Menu JTA Search

Synagogue Council Backs Right of Dissent, Opposes Draft for Youths Opposing Viet Nam War

The Synagogue Council of America representing the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox branches of Judaism, today defended the right of dissent and charged that Lt. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey’s instruction to draft boards, to conscript youngsters who allegedly “obstruct” the draft procedure, was “a dangerous usurpation of the role of the courts.”

Rabbi Jacob P. Rudin, president of the Synagogue Council, said in a statement here that, while dissent can and has been occasionally expressed in an illegal manner, it is the responsibility of the courts, not the selective service system, to determine whether a person has violated the law. He called on President Johnson to rescind Gen. Hershey’s action, and to establish procedures “that would prevent the use of the compulsory draft in a way that threatens our democratic process.”