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Reform Jewish Movement Disappointed In President Clinton’s Rejection Of Landmine Ban

WASHINGTON, September 23, 1997 - The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis throughout North America, today criticized President Clinton's decision not to endorse a draft treaty banning anti- personnel mines which has received broad international support.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Reform Jewish movement's Religious Action Center issued the following statement:

The Clinton Administration's decision to turn its back on the growing consensus of the international community and reject the draft treaty against landmines endorsed by 89 nations, is the wrong decision, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons.

A strong and leading role by the United States is critical if the international campaign to ban landmines will be successful in ceasing production and use of these hideous weapons which each year kill or maim 26,000 non-combatant men, women, and children. While President Clinton has suggested that the international community proceed toward an eventual ban of anti-personnel mines, United States actions serve to hinder rather than promote this goal.

Simply put: anti-personnel mines have no place in the world today. The Bible sets forth in Deuteronomy several limitations on war, a number aimed at ensuring that once war was ended, normal life could soon renew itself. Can you think of a conventional weapon that so violates that standard more than landmines?

I implore the Administration to reverse its position and take its rightful place alongside its global partners this December as backers of the treaty gather to sign the agreement.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in more than 870 congregations throughout North America.

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