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Nation’s Largest Jewish Organization Condemns “Reckless” Senate Vote on Nuclear Testing Treaty

Pelavin: "Matters of substantive international policy and security deserve the respect of careful consideration and honest debate, not relegation to the parlor games of partisan politics and Washington power plays."

Contact: Jeff Mandell, (202) 387-2800

WASHINGTON, October 14, 1999 — In response to last night's Senate vote against ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We deplore the Senate's reckless vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty last night. Matters of substantive international policy and security deserve the respect of careful consideration and honest debate, not relegation to the parlor games of partisan politics and Washington power plays. Those with an honest intellectual objection to the CTBT have both the right and the responsibility to vote against ratification, but the actions of a few extremists in forcing the Treaty to a vote — against the wishes of the entire Senate leadership, the President, and the international community — were irresponsible and petty.

While the nations of the former Soviet Union are beginning to show more stability, Pakistan, the newest member of the nuclear community, had a military coup this week; less than 48 hours later the United States Senate sent a clear message against disarmament, against international cooperation, and against the moral leadership expected of the only remaining superpower. We can only hope that, as with the aftermath of the Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 (and again in 1920), the international community and continued strong presidential leadership will prevail upon the Senate to move from jingoism and isolationism to statesmanship and responsibility. We demand nothing less.

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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 875 congregations throughout North America. 



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