The presidents of the lay and rabbinic arms of American Reform Judaism today sharply denounced as “callous irresponsibility” the Viet Nam statement of the head of the Jewish War Veterans after a recent government approved trip to Southeastern Asia.
At the same time, Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis expressed “shock and dismay” that the president of the Jewish War Veterans, Milton A, Waldor, should term as “disgusting” statements by rabbis and United States Jewish organizations urging cessation of bombings and commencement of peace negotiations with North Viet Nam.
After a recent return from a government approved tour of South Viet Nam, Mr, Waldor, in a statement and interview, said that he was “disgusted by those groups, Jewish or non-Jewish, so concerned about the right to dissent, about the rights of the peaceniks, that they seem not to recognize that freedom requires responsibilities. They are less articulate about our country’s right and need to wage a vigorous war against Communism in Viet Nam.”
He is also quoted as saying that his group will seek “to mobilize and activate the American Jewish community to eradicate any doubts about the vital necessity for a decisive victory by whatever means required in Viet Nam. We will challenge the appeasers, the naive and the confused.”
In their reply, Rabbis Eisendrath and Weinstein said: “These statements by the national commander of the JWV are profoundly disturbing. Bomb-rattling jingoism is no more tolerable from a Jewish source than from a militaristic general demanding that we bomb the ‘enemy back to the stone age.’ The bellicosity cries of the JWV fall somewhere to the right of the Pentagon and are totally inconsistent with the proclaimed policy of President Johnson and the vigorous American efforts to achieve negotiations and a settlement of this conflict. To demand ‘a decisive victory by whatever means’ is an outrageous statement of callous irresponsibility.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.