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Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Support for United States-North Korea Policy Approach that Protects International Security and Human Rights

Namath: At this crucial moment in the development of United States policy toward North Korea, we take this opportunity to add our voices to those urging concern for both the security of the world and liberty of North Koreans, and we firmly believe that the U.S. can and should pursue both.

Contact: Barbara Weinstein or Liz Kaplan, 202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington DC July 20, 2006 – At a press conference today highlighting the release of an 18-point Statement of Principles on United States-North Korea policy endorsed by a broad left-right coalition, Rabbi Michael Namath, Program Director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

On behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement, I am honored to join you as part of this impressive coalition. The Reform Movement has a longstanding history of outspoken opposition to militarism and nuclear proliferation, and of strong support for human rights around the world. At this crucial moment in the development of United States policy toward North Korea, we take this opportunity to add our voices to those urging concern for both the security of the world and liberty of North Koreans, and we firmly believe that the U.S. can and should pursue both.

As Jews, we are particularly moved to join this effort because we know well the plight of oppressed peoples. Throughout the centuries, Jews have experienced persecution and discrimination, and all too often other nations turned their backs on us, leaving us to the mercies of our oppressors. Yet we have also at times known the blessing of assistance from other nations. We remember in particular the Soviet Jewry Campaign, in which non-Jews rallied to our cause. Together, the Jewish community, Americans from all walks of life, the U.S. government and people of good will from around the world stood together to ensure that human rights were not forgotten amid other foreign policy concerns. We worked together to ensure that human rights would be raised consistently, in bilateral relations and, through the Helsinki process, through international instrumentalities. At this potentially decisive moment for U.S. policy toward North Korea, we similarly urge our nation’s leaders to address with wisdom, sensitivity, and consistency, the human rights of the people of North Korea.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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