Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
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Jewish Leader Applauds U.S.’ Decision to End Durban Conference Participation

Saperstein: "We hope that at some point in the near future, a serious international effort will be made to address the plight of those who suffer discrimination."

Contact: Kate Bigam
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 27, 2009 - In response to the Obama Administration's announcement today that the United States will cease participation in the Durban II conference on racism, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We deeply appreciate the Obama Administration's effort to try and prevent the Durban II conference from being hijacked by those with an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda. While there was disagreement in the Jewish community as to whether such efforts would have been better served by the Administration's engagement in or disengagement from the process, the fact that the Administration made the effort to play a constructive role dramatizes to the world both our seriousness about tackling the scourge of racism and the tenacity of those forces committed to hijacking the conference in pursuit of their anti-Semitic or anti-Israel agenda.

The conference preparations have made it clear that Durban II will again almost certainly tainted by anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. We hope that at some point in the near future, a serious international effort will be made to address the plight of those who suffer discrimination.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.

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