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Saperstein: "The United States can ensure and enhance its own security, as well as that of the world, by leading the way to a reduction in the world's nuclear stockpile."
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Washington, D.C. December 6, 2010 - In response to the New START treaty pending in the Senate, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent a letter to Senators urging ratification. The full text of the letter follows:
On behalf 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, which represents over 1,800 Reform rabbis, I write to urge you to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) during the current lame duck session of Congress.
We have supported this treaty since it was signed in April and have urged what we reiterate at this vital moment: that the Senate moves as expeditiously as possible to ratify this New START agreement. It calls on the United States and Russia, the two countries with a majority of the world's nuclear weapons, to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. It will reinstate American inspectors on the ground in Russia, enhance transparency and therefore stability, even as it will strengthen cooperation between Russia and the U.S. In doing so, it will lay the groundwork for further reductions and for the cooperation on nuclear proliferation that is indispensible in placing maximum pressure on Iran to halt its proliferation efforts.
The New START treaty properly enjoys broad bipartisan support and we ask you to add to that. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said, "[New START] will affect the prospects for peace for a decade or more. It is, by definition, not a bipartisan, but a nonpartisan, challenge." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also asserted the treaty's importance, noting that, "This is a treaty that if ratified will provide stability, transparency and predictability for the two countries with more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons."
Many other respected military and diplomatic experts have expressed their views that ratification of the New START treaty is essential to securing a safer future. This issue transcends partisan and ideological lines; it is about nations taking action to make the world more secure. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen argued, "It helps strengthen openness and transparency in our relationship with Russia. It also demonstrates our national commitment to reducing the worldwide risk of a nuclear incident resulting from the continuing proliferation of nuclear weapons."
The United States can ensure and enhance its own security, as well as that of the world, by leading the way to a reduction in the world's nuclear stockpile. We call on you to vote for the New START treaty, ensuring both a safer America and a safer world.
Rabbi David Saperstein