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Reform Jewish Leader Welcomes President Bush's Denunciation of Senator Lott's Remarks

Contact:Alexis Rice or Matthew Soffer 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, December 13, 2002 - In response to President Bush's denunciation of Senator Lott's recent remarks, praising the 1948 pro-segregation presidential platform, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

We welcome President Bush's assertion that, "recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of this country." Senator Lott's remarks, praising Senator Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential bid, evidence, at best, a willful disregard of American history. At worst, they countenance bigotry. The systematic oppression of African Americans prevailed throughout well over half of our nation's history, and it remains our moral imperative to treat this injustice with not only sympathetic reflection and sensitivity, but a fervent commitment to reject intolerance and racism wherever and whenever it exists.

When an issue of such fundamental values and vision comes up in American life, it is particularly vital that the voice of the President be heard clearly and forcefully. President Bush's recent denunciation of Senator Lott's statement fulfills that responsibility. We applaud the President's leadership here, and hope others will follow his example.

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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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