October 21: Jews Against the War

anti-war_vietnam_war_protest_rallyThe first American casualty of the Vietnam War was killed during a training mission on this date in 1957. Of the 58,193 Americans in the military who died in that war, only 269 were Jewish. Jews were protesting instead of fighting: In 1964, they were twice as likely as Protestants and Catholics to favor a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam; by 1970, when a majority of Protestants and Catholics still favored fighting or even escalating the war, half of American Jews favored an immediate pullout. A 1966-67 survey by the American Council of Education revealed that the best single predictor of anti-war campus protests was a high proportion of Jewish students.

“I’ve been in combat plenty of times, captured lots of bad guys and invariably got lots of information out of them using cigarettes, medical care and food.” —Col. Jack Jacobs, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1969, commenting on the use of torture by the Bush administration

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Comments (3)

  1. Fascinating historical information and the role of Jewish students against needless war….Thanks to Jewish Currents, I keep learning every day.!!! Julie Stelton

  2. LBJ in response to Jews against the war ,threatened to end/modify U.S.support for Israel,giving rise to the neocons,Podhoritz and others,as critics of the Jewish Left

    • It should instead have given rise to a protest against LBJ, but the neocons were all turncoats. I have such mixed feelings about LBJ, but not when it comes to the war. He also threatened MLK Jr. that funds for the War on Poverty would be cut if MLK kept up his sharp critique of the war from 1967 to his death in 1968. By then much of the funds for LBJ’s Great Society were already be pilfered for the war effort. LBJ’s “guns ‘n’ butter” promise was always a false front. I don’t think he even believed it when he first said it. We were a very rich nation in 1967, the richest society in human history, but even that would not be sufficient to wage a distant technological and ground troops war while attempting to implement America’s “Second New Deal” for the sake of the “other America,” the one out four who went to bed poor and hungry.

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