usually the last. It has bcut down on American tourism, canceled cultural ex- bchanges, and deformed both official and unofficial contacts.

b“American officials find it an ‘insoluble problem,’ and bSoviet officials insist it could easily be solved ‘if the United bStates wanted it to be solved.’ ‘The Soviets are absolutely bconvinced to a man that if the Americans wanted to put an bend to it they could,’ says one American diplomat ruefully. b‘It casts a shadow over everything.’

b“The first strong Soviet reaction to the actions of the bleague—a small group of militant Jews centered in New bYork City who believe that by harassing Soviet diplomats in bthe U.S. they will help gain passage to Israel by Soviet bJews—came last Dec. 11.

b“On that day, in an exceptionally high exchange, an offi- bcial note was handed to the American ambassador by the bSoviets’ First Deputy Foreign Minister saying that the visit to bthe United States by the Bolshoi Ballet was called off be- bcause of the league. . . . A fifth American cultural ex- bchange group was recently refused here because of the bBolshoi cancellation, and one American official who is bhighly critical of the league admits that the Soviets ‘are in a bstrong bargaining position.’

b“The situation has also affected American tourism, some- bthing that disturbs the Soviets, who want more American btourists. Some travel agents have been told directly, ‘Don’t blet our harassment of American journalists and diplomats bdisturb you—that doesn’t apply to tourists.’ They were re- bferring to damage done to cars of American diplomats and bcorrespondents and to Soviet harassment of them in ex- bchange for picketing of Soviets in the United States.

b“A high official of Intourist, the government travel agen- bcy that handles all travel arrangements, said, for instance, b‘We had hoped for a 15 to 20 percent rise in American tour- bism this year, but we don’t know yet. We may be disap- bpointed. . . .’”

bThe practical results of all this were seen within a short btime. After decades of no emigration or at best of a few bhundred, mostly elderly people, in 1971 15,000 Soviet Jews b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 295
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain