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Torture is Not an American Value: Reform Jewish Leader Hails Senate Vote Opposing Torture, Calls on President to Sign Bill into Law

Pelavin:“To be a beacon of justice to the world, our nation cannot continue to engage in enhanced interrogation techniques which in many cases have proven to be torture by another name.”

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

Washington D.C. February 14, 2008 - In response to the passage of the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report (H.R. 2082) and the inclusion of an important anti-torture provision, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

 “Yesterday, Congress took a major step toward ending U.S. sponsored torture by passing the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report (H.R. 2082).  Specifically, by maintaining Section 327, known as the “Army Field Manual” provision, Congress voted to make sure that all federal agencies are required to follow the interrogation procedures used by the United States armed forces.

If signed into law, this provision would bring a definitive end to the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the CIA and other federal agencies, including the controversial practice of waterboarding.  We commend Congress for not backing down in the face of powerful, yet misguided, opposition. 

Jewish tradition teaches us that a spark of the divine exists within each individual.  It is in that spirit that we have long opposed the physical or mental torture of any individual, for to do so defiles God’s creation.  As people of faith we understand that security and human dignity are not mutually exclusive and we firmly believe that to be a beacon of justice to the world, our nation cannot continue to engage in practices that in many cases have proven to be torture by another name. 

We urge President Bush to sign quickly this conference report and to make it clear to Americans and those around the world that torture is not an American value or practice.”

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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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