Students Rally Against War At YC and In Capitol Area (Vol. 35, Issue 4)
Yeshiva University students participated in the three-day National Moratorium at both the Yeshiva University Protest Assembly held on Thursday, November 13 and the National March on Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 15. Some students however, appeared unconcerned with the Moratorium activities and used Thursday afternoon for personal purposes since no attendance was taken in the University.
A capacity crowd of students and faculty of Yeshiva and Stern Colleges along with residents of the neighborhood participated in the Moratorium Assembly held in Furst Hall. Gary Rubin, student Moratorium chairman, commenced the assembly with an introduction of the speakers. He commented that because of the interest of last month’s one-day anti-war protest this month’s was extended to two days.
Rabbi Walter Wurzburger, visiting professor of philosophy at Yeshiva College, spoke on “A Jewish Religious Perspective on the War in Vietnam.” “As a religious Jew one cannot divorce himself from the problem,” he said. “Some Jews are afraid to protest because of a right wing reaction.” He emphasized that if a Jew is convinced that the war is wrong then it is his moral obligation to speak against it, The fear of communism in Vietnam cannot justify the war. Explaining that just as Johnson stole Goldwater’s foreign policy, Nixon stole Johnson's. He declared, “This is no longer the Johnson War but the Nixon War.”
An ex-Marine, Robert Bruin, who served in Vietnam from 1965-1967, took notice that of the 65-man platoon with which he served in Vietnam, 30 were speaking in the protest of the war in other cities on that same day. He informed the crowd that initially the policy in Vietnam was “to search and destroy and win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese, but the killing and destruction of the war have instead created only hostility and fear." He strongly recommended complete and immediate withdrawal of troops.
Other speakers included Gilbert Voyat, professor of psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jim Snyder, professor of Chemistry at Belfer Graduate School of Science, and Victor Seidel, professor of Community Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Chief of Social Medicine at Montefiore Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Voyat compared the American involvement in Vietnam with that of France in Algeria, Dr. Seidel revealed that there is growing opposition within the medical profession to the war, and Dr. Snyder discussed the various types of chemical warfare.
Two days later, on Saturday, November 15, thirty-five Yeshiva and Stern students participated in the National March on Washington,
A chartered bus that was to arrive at Yeshiva University at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning to transport the students to Washington was suddenly cancelled. Gary Rubin explained that the
American Civil Liberties Union blamed an investigation by the FBI for the cancellation. The FBI insisted that the cancellation was a result of the bus drivers’ refusal to help the demonstrators in any way. Of the original 47 students that were to have attended, 35 managed to get to Washington, Some travelled in Greyhound buses and others secured seats on a Jewish Theological Seminary bus. The students were housed on separate floors of the B'nai B'rith building in Washington.
Dr. Irving Greenberg, professor of history at Yeshiva College, lectured to the group on Friday night and Shabbat morning. He said that the spirit of the Shabbat connotes not only the conceptual order of the world, but peace and justice as well, as shown by the exodus from Egypt.
In the afternoon, the YU students participated in the march up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Most of the group also took part in the “March Against Death” which began at the Arlington National Cemetery and terminated at the Capitol Building.