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Reform Movement Condemns Iranian Regime for Violence Against Protesters

Pelavin: “The Reform Movement stands firmly by the freedom fighters in their struggle against the oppressive Iranian regime, as we uphold the Jewish ideal to ‘seek peace and pursue it.’”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Liz Piper-Goldberg
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 28, 2009 – In response to the violence against reformist protestors in Iran, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We condemn the killing, injuring, and detention of the Iranian reformist protesters in recent days. The willingness to resort to violence by the oppressive Iranian regime is clear, as is its brutal violation of the human rights of its civilians.

The Reform Movement stands firmly with the freedom fighters in their struggle against the Iranian regime, as we uphold the Jewish ideal to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:15). We commend the Obama Administration and others for their support of non-violent demonstrations. At a time that may be the beginning of the end for this repressive regime, the current Iranian leaders must not turn to violence in a struggle to retain authority.

Our tradition teaches that “the sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied” (Pirke Avot 5:8). The urgency of the political situation within Iran demands us to speak out today.  The days and weeks ahead will undoubtedly be challenging and painful.  We know, however, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  We hope and pray both that the Iranian people will receive justice and that this discredited regime will spare the sword in the days and year to come.


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 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.

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