Judaism has ever regarded the achievement of peace between men and nations as among the most divine of man's accomplishments. "Seek peace and pursue it," wrote the psalmist. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore," proclaimed the prophet. And the rabbis of the Talmud added the priestly blessings that conclude with the words "and give thee peace," thus teaching that all blessings are of no avail unless accompanied by peace.
Since 1965, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has pleaded for an end to the Vietnam War.
Despite the fact that this ardent desire for withdrawal from Indochina now animates the overwhelming majority of the American people, the undemocratic regime of South Vietnam continues under American sponsorship, the war continues, and the killing continues. The agony of this war has divided and embittered the American people, has dispirited millions of Americans, and has distorted our national priorities.
In l971, as President Nixon has undertaken bold and historic steps toward an era of negotiation rather than confrontation, we share his hope for a generation of peace.
We believe that indispensable to such a vision is the prompt end to the massive killing that continues in Southeast Asia in the guise of Vietnamization and the accelerated air war which devastates Indochina.
- Therefore, we reiterate our plea, first enunciated by us in 1965, for the president to proclaim a standstill cease-fire coupled with a plea to all other parties in the conflict to join in a cease-fire as a prelude to a genuine negotiated settlement of the war.
- We also call upon the United States Congress to assert its moral and constitutional responsibilities by legislating an end to American involvement in the disastrous war no later than March 1972 (which is the withdrawal date proposed in the Mansfield Amendment passed twice by the Senate).