Jewish Vietnam Peace Coalition Launched Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of Us Troops

Some 85 persons, representing a cross-section of the Jewish community of Greater Philadelphia, met at Congregation Adath Jeshurun here Monday night in an attempt to create a “coalition” for peace in Vietnam, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last night. The participants drew up a “statement of principle” which will be sent tomorrow to area Jewish communal leaders, to every member of the Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, and to members of the general Jewish community, Rabbi Rosenberg said.

The “statement of principles” calls for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Indochina and the establishment of an international body to oversee those steps needed to bring about a lasting peace and oversee free elections that would be binding “even if the Communists are voted into power.”

In the general discussion, Sanford Weinreb, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Council of the American Jewish Congress, said the “coalition” hoped to provide an outlet for those Jews who disapprove of the Vietnam War but have been “reluctant” to participate in anti-war demonstrations which often include persons unfriendly to Israel. “The coalition will have an avowed pro-Israel bias,” he said.

Rabbi Lewis E. Bogage, director of the Federation of Reform Synagogues of Greater Philadelphia, admitted that there was a “reluctance” on the part of the Jewish community to become “actively involved” in the peace effort because, he said, “they erroneously relate US support of the Vietnamese government with US support of Israel.” They fear, he added, that if they oppose US support of the Vietnam war, they would somehow weaken US support for Israel. “The two situations are not comparable in any way,” he concluded.

Sponsors of the organizational meeting included Rabbis Rosenberg and Bogage, Weinreb, and Rabbis Henry Cohen of Beth David Reform Congregation and Harold Waintrup of Old York Road Temple-Beth Am. The next “coalition” meeting will be held in February at a date to be set.

NEXT STORY