July 26, 2014 · 28 Tamuz

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Reform Jewish Organization Backs Clinton, NATO on Kosovo Airstrikes

"As people who still live in the shadow of their own experience with genocide, we know all too well the cost of inaction in the face of 'ethnic cleansing.'"

Leaders of the Reform Jewish movement, speaking on behalf of the largest branch within the American Jewish community, today expressed support for President Clinton's decision to order U.S. armed forces to participate in NATO military operations in Kosovo.

In a letter to the president, Leonard Fein, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA), Judge David S. Davidson, chairperson of the CSA, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, wrote "We share your view that the U.S. and our allies must take firm steps to prevent further violence in the region."

"Mr. President, we are, of course, mindful of the serious responsibility of committing our nation to military action ... know that you and all Americans engaged in bringing peace to the region, and thus ending the needless suffering of so many, are in our thoughts and our prayers," the letter concludes.

The full text of the letter from Messrs. Fein and Davidson, and Rabbi Saperstein follows:

Mr. President:

As leaders of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, representing 1,800 rabbis and 875 congregations across North America, we write to express our support for your response to the tragic situation in Kosovo.

Although distance and language insulate us from the crisis in Kosovo, the painful cry of the victims there tears at our hearts. As people who still live in the shadow of their own experience with genocide, we know all too well the cost of inaction in the face of "ethnic cleansing." We share your view that the U.S. and our allies must take firm steps to prevent further violence in the region. By committing ourselves to military action, we give hope and security to families whose lives have been violently disrupted, and help to ensure a safer, freer, and more hopeful future for the children of Kosovo.

We therefore applaud the Administration for its facilitation of the peace negotiations in Kosovo and support your decision to employ NATO airstrikes towards the goal of implementing a peace agreement and a cease-fire pursuant the Rambouillet conference in France. Lastly, it is critical that the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia prosecutes those responsible for genocidal activity committed by Serbian forces.

Mr. President, we are, of course, mindful of the serious responsibility of committing our nation to military action. In this difficult hour, in this time of great challenge, please know that you and all Americans engaged in bringing peace to the region, and thus ending the needless suffering of so many, are in our thoughts and our prayers.

Sincerely,
/s
Leonard Fein
Director, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Judge David S. Davidson
Chairperson, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

# # #

The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA) is a joint instrumentality of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, its affiliates, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America. The CSA strives to apply Jewish ethics to contemporary issues of social justice, religious liberty and world peace.




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