On March 20th at 3:00 pm, I will participate in a panel discussion at the Left Forum, (to be held at Pace University, One Pace Plaza, across from City Hall Park in lower Manhattan- click here for directions via car or public transportation), entitled, "Exonerate The Rosenbergs? Robert & Michael Meeropol React to Morton Sobell and Other New Developments." This panel is sponsored by the National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case (NCRRC).
I will be joined by my brother, Michael; Miriam Schneir, co-author, Invitation to an Inquest; and David Alman, President of the NCRRC, founding Member of the original Rosenberg defense committee, and co-author of the forthcoming book, Exoneration: The Rosenberg-Sobell Case in the 21st Century (see my 3/3/10 blog post about this book). Gerald Markowitz, Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center, will chair the panel.
2008 was a momentous year in Rosenberg case history. That summer Miriam and Walter Schneir had several conversations with Morton Sobell that led to Mort’s September admission (to a New York Times reporter) that starting in World War II he and my father provided non-atomic military industrial information to the Soviet Union. Miriam will detail these conversations and provide insight into Mort’s motivations.
Next my brother will describe his reactions to Mort’s revelations and his subsequent conversations with Mort, as well as analyze the impact of the release of Ruth Greenglass’ Grand Jury testimony, also in September 2008, on our understanding of the case. Then I’ll share my take on Mort’s statements and how reading the testimony of dozens of Grand Jury witnesses deepened my understanding of my parents’ lives and political community, exposed outrageous abuses of the witnesses’ constitutional rights and revealed that the Grand Jury was not just about uncovering illegal activity.
Finally, David Alman will outline how anti-Semitism focused the spy-hunters on Jews and explain why my parents, and even Morton Sobell, deserve to be exonerated despite some of the defendants’ participation in illegal activity.
I am very excited about this panel. Its makeup is unprecedented. It is composed of four of the world’s leading experts on my parents’ case. We have our differences but share a progressive prospective, and none of us are insisting that both my parents were innocent.
I suppose at least a few readers are wondering how we can simultaneously acknowledge that Morton Sobell, Julius Rosenberg and others engaged in illegal activity, yet still call for their “exoneration.” More than one person I know has proclaimed hotly, “How can you exonerate people who are guilty!”
Go to Part 2 of this blog topic, where I explain this concept; and read my post-panel update here.
See videos of the Left Forum panel on the RFC's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wwwrfcorg. Click on the "UPLOADS" button and look fora series of videos with titles starting, "Left Forum...". (Thank you to videographer Joe Friendly for making this footage available.)
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