The government of Iceland, stung by criticism that it is anti-Jewish, Tuesday granted permission for a handful of American Jewish leaders to fly here on the eve of the superpower conference for a few hours of quiet protest against the Kremlin's treatment of Soviet Jews.
Obviously upset by this criticism and suggestions that Iceland was abandoning its own traditions of liberty, [Steingrimur Hermannsson] and other officials quickly insisted that he had been misunderstood. They said he was not singling out the Jews but wanted all protest organizations to keep out of Iceland until the summit is over.
In an editorial Tuesday, Morgunbladid, the nation's largest newspaper, commented sharply: "We must welcome all those who come to Iceland in peace. Iceland has supported Israel very firmly in the United Nations, and Israel has the sympathy of Icelanders. There is no change in that, and it is unwise and a mistake for our leaders to make declarations that can be understood otherwise."