Remembering John Lewis’s Plea for Soviet Jewry

July 23, 2020 | John Lewis
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The famed civil-rights activist and long-time Georgia congressman John Lewis died last week at the age of eighty. In 1982, Lewis, who worked to maintain good relations with the Jewish community, helped establish the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition. Although his record of support for Israel was not unblemished—he joined many of his fellow Democrats in boycotting Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 address to Congress—it was nonetheless admirable, and included the denunciation of the movement to boycott the Jewish state. Perhaps most importantly, the congressman was willing to condemn Louis Farrakhan forcefully for his anti-Semitism, when other mainstream figures, both black and white, equivocated or ignored it.

At a 1987 rally, Lewis gave a moving speech about the plight of Soviet Jewry, which can be viewed at the link below. (Video, three minutes.)

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