Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews

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Freedom Sunday Rally
Freedom Sunday Rally Poster
Logo for the rally
Date December 6, 1987 (1987-12-06)
Location Washington, D.C.
Participants Jewish activists and supporters

Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews was the title of a national march and political rally that was held on December 6, 1987 in Washington, D.C. An estimated 250,000 participants gathered on the National Mall, calling for U.S.S.R. President Gorbachev to extend his policy of Glasnost to Soviet Jews by putting an end to their forced assimilation and allowing their emigration from the Soviet Union.[1] The rally was organized by a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations. At the time, it was reported to be the “largest Jewish rally ever held in Washington.”[2]

Objectives[edit]

On Sunday, December 6, 1987, the eve of the Washington, D.C. Summit [1] between Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated [2] on the National Mall in an unprecedented display of solidarity for Soviet Jewry. The mass mobilization, organized by a broad-based coalition that included the National Conference for Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), brought activists from across the United States to demand that Gorbachev extend his policy of Glasnost to Soviet Jews by putting an end to their forced assimilation and allowing their emigration from the USSR.

History[edit]

The rally—reported at the time to be the “largest Jewish rally ever held in Washington”[2]—showed “clearly where the real strength of American Jewish organizations existed,” wrote historian Henry L. Feingold. It was “not in negotiating with sovereign powers that gave no assurance that they would implement what might be agreed to. The giant Washington rally of 6 December 1987 demonstrated that public relations techniques to focus attention on the plight of Soviet Jewry had become a formidable skill developed by the American Soviet Jewry movement.”[3]

The second largest Jewish rally held in Washington took place on April 16, 2002, when pro-Israel organizers, led by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, managed to gather upwards of 100,000 people in front of the Capitol on one week's notice.[4]

Speakers[edit]

Speakers and performers at the rally included:[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Friedman, David (December 9, 1987). "Human Rights, Arms Control Top Reagan-gorbachev Agenda". JTA. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Friedman, David (December 9, 1987). "Human Rights, Arms Control Top Reagan-gorbachev Agenda". JTA. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ Feingold, Henry(2006). Silent No More: Saving the Jews of Russia, The American Jewish Effort, 1967-1989’. Syracuse University Press, New York. ISBN 0815631014.
  4. ^ Jordan, Michael J. (April 16, 2002). "‘We Knew We Had to Come,’ Say Jews Gathered at Pro-israel Rally". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Friedman, David (December 9, 1987). "C-SPAN Video of the Freedom Sunday Rally". JTA. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]