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Reform Jewish Leader Applauds New Jersey Action to Divest from Iran

Burstein:States can have a big impact divesting from terror-tainted funds while upholding their financial responsibilities.

Contact: Sean Thibault or Jonah Perlin
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

New Jersey, January 8, 2008 - In response to the recent enactment of a New Jersey law prohibiting the investment of state pension funds in companies that do business with the Iranian government, Rabbi Marcus Burstein, Acting Regional Director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Region, issued the following statement:

“This week, thanks to the hard work of both activists and elected officials, New Jersey has officially ended its financial support of the Iranian oil industry. With the ninth largest pension fund in the country, New Jersey’s Iran divestment bill is a major achievement and sends an important message that we will not support Iran’s nuclear aspirations nor will we support the aid Iran gives to terrorist entities.

While it is already illegal for U.S. companies to invest in Iran, pension funds can invest in international corporations that do significant business in the Iranian oil sector.  By taking actions similar to what New Jersey did this week, states can have a significant, perhaps even decisive, impact by divesting from terror-tainted funds while upholding their financial responsibilities  Recognizing, of course, that divestment is a tool which should only be used in extreme situations, it is clear that Iran meets this threshold.  Divestment is both an effective and powerful strategy which can help prevent the Iranian government from further de-stabilizing an already volatile Middle East.

We are proud of New Jersey for joining Florida, California and Missouri, among others, in the growing Iran divestment movement.  We look forward to even more states taking this important step and helping bring a definitive end to investment in Iranian terror.”

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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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