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14 Rabbis Assail Nixon’s Vietnam Decision; Jews Urged to Join Nationwide Protests

May 12, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rabbis from all branches of Judaism have sharply assailed President Nixon’s Vietnam escalation as having neither “legal nor moral” Justification and called on Congress to “withhold the legal and financial resources with which to wage this war.” Among those who signed the statement were Abraham Joshua Heschel, Balfour Brickner, Maurice N. Eisendrath, Arthur Lelyveld, Wolfe Kelman, Henry Siegman and Roland Gittelsohn.

The statement called upon Jews, synagogues and other Jewish communal institutions to join the protesters throughout the nation “and not to grant the President the support for which he has asked.” Separate statements were being issued today by clergymen of the three faiths who are against Nixon’s new Southeast Asian thrust.

The Jewish leaders said: “We are deeply incensed by your use of the prisoners of war as pawns in the game of face saving. We most strongly object to your reversal of moral values which sees war as honor, peace as defeat and face saving as more important than saving military and civilian lives. This pervasion of logic and moral values risks the possibility of a major confrontation between the superpowers.”


Continuing, the statement declared: “Mr. President, you may have political insight, but in our judgement you have lost your vision of the greater American purpose. The honor and world respect you seek for this nation cannot be won by further military confrontation. In the name of all that is truly sacred, we plead with you now to stop military escalation and resume negotiations. As we withhold our support, so do we now urge all with whom we have contact or influence to do all they can. Thus we work to restore a measure of respect to the name of America in the eyes of the people of the world.”

The statement was circulated during the past 48 hours by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, a spokesman said, and telephone squads were gathering additional names. (See P. 4 for additional reactions.)

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