STARLIGHT, Pa. (Aug. 18)
The president of the American Association of University Professors said today that the Jewish commitment to social justice requires that those who resort to civil disobedience “must not show contempt for law and order” and in such protests they must act to “inflict minimal harm upon the community.”
Dr. David Fellman, a University of Wisconsin professor of political science, discussed the issue at the international convention here of the Aleph Zadek Aleph, the B’nai B’rith youth organization. Dr. Fellman is an alumnus of the first AZA chapter in Cmaha.
In outlining the limits of civil disobedience to his Jewish youth audience, Prof. Fellman lauded the Jewish “passion for justice and freedom” and said that “directly or indirectly all of us have been nurtured in the timeless Jewish concepts of human worth, individual dignity, morality and freedom.”
He declared that acts of civil disobedience “must be undertaken thoughtfully in the light of a careful calculation of the potential social costs and benefits which may be involved.” He added that “he who resorts to an illegal course of action must be prepared to accept the penalties prescribed by law, though the judge and jury may well take into account the quality of the protest in determining the nature of the punishment to be meted out.”