Rev. Jesse Jackson Meets with Iranian Jewish Families Pledges to Intercede on Behalf of Imprisoned Jews
New York, New York, June 11, 1999
Calling the immediate release of 13 Jewish
prisoners in Iran a "moral imperative," the Rev. Jesse Jackson today agreed to
intercede on behalf of imprisoned rabbis, religious teachers and community activists
falsely accused of espionage by the Iranian government.
His announcement came after a meeting in Los Angeles arranged by Abraham H. Foxman,
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with Rev. Jackson and family
members of the imprisoned Jews. The families pleaded for Rev. Jacksons immediate
intervention on behalf of the Jews, who face a possible death sentence if convicted.
"We will gladly pursue, with all within us, humanitarian appeals for their
release," Rev. Jackson, President and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said in
a letter to the Iranian American Jewish Federation. "We have begun to contact the
appropriate Iranian political and religious leadership. We hope that our pleas and prayers
will not fall on deaf ears."
Rev. Jackson, who has spearheaded similar efforts on behalf of prisoners and hostages,
pledged to make every effort to gain freedom for the Iranian Jews, who have been held for
weeks without cause. The Iranian government earlier this week charged the 13 men with
spying for Israel and the United States, an accusation the families, prisoners, and both
governments vehemently deny.
"We must pursue the moral imperative," Rev. Jackson said.
Mr. Foxman, who has labeled the charges "trumped up" and baseless, praised
Rev. Jacksons swift resolve to offer aid. "We are extremely appreciative and
grateful for Rev. Jacksons help in securing the immediate release of these innocent
Jews," Mr. Foxman said.
Iranian Jewish community representatives hailed Rev. Jacksons involvement as a
major development in the case. "We are deeply grateful for your time and attention to
our concerns," Sam Kermanian, Secretary General of the IAJF, said in a letter to Rev.
Jackson. "We are convinced that your reputation as an advocate on behalf of
humanitarian and moral causes puts you in a unique position to help."
EDITORS NOTE: Copies of correspondence between Jackson and members of the Iranian
Jewish community are available by contacting ADLs Media Relations Department at
ADL Backgrounder - June 11, 1999
Arrest of 13 Iranian Jews
ADL Opinion - June 11, 1999
Iran Jews Held on Trumped Up Charges Must
ADL Press Release - June 8, 1999
ADL Outraged at Espionage Charges Against
Iranian Jews; Calls for Their Immediate Release
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.