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Reform Jewish Leader Praises House Passage of Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act, Calls on Senate to Act Promptly

Saperstein: This week's House passage of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act is an essential step toward providing the President with tools to end Syria's role as a supporter of terrorism.


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Alexis Rice or Zach Rosenberg 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2003 - In response to this week's House passage of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act is a recognition of Syria's destabilizing presence within the Middle East and represents an effort to combat terrorism at its very roots. The Reform Jewish Movement applauds the overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House in support of this bill, and urges the Senate to pass companion legislation as soon as possible. The legislation demands that Syria halt support for terrorism, end programs to develop and maintain weapons of mass destruction, and withdraw its estimated 20,000 troops from Lebanon. The bill also imposes sanctions if Syria fails to comply with its stipulations.

Syriahas long been a state sponsor of terrorist organizations. It has failed to heed calls that it shut down terror operations and active training facilities within its borders, and that it prevent illegal shipments of oil, weapons and other military items to Iraq. Syrian forces have allowed Hezbollah, in particular, to use southern Lebanon as a base for its terrorist activities against Israel, while also supporting the activities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This week's House passage of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act is an essential step toward providing the President with tools to end Syria's role as a supporter of terrorism.

We urge all of our congregants and rabbis to express appreciation to their Representatives for this week's strong vote against terrorism and to call on their Senators to expedite passage.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .



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